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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South symposium celebrates women’s camaraderie, support

Vendor+Toni+Allison%2C+CEO+of+Knowledge+for+Success%2C+speaks+with+a+symposium+patron+on+the+exhibition+floor.+South+Campus+and+its+Women%E2%80%99s+History+Month+Committee+played+host+to+TCC%E2%80%99s+10th+annual+Women%E2%80%99s+Symposium+April+2.+%0D%0AClaire+Weeden%2FThe+Collegian
Vendor Toni Allison, CEO of Knowledge for Success, speaks with a symposium patron on the exhibition floor. South Campus and its Women’s History Month Committee played host to TCC’s 10th annual Women’s Symposium April 2. Claire Weeden/The Collegian

By Angel Carr/reporter

Students, faculty, staff and community members joined April 2 to celebrate Sisters Bridging Cultures — One Voice, One Heart, Many Hands at the annual South Campus Women’s Symposium.

Vendor Toni Allison, CEO of Knowledge for Success, speaks with a symposium patron on the exhibition floor. South Campus and its Women’s History Month Committee played host to TCC’s 10th annual Women’s Symposium April 2.
Claire Weeden/The Collegian

Business owners displayed items such as bedding and linens, herbal supplements, jewelry, candles and more. Some TCC specialty programs showed how they serve the community. Visitors networked, shopped and shared ideas while awaiting the guest speakers.

Robin Rhyand, South disability support services instructional assistant, has been a vendor for the past eight years.

“The broad spectrum of ideas and creativity is inspiring and interesting,” she said. “The speakers are informative, and the camaraderie of sisters from all ethnicities and walks of life is life-affirming, positive and refreshingly palpable.”

Rhyand urged women to know that support exists for students with a learning or physical disability.

“There is no reason for failure once one knows what support services are available to them as a student here at TCC South Campus,” she said.

Dr. Staussa Ervin, psychology assistant professor, began the affair with We Are Family: I’ve Got All My Sisters With Me.

She talked about her involvement with Fort Worth Sister Cities.

“In 2005 was the first time I ever entertained the idea of leaving the United States,” she said.

Conversations she had with women in other countries revealed many similarities such as what it means to be a woman and what it means to be in a relationship with a man.

Ervin’s International Professional Project, in which she was a psychology tutor for four students from Africa, made her challenge Western psychology and understand it in a different way.

After showing Reviving Ophelia, a video about sisters raising teenage daughters, Ervin said teens often grow with no sense of morality for self.

“Older women used to mentor without saying anything,” she said. “How do we get back to this beauty of informal mentoring — sisterhood?”

Ervin said her own sense of sisterhood came from the generous women in her family.

“The matriarch of my family is my 80-year-old grandmother who demonstrated to us that giving and receiving are the same thing,” she said. “This same principle applies to people in general — we see that on a global scale. When we are truly compassionate about sharing what we have, we all benefit.”

Kathryn Bryan, Fort Worth Sister Cities International board member, described her organization. Begun in 1956, Sister Cities International is a citizen diplomacy network of 600 U.S. communities, Bryan said. It represents 2,000 partnerships in 136 countries with a mission to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation — one individual, one community at a time.

Bryan said Fort Worth Sister Cities needs home hosts for international youth and adults and tourism ambassadors.

More information about volunteering, membership and sister cities can be found at www.fwsistercities.org.

“[TCC Chancellor] Erma Johnson Hadley has been involved with the Sister Cities programs from the very beginning and served on our board of directors and got TCC involved with exchanges with our sister cities,” she said. “She remains a major supporter of all of our initiatives.”

Kameka Ellzey and her husband Aaron have been vendors for the past three years displaying their business, E&E Mobile Store.

“I love the networking involved,” she said. ”We have met some really lovely people and formed lasting relationships with quite a few of the other vendors.”

The symposium is geared to empowering women, but Ellzey said her husband and other men are always welcome.

She also appreciates that money from vendor fees is used for scholarships for the WINR program.

“I remember when my family and I were dislocated after Hurricane Katrina,” she said. “There were so many people and programs willing to help out. We see this as our way of giving back.”

Although attendance was down from previous years, Trish Light, South Women’s History Month chair, deemed the day successful.

“I believe those who are supposed to be here are here,” she said.

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