Everyone’s attention was directed to the elevator door where library staff were taking chairs out for the overflow of people who showed up to hear the HIStory of HERstory presentation.
Potomac State College’s Social Justice Council hosted an event to celebrate women role models. The panel of PSC men talked about the history of influential women in their fields.
Nick Goff, criminal justice instructor, began the evening discussing Sally Yates. Goff explained that Yates had been the attorney general for the United States until she was fired by President Trump for not enforcing Executive Order 13769 (travel ban).
Goff asked the audience if it was appropriate for Yates to deny the order given her experience. Goff argued that Yates lost her job over an unfair situation. However, it showed she had strength to “look the president in the eyes and tell him no.”
Edward Brown, activities program manager, covered Elizabeth Coolidge and Juliette Nadia Boulanger. Both women contributed to the musical world of composers.
Coolidge was a wealthy American who funded composers so that they could have a voice and creative freedom. Boulanger was the most famous classical teacher of the 20th century.
Brown described how everyone in the music industry wanted to move to Paris, France to work with Boulanger. Even though composing is still considered a man’s job, these women helped shape its future.
Brown chose these women because “even though they lived in different places, both contributed to the same art form they loved. Both made my field interesting.”
Greg Ochoa, dean of academic affairs, discussed author, dancer, singer, model and activist Maya Angelou.
Ochoa gave a brief history of Angelou’s life; she had a rough childhood and went to a segregated school. She overcame her past by becoming the best-known author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Angelou was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
Ochoa ended with a story about a time when his children were fighting; he made them watch Angelou talk about love and then write nice things about each other.
Jason Ottley, assistant trainer, chose to talk about the Queen of Sheba. Ottley gave insight that the Queen is featured in many different religious stories.
Based on those stories, Ottley came up with five messages everyone can relate to. First, women are looked down on for asking questions. Second, what you desire in life doesn’t need approval from others. Third, always investigate what you have been told to make sure it’s true. Fourth, be comfortable in your own skin. Lastly, face obstacles, but remain vigilant in pursuit.
Tom Sydow, English professor, closed the panel by defining gender norms and roles through Carl Jung’s persona and warrior archetype. The archetype is turning towards powerful female characters. Some examples of these are Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” and Buffy Summers from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”