Town hall teaches Greek women how to discuss identity constructively

Multicultural Center coordinator Stephanie Hernandez Rivera led a discussion with the women about various social issues, including but not limited to race relations.

Greek women gathered at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 in Tate Hall for a town hall meeting called Exploring Identities in Sisterhood hosted by the Panhellenic Association and the Multicultural Center. The meeting instructed the women on how to have constructive conversations with their sisters about identity and be supportive of marginalized groups.

On Nov. 6, PHA issued a “Statement of Support and Call to Action” expressing its support for Concerned Student 1950 and encouraging allyship and awareness in its members.

“Marginalized students on our campus have endured enough and we feel as if it is relevant and important that we take a stand in support of our sisters and other Mizzou students,” the statement read. “As students on this campus, it is our duty to be educated on what’s happening and through that be able to support our fellow Tigers.”

PHA Vice President of Programming Abby Flores said she had been planning the event for two months beforehand, despite the timing aligning with a week of race-based protests leading to the resignation of UM System President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin. Flores said that her group of friends in her chapter has discussed identity before, and she believed others would benefit from learning to do the same.

“I’ve seen that a lot of people don’t really have those conversations, so I thought (the town hall) would be a good resource for our chapters,” Flores said.

MCC coordinator Stephanie Hernandez Rivera led the meeting. She and the chapter members in attendance discussed several issues facing not only women but society as a whole, including race relations.

The release stressed the importance of self-education and listed several resources to help sorority members to so. The list included The Maneater’s interactive timeline of this semester’s events, as well as several Twitter handles and hashtags to follow.

Hernandez Rivera could not be reached for comment about the town hall, but Carolyn Welter, PHA vice president of public relations, said that the meeting was helpful to the chapter members.

“I think it was a really great opportunity for women to learn how to bring those conversations back to their chapter members and how to have those tough conversations,” Welter said. “It was a really great learning experience for (them).”

Because the meeting was held in a Safe Space, PHA asked The Maneater not to report on the discussion itself, but it encouraged awareness of its positive impact on the women who attended.

“I think some people learned a lot,” freshman Sigma Sigma Sigma member Mary Catherine Cross said. “I was looking at the general reaction throughout the room, and I liked how a lot of people were engaging in the conversation.”

Cross said that as a Latina woman, her interest in the discussion grew as it went along because there are not many people of color in Greek Life.

“We don’t have that conversation (about identity) a lot,” Cross said, “I liked how we were talking about things that normally get left unsaid.”

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