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College students to make trip to see Stacey Abrams at University of Illinois at Chicago

| Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL), gender and women’s studies, political science and Career Crossings departments are sponsoring a trip to the University of Illinois at Chicago Saturday to hear Stacey Abrams speak about her book,Leading from the Outside.

Sophomore Grace Clucas said she decided to attend the event because of Abrams’ inspirational political career.

“I am attending because women in power in our government really interest me. It is a dream to one day maybe find myself in a similar position within politics,” Clucas said. “But [Abrams] specifically is pretty cool, and since I am currently in this American South class where we are talking about the civil rights movement, an African-American women representative from Georgia, her accomplishments are definitely to be admired.”

Abrams, who served for 11 years in the Georgia House of Representatives, was the first black woman to win the gubernatorial nomination for a major party in the United States and was the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia. Clucas said Abrams’ success is a model for the professional careers of young women.

“I think Belles should attend things like this because seeing women … in positions of power remind us our potential,” she said. “Most of us are probably attending college in order to better ourselves and seeing examples of women who did the work is always good to see.

“[Abrams] in particular has her book about being on the outside, and while I have to acknowledge my privilege as a white individual, as women sometimes we have to work harder for what we want” Clucas added. “ … Ultimately that’s why SMC and being a Belle is so beneficial; because we are awarded opportunities like this where we are shown our potential is pretty much limitless.”

Abrams’ book is a sort of how-to guide for women, people of color, people from the LGBTQ community and “other” future leaders. Clucas said those future leaders are fortunate to live in a time with so many opportunities available to them.

“I think we are very lucky to be growing up in this time period honestly. For me, being a history and political science major, it is evident that what I aspire to accomplish in my life hasn’t always been possible or greeted with support. I mean my grandma needed a man’s signature to take out a loan like only 40 years ago,” Clucas said. “I think it is important to recognize our power as individuals. It is easy to be an observer in many aspects of our lives. Sometimes that is really scary to think about, but even here at SMC we are surrounded by many passionate, talented women who are ready to take on the world in a few short years.”

The trip is scheduled for the evening of April 27 at the University of Illinois. Saint Mary’s will be providing a round-trip bus ride and a ticket to the event. Clucas said she was initially reluctant to make the trek to Chicago, but eventually realized how important the experience was to her personal growth.

“I was reflecting on my week and reminding myself maybe I should just miss this trip due to the never-ending amounts of homework, yet I was reminded of the opportunity this truly offered,” she said. “For me, especially through SMC, having a community is almost essential and very beneficial and fun to have. The people you surround yourself with and learn from help shape who you are and if there is anything this world need mores of is collaborating, communicating and being open-minded, not being afraid to be wrong and trying to better oneself through our experiences.”

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