Nearly 100 students, faculty, and staff, gathered in Tolles Pavilion on February 29 to honor and learn from each other’s experiences as part of a student-led tradition that is unique to Hamilton: Womanist Week.

The inaugural Womanist Week, created by Hannah Fink ’19 and Hana Lindsey ’20 in 2017, was imagined as “a week dedicated to celebrating and enlivening the lives of Black women both at Hamilton’s campus and beyond,” according to a campus email from that year. The event is held during the week when February (Black History Month) blends into March (Women’s History Month) — “a time when Black women are normally at the background of conversations about social justice and personal narrative.”

Students, faculty, and staff at the Women of Color Banquet.
Panelists lead the discussion at the 2024 Women of Color banquet. Photo: Oliver Zhao ’24

Center for Intersectional Feminism (CIF) co-chairs Jhoana Flores ’24 and Lucy Naughton ’24 helped lead this year’s Womanist Week, which continued the tradition of providing “an opportunity to uplift Black women on our predominantly white campus, as well as women of color more broadly.” Several other student groups helped host the events, including the Asian Student Union, Black & Latinx Student Union, Feminists of Color Collective, La Vanguardia, International Cultural Association, and Voices of Color Lecture Series.

This year’s Womanist Week included an introductory event titled “What is Womanism?” and an Art Walk with the Wellin Museum of Art that included student docents hosting several dozen students for a viewing and discussion of artwork by women of color. The week culminated with the Women of Color Banquet, which featured a panel comprised of women of color from the faculty and staff who answered questions about their experiences and offered ideas and inspiration to attendees.

“The week was very successful,” Naughton said. “There was a good balance of serious, meaningful conversation and lighthearted fun. The banquet was an incredible way to celebrate and wrap up the week -- the faculty and staff panel touched on a lot of important topics, particularly building community among students, faculty, and staff of color. It's always an honor to organize these events, and I think this year was especially well-attended.”

“What Brings You Joy?’

In the spirit of a conversation started on campus during the spring 2023 semester when author and political activist Angela Davis visited campus and was asked what brings her joy, that same question was posed by students to Women of Color Banquet panelists. Here are a few of their responses.
Maria Genao-Homs
Associate dean for diversity and inclusion

“The opportunity to witness a student’s journey of self-discovery while navigating the college experience brings me joy. As challenging as it is to be an DE&I professional in higher education in the current socio-political climate, I consider it a privilege to do this work on behalf of current and future students.”

Cecily Cai
Assistant professor of Italian studies

“I enjoy food, cooking and baking in particular, which brings me a lot of joy during my free time. Here at Hamilton, some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling moments come from teaching. I love seeing the sparks in my students’ eyes when their curiosity is piqued, when dots are being connected, or when they can’t wait to share about something they love — this always brings me the most joy.”

Bonike Odegbami
Director of international student services

“From a Foucauldian perspective — a unique lens that I use to explore what brings joy in this role — the joy of being a woman international educator lies in the empowerment of students through knowledge, the bridging of cultural divides through discourse, and the personal growth that comes from engaging with diverse educational contexts.”

Related News

Dan “DJ Shub” General performs as part of the 2024 Tolles Lecture Series at Hamilton College

From Beats to Tradition: Tolles Lecture Celebrates Indigenous Culture and Talent

This year’s Tolles Lecture featured a fusion of hip hop, power, protest, and humanity thanks to award-winning Indigenous DJ and producer Dan “DJ Shub” General.

Koboul E. Mansour

Four Questions for Koboul E. Mansour, Days-Massolo Center Director

Communications Office writer Evan Robinson ’23 recently spoke with Koboul E. Mansour, the new director of the Days-Massolo Center, about her career and vision for the future. Below are some excerpts from their conversation.

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search