The Springfield College Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted its sixth annual Women’s Tea event on Friday, March 12 in a virtual format. This annual event on the campus recognizes International Women's Month, and celebrates feminism and women leaders both on the campus and in the surrounding community.
Land Acknowledgement, Opening Remarks by Felicia Lundquist & Juhi Dasrath
Comments by Student Trustee Candidate - Paris Lizana
Reading by - Aaliyah Hall
Reading by - Crystal Maldonado
Speech by - Tiffany Allecia
Springfield College Dance Performance
Reading by - Sheona Douglas
Springfield-Agawam Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
We acknowledge that here, we stand on Indigenous land, known
to the original Algonkian Indian (Native American/Indigenous) inhabitants as “Agawam,” or “Akawaham.” The Indigenous name for this place is a locative term that roughly translates to
“low-lying marshy lands,” describing a large region along both sides of the Kwinitekw (now called
the Connecticut River) from present-day Enfield, Connecticut to the Holyoke Range. For at least 10,000 years, since the last era of glaciation, the Agawam people engaged in trade, diplomacy, and
kinship with other regional Indigenous people, most notably: the Quaboag to the East; the Podunk to the South; the Woronoco to the West; and the Nonotuck, Pocumtuck, and Sokoki to the North. During the 1630s, when Agawam leaders invited English colonial settlers to build a small settlement here, they attempted to preserve, in written deeds, Indigenous cartographies and rights to hunt, fish, plant, and live on tribal lands. When diplomatic relations failed, the Agawam people were decimated and dispersed as a direct result of colonial deceit, disease, and warfare. Although the survivors sought refuge with other Native communities across the northeast, very few direct descendants of the Agawam people live in
Springfield today. We acknowledge, however, that many Indigenous nations, from the territory we now call "southern New England," still survive and still exercise sovereignty. We acknowledge, in particular, these contemporary Indigenous nations: the Nipmuc to the East; the Wampanoag and Narragansett to the Southeast; the Mohegan, Pequot, and Schaghticoke to the South; the Mohican to the West; and the Abenaki to the North, among many others. Recognizing that the entirety of the North American continent constitutes territory considered to be original Indigenous homelands, we respect the sovereignty of these and hundreds of other Native American Indigenous nations that survive today and we pledge to support the rights of these nations and the interests of Indigenous peoples.
Student Trustee Candidate Paris Lizana
Paris Lizana is a sophomore Sports Management major at Springfield College. She spends her time with many clubs on campus and offices such as Multicultural Affairs, Women of Power, Black Student Union, and Student Society for Bridging Diversity to name a few. In her free time, she loves sewing, painting, roller skating, and trying new things like the guitar. Paris takes a particular interest in learning about how she can use her talents to promote social justice and inclusion in all aspects of her life. She is determined to use her background, education, and lived experiences to help others become more aware of how they too can contribute to building a better society. She hopes to one day own her own sports complex where all people are welcome to be the best versions of themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.
But for now, she plans on staying involved on campus and doing her best to make sure all students have the best experience possible at Springfield College.
On March 30, 2020, Aaliyah Hall, who was 9 years old at the time, started a remote learning project in the form of a virtual storytime series called Dreamland with Aaliyah. The live broadcast takes place in SisterStudios, which was created as a home studio by Aaliyah and her younger sister Ava. This all started because Aaliyah was disappointed that so many things were being canceled during the quarantine last Spring. She wanted to give children and their grownups something to look forward to everyday that wouldn’t be canceled. And Ava, as an emerging kindergarten reader, wanted to support her sister in creating something fun! So Aaliyah went LIVE daily for six months (EVERY DAY!) from March 30-September 30. She read more than 200+ books and raised over $10K for nonprofits (Moms of Black Boys, United for Social Change, No Kid Hungry, the Holyoke Children's Museum and the Loveland Foundation). She now has a YouTube channel and does a live story every Sunday evening on Facebook at 7:00 ET and special series events on her YouTube channel, most recently celebrating Kwanzaa. She chooses her own topics and they are always focused on #BlackLivesMatter #OwnVoices and #representationmatters.
Also, Aaliyah has also been featured as part of syllabi and keynotes, often being compared to literacy advocates like Marley Diaz and Levar Burton. She was also named a nationwide Hometown Hero by HuluFrog and an MLK Changemaker by Tinkergarten. Aaliyah’s work has been spotlighted on several local news affiliates such as CT Live, Mass Live, NBC Western MA news, the Springfield Republican Newspaper, Harlem Community News, 1010 Wins, as well as the Drew Barrymore Show, the NBC Universal Snapchat program “Stay Tuned,” and NPR. Aaliyah also had small cameos; first in a music video by Nancy Wilson from the music group Heart and second in the HBO Special Between the World & Me. But perhaps the most exciting headline from this year is that Aaliyah was named in top 50 finalists for the first ever Time Magazine and Nickelodeon Kid of the Year. As a result, Aaliyah was invited to participate in the Nickelodeon
Kid of the Year televised special, hosted by Trevor Noah, which appeared on all the Nickelodeon platforms, CBS, and Comedy Central in December 2020.
