About the Symposium
What is the Power & Privilege Symposium?
The Power & Privilege Symposium is designed to make space for conversations about structural oppression, how they manifest themselves on the Whitman College campus and beyond, including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, ableism, capitalism, etc. The community unites to support the lectures, panels, discussions, and showcase created by our peers. The symposium strives to educate the community about the power structures prevailing around the world, questioning many of the paradigms which have socialized us. Our mission as a team is to create an environment that interrogates hard questions, the relationships, and structures of power and privilege. The symposium is a house for resources—beginning of questions and further investment in social justice.
2021 Purpose Statement
The promise of this year’s symposium is to go a step further from confronting apathy by encouraging accountability and self-reflection. The themes of the symposium will raise tough questions and frame your purpose in life-long-learning.This begins with amplifying and studying critical voices with the end goal of finding a sense of belonging wherever you are. The symposium should open avenues for holistic change in our everyday lifestyles and actions.
- Providing a platform for students to revitalize and enrich their surrounding communities
- Inspiring symposium participants to volunteer their time and pursue professions that transform them into activists, organizers, and allies on Whitman's campus & beyond
- Standardizing a model for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work at Whitman that is accessible on a national level.
- Developing a framework where critical voices are supported and financially sponsored for their research, projects, & programs.
Meet the Student Executive Leadership Team
Maria Del Carmen Martinez (she/her), Executive Director
I’m Maria Del Carmen Martínez, I’m a sophomore from Naples, Florida. I am excited to be taking on the role as your Executive Director! My work in Social justice took root through my community and was shaped by Debate, Model UN, and Spoken Word. In these spaces, I became passionate about analyzing theory, arts and understanding of intersectional identities . As you know, there is always so much left to learn. My passion for providing resources for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) and youth continue to motivate me in my work and propel me forward. I welcome you to participate and engage with our symposium this year! “By Any Means Necessary”!
Kainat Ansari (she/her), Programming Director
I am very excited to be working as a Programming Director of this year's Power & Privilege Symposium.
Given current circumstances and social inequity around usI really believe that it's the time that we leave embellished conversations behind and gather on a common ground to critically reflect on ourselves and thrive out of our comfort zone.
I am glad to be a part of this amazing journey because I feel that P&P profoundly contributes to our learning process on this campus which is our shared goal and that is what makes us a community.
After all "Change is the end result of all true learning."
Ava Liponis (she/her), Programming Director
I’m thrilled to be working with the Executive Team on the Power and Privilege Symposium this year. I got the opportunity to participate in P&P last year, and this year I look forward to the progress we can make! In the coming months I’m aiming to prioritize accessibility and communication in a time of social isolation, and I hope to work closely with workshop leaders and volunteers. I think P&P is an important opportunity to work together in deconstructing and interrogating systemic power structures and our participation in upholding them.
Wako Soma (she/her), Operations Director
My name is Wako Soma and I am a sophomore at Whitman College. I am so honored and excited to be working as the Operations director for this year’s Power and Privilege Symposium.
As the Operations director, I will be managing the logistics of this year’s P&P by helping with the closing event and working closely with the other members of our team.
P&P last year made a huge difference in my overall first-year experience at Whitman and I hope that I can bring this similar powerful experience to students this year. My passion for creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all individuals lead me to continue to find creative ways to work around challenges that may arise.
With the virtual situation we are in with this program, I am looking forward to taking advantage of it by making this year’s Symposium as accessible as possible to students all around the world. One of my numerous goals for this year is to change the culture of how P&P is perceived on campus by making this event successful and by having more of a lasting impact on all of us so that we can take action in our individual communities.
Sam Cleary (he/him), Marketing & Communications Director
My name is Sam. I’m a filmmaker and film studies student, My films show a curiosity for heritage, family relationships, critiquing consumerism, social justice, and coming-of-age perspectives. I am nearly finished producing a documentary short four years in the making about the first black women to break the color barrier in 1970s West Seattle Public Schools.
I hope we can mobilize our shared learning and support for intersectional causes this year at P&P. Keep reading, listening, and responding with change. Slow progress is powerful.