Black and Blooming: New organization empowers black women

(Left to Right) Ansley Taylor, Kimberly Gresham, Brikkel Rucker, Samantha Berry, and Dasia Jennings are members of Black and Blooming. The mission of the new organization is to empower black women on campus. (Photo: Jamie Sapp)
(Left to Right) Ansley Taylor, Kimberly Gresham, Brikkel Rucker, Samantha Berry, and Dasia Jennings are members of Black and Blooming. The mission of the new organization is to
empower black women on campus. (Photo: Jamie Sapp)

By Jamie Sapp | Editor-in-Chief

A “sisterhood blooming together” is what a new organization is about this year. Black and Blooming blossomed in the spring semester of 2016 and its goal is to empower black women at Augusta University.

Junior public relations major Kimberly Gresham is the president of Black and Blooming. After transferring from Georgia Southern University to Augusta University, Gresham said there were not many African-American organizations or anything similar on campus, except for sororities.

“With talking to Samantha, I found out that somebody shared the same thought,” she said. “So we just built from that, and we shared ideas to other people that we thought would be interested to see if it would be worth making a whole group.”

Gresham said it was a challenge for the organization to find an adviser. However, the organization was able to find Melissa Hudson Hall, an AU career consultant, before the first week of classes started in the fall semester.

Black and Blooming hosted an interest meeting on Sept. 15 at 4 p.m. in the JSAC Coffeehouse, where a great crowd of black women appeared with great and exciting interest. Vice president and junior communication major Samantha Berry said the turnout was better than she expected.

“It was pretty good,” Berry said. “It was way better than I thought.”

Gresham said the members were excited with the number of women interested in the organization.

“We were pretty excited because we had people who wanted to be more than just a ‘sign-on’ member,” she said. “They wanted to be an active member.”

Black and Blooming not only hosted their first interest meeting on Sept. 15, but the organization also participated in Augusta University’s Day of Service event on Sept. 24, according to their Instagram page.

Secretary and junior communication major Brikkel Rucker said the organization makes her feel excited.

“In high school, I came from a predominately white high school (and community),” Rucker said. “So we didn’t have anything like this at all. So coming here, I just expected it honestly. It’s cool to have somebody have that thought because I thought about it, but I never acted on it… But for somebody to think about it, actually act on it and get it started with a whole bunch of people, I am excited about it.”

Junior social work major Ansley Taylor went to the interest meeting on Sept. 15. She said she thought it was a great opportunity for black women to do great things.

“I feel like it will be beneficial to the campus,” Taylor said. “And it will open more doors and more opportunities for us because we will be that stepping stone.”

When approaching a group of black women about Black and Blooming, Rucker said the women’s faces lit up in excitement and the women were immediately interested in the organization.

“That matters so much because honestly white men and women have so many different things for them,” Rucker said. “And this is just one thing that we want to grab onto, hold onto and make it work.”

Black and Blooming is hosting its first open meeting in Allgood Hall on Oct. 6. The organization is also hosting a product drive on Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the JSAC Breezeway. The product drive consists of feminine products, toiletries and monetary donations for women who cannot afford to buy these items themselves.

Contact Jamie Sapp at jsapp270@augusta.edu.

Published on October 5, 2016 in Vol. 59, Issue 1 of The Bell Ringer newspaper.

 

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