When determined African-American women unite, the possibilities could be endless.
Keosha Holloway and Olivia Carter, both students at The University of Southern Mississippi, decided to harness the possibilities when they co-founded 100 Collegiate Black Women, an organization dedicated to developing female leaders with drive and ambition.
According to its Southern Miss founders, 100 Collegiate Black Women stems from 100 Black Men, Inc., and follows some of the same traditions and principles, but is not affiliated.
Other 100 Collegiate Black Women organizations are located at Texas Southern University, Southern University and A&M College. However, Holloway and Carter founded the only one of its kind in Mississippi.
The group is not affiliated with a national organization.
Holloway, president of the organization, said she hopes to shine light on issues and obstacles while smashing the stereotypes of African-American women at predominantly white colleges.
“Changing the face of diversity on campus will take a movement of leaders who are diverse in every respect,” Holloway said. “The 100 Collegiate Black Women will be an organization (among) those leaders.”
Holloway said the group is filled with progressive leaders.
“Each member embraces the value of nurturing young women as they look toward brighter futures,” she said. “I want black female leaders to assist in the development of the social, emotional, educational and physical needs of young black females.”
Carter, the organization’s vice president, spoke on how the organization began.
“I wanted to start this organization at Southern Miss because I saw a need for an organization that focuses on the improvement, involvement and uplifting of young black women, not only on campus, but also in our community,” Carter said. “I wanted to create an atmosphere for young women to be comfortable and grow.”
Despite the organization’s name, Carter said they will not cap membership at 100 members and men are welcome to join.
“We want to expand and work with people from all different walks of life,” she said. “We want to involve families, men, women, children, students and faculty.”
Julia Brady, a senior kinesiotherapy major, said as a resident assistant and leader on campus, she understands the importance of supporting young women of color.
“It’s good to keep young women engaged in the community,” Brady said. “I’ve watched black women tend to lean toward negative activities when they’re not involved in enough positivity.”
Brady, who is also a College of Health ambassador, stumbled upon the organization during the student involvement fair and said she supports their mission of diversity.
“It would be good for multiple faces to be utilized on campus,” she said. “You don’t want the same gender and same race speaking for everything.”
The organization’s founders hope to create a never-ending cycle of success among minorities. “There are young African- American girls who have no one positive to look up to and are in need of guidance,” Holloway said. “I believe our organization will create a community of acceptance and celebration for our unique perspectives as African-American women who are not only black women but educated black women at The University of Southern Mississippi.”
The organization’s motto is “wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of a virtuous woman.”
For more information about the 100 Collegiate Black Women, visit the organization’s Facebook page.