17th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference to be Held March 11

17th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference to be Held March 11 at Ferrum College

The Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Disciples Home Missions will give the keynote address.

The Dreamers from Bassett High School

Ferrum, Va. (March 4, 2014) – The 17th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference will be held at Ferrum College on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.  The Conference incorporates the College’s academic theme of “sustaining community engagement” and has a timely focus on immigration. Presenters will include Ferrum alumnae, area high school students, as well as nationally and internationally known artists, faith leaders and activists. The Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Panther’s Den in Franklin Hall on campus, with scheduled lunch and dinner breaks during which participants may enjoy meals on their own on or off campus. Conference admission is free but pre-registration is requested.

The morning program beginning at 9:30 a.m. will include welcoming remarks by Ms. Ali Miller ’16; a panel presentation by Ms. Joemica Donaldson ’13 and Ms. Norma Velez ’13, both of whom have worked with issues and organizations related to immigration during the last year; and a performance by The IceBreakers, the Bassett High School Minority Student Alliance step team that is preparing to compete in New York this spring.

“We are thrilled to have The Minority Student Alliance as our special guests for the day since their mission ‘to bring cultural awareness to the community, as well as provide academic and cultural enrichment activities to the club members and community’ is so perfectly reflective of what this year’s conference is all about,” said Conference co-coordinator Dr. Susan Mead.

At 11:15 a.m., a panel of four “Dreamers” from Bassett County High School will take the stage accompanied by their school counselor, Ms. Shekila Yralux. Ms. Karla Portugal, Ms. Candi López, Ms. Jeanette Maya, and Ms. Rosario Quesade will talk about their experiences in trying to access higher education, and what passage of the Dream Act and other legislation would mean for them.

The afternoon program will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a keynote address by the Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, who is director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Disciples Home Missions, will reflect upon lessons learned in her work and address the importance of becoming informed and engaged in immigration issues from a faith-based perspective.  Other afternoon highlights include the viewing of the film The Dream is Now, followed by discussion, and a dynamic, interactive call to action event, hosted by Organizing for Action representatives, which will allow conference attendees to transform what they have learned into meaningful concrete next steps of community engagement. 

The Women’s Leadership Conference evening program will feature an appearance by international artist Ms. Frida Larios, a native of El Salvador who now lives in Washington, D.C., who will talk about her project and book a “New Maya Language.”

“My colleague and co-coordinator of the conference, Dr. Patty Suppes met Ms. Larios and was so impressed with her work that we had to bring her to Ferrum.  The bright energy of her work absolutely complements the personality of our keynoter, Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea and the young people who will share their stories in the morning,” said Dr. Mead. “We are thrilled to have been able to bring folks together for this day of learning and community engagement at Ferrum College.”

For more information, visit www.ferrum.edu/campus_life/events/2014_wlc.html.

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About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college related to the United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs, at a cost well below the national average for private colleges. The College celebrates its centennial during 2013-2014. For more information, visit www.ferrum.edu.

About the photo: Dreamers Ms. Karla Portugal, Ms. Candi López, Ms. Jeanette Maya, and Ms. Rosario Quesada, from Bassett High School in Henry County.