Open area for women of color

“Our goal is to create a safe place and community for women of color on the Sonoma State University campus,” said Alissa Melendez. “We hope to help women of color explore how their identities have impacted them and provide support along their journey of self-discovery.” 

The Women of Color Collective is held every Thursday from 2-3 p.m. organized by Isabel Avila Saiter and Melendez. 

The group is hosted in the HUB in the Student Center where it is calming, secure and comfortable. Some of the walls are decorated with unique art work and cozy couches.

Any SSU student is allowed to come to these meetings and the group is very supportive to every student. This collective offers a place where women of color can feel safe and be supported by other people.

People can choose to come to any meeting. In these groups everything is completely confidential and individuals are free to give input whenever they feel comfortable to speak. 

Not only do these groups listen to other’s feelings, stories and opinions, but they also can connect with each other.

This connection can make an individual feel safe, accepted and realize others understand them or may even have the same experiences. 

The attendance tends to vary from how many students come to each group, but there is no limit on how many people can attend. The group is always welcoming more women of color to come, to bring friends and other students they feel would benefit from coming. 

The more individuals that show up, the more diverse the discussion can grow. Yet, no matter how many students show up, the group will always be available to women of color who want a secure place to talk.

The Women of Color Collective is a group provided by the on-campus Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). 

The services provide students with confidential counseling for private complications that hinder their education, career or overall perspective.

They have a variety of groups in diverse backgrounds, such as Bisexual Discussion Group, Survivors of Sexual Assault, Pathways Through Grief and more available to all students.

Another benefit about all of these groups is how no registration is necessary and walk-ins are welcomed.

 So even if a student does not plan to go to a group and just wanted to go see what the group’s intentions are, they can simply walk-in.

There are all kinds of groups on campus for student’s welfare and to improve student’s involvement with school and life. 

The Women of Color Collective is just one of the groups trying to build not only a support group for colored women, but also a strong community.

By being a part of these discussions it can open an individual’s eyes to new ideas and thinking. 

These groups can enlighten anyone who is willing to listen to the hosts or other members, and add to the discussion. 

It may be difficult to enter a group where one’s not 100 percent comfortable, but by simply sitting in on a session, uneasy feelings can dissipate and confidence can build.