keynote speakers at color conference
Keynote speakers Alisha Agard ’15, a sociology major (left at podium), and Ashley Hansack ’15, a sociology-environmental studies major, summarize what they did at Whitman to challenge underrepresentation. Examples include creating “The Inside Scoop,” a guide to college for first-year students, and “International Workers Day” to bring awareness about laborers many people take for granted. Photo by Leo Corrales ’21.

More than 150 students from 10 Pacific Northwest institutions came to Whitman for the first Change Now! students of color conference on Oct. 28, 2017. Some attendees identified as members of other underrepresented groups such as first-generation college students and LGBTQIA+ students. "I'm not quite sure how to react to injustice," said Yuria Osawa, a student at Linfield College. "I wanted to learn about leadership styles from other people of color, not just old white men-leadership styles I can actually relate to," stated student Fonzy Miranda from Whitworth University. Participants chose from among 15 student-run workshops on topics ranging from immigration to Title IX to protests. "It's important for students of color to feel empowered," said Cassandra Otero '18, a conference moderator. "It's incredibly important that we unify and realize we're not alone, we're all together, we have shared experiences, and our experiences are valid," said the sociology major. Kazi Joshua, vice president for diversity and inclusion at Whitman, conceived of the event after realizing that area liberal arts schools did not offer collective meetings for students of color and that on predominantly white campuses, a myth often arises that they are too few in number to be considered or make a difference. A Diversity Innovation Grant from the Whitman's President's Office funded the daylong program. -Staff report