Crystal Maldonado is a writer by night and a marketer and social media manager by day. She has been published in Latina magazine, The Hartford Courant, and Dogster, contributed a personal essay to BuzzFeed, and is the co- founder of the online magazine Positively Smitten. Fat Chance, Charlie Vega is her debut novel and was bought in a competitive pre-empt as part of a two-book deal. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, her dog, and her super-duper adorable baby daughter.
Tiffany Allecia, M.Ed.
Tiffany Allecia is a self-proclaimed “Lover of Springfield,” but she is most recognized as a Community Organizer and Activist. Allecia was born in Hartford, and moved to Springfield when she was
just 7 years old. She is the daughter of a Social Worker and an Administrator for the UCONN Police Department. She credits her early interest in social justice and collaboration to the work environments of her parents. She is one of eight children and is a first-generation American. Tiffany Allecia identifies as a Black and Brown woman, as her family has a diverse heritage including roots in Montserrat, Puerto
Rico, St. Kitts, and Nevis, Cuba, and Venezuela. She is a double Howard University graduate with a B.A. in African American Studies with a minor certificate in psychology and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor certificate in Political Science. She has a Masters of Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University and completed her Massachusetts Teacher licensure coursework at Boston University. Still, Tiffany believes that her greatest accomplishment thus far has been becoming a Mother to three beautiful Black boys Adrian-6, Andre-4, and
Adonis-3. Currently, Tiffany Allecia is the President of The Black and Brown Wall Street, Founder and Creative Director of Real Recognize Fake, and Interim President of the Abundance Creative Society. These organizations were created to address the major concerns of the Springfield Black and Brown Community including economic development and stability, awareness, healing and restorative
justice, as well as the creative economy. Tiffany is focused on building the sustainable infrastructure that will allow for continuous economic development in Springfield through our collective passions and creative goals. Springfield Massachusetts is Tiffany’s hometown, and she credits her individual success to the city itself having raised her. This is why she describes her life’s work as the journey to establishing Springfield, MA as an arts & culture capital of the world.
Springfield College Dance
Cynthia Duran is a New York City based dancer, where she began her training as a ballet dancer at Brooklyn Ballet. She attended Frank Sinatra school of the arts where she performed works by American Ballet Theater, Jessica Lang, and Carla Maxwell. This led her to Springfield College where she is pursuing a BA in Dance and a BS in Therapeutic Recreation. She desires to become a Dance Movement Therapist for youth and work as a professional dancer. She has performed works by Trisha Brown, Monica Bill Barnes, Andrea Vasquez, and Jason Aryeh. She has choreographed works for Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Brooklyn Ballet, and for Springfield Colleges Spring Show. She is captivated by dance and her passion will fuel her to pursue more choreographic works and continue preforming.
Alexandra MacPherson is an artist inspired by dance as a universal language, currently pursuing a BA in Dance as well as a Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Springfield College. She desires to perform professionally and work with other active performing artists as a dancer and physical therapist. MacPherson aims to combine her love of movement and science to enhance the ever-changing world in which we live. With experience ranging from concert to commercial dance, MacPherson’s training embodies a diverse movement vocabulary from athletic contemporary to old school hip-hop. She is an active dancer, choreographer and educator. She enjoys the athleticism and adrenaline rush of hip-hop, jazz funk and African as well as the control and variation in contemporary and musical theater. MacPherson has performed diverse choreographic works by professional artists Monica Bill-Barnes, Jason Aryeh, Andrea Vazquez- Aguirre, Monica Baroni and Sarah Zehnder. She was invited to be a guest performer for Zehnder Dance Company in NYC in 2019 and MacPherson’s choreography has also been presented at FlorenceSummerDance (Florence, Italy) and was selected for the American College Dance Association’s New England Regional Festival (Middlebury, VT) informal showcase.
Henkel is excited to be continuing her dance journey at Springfield College.
Pursuing a BA in Dance and a BS in Psychology, as well as a member of the college’s Honors program,
she is curious about the depths of those fields individually and how they can collide. Continuing to explore new styles, Henkel is an aspiring dancer and choreographer in movement forms such as tap, modern contemporary, musical theater, and beyond. She is also currently the secretary for Springfield College’s dance club SC Dancers. Beginning her dance journey at Center Stage Dance Studio in Stamford CT, she has choreographed works for Curtain Call Theater and showcased work as part of the Young Choreographers Festival in 2018 and 2019. Henkel has performed works by Monica Bill Barnes, Jason Aryeh, Lisa “Lani” Schmidt, Tara Murphy, and Sarah Zehnder. She loves and appreciates the beauty and strength of the dance world and is thrilled to continue that journey of learning and performing.
Sarah Zehnder, Artistic Director of Zehnder Dance, Assistant Professor and Director of Dance at Springfield College, is originally from Ohio, where she began her training as a hip-hop dancer. Zehnder Dance, established in 2010, is known for commanding physicality, boldness and architectural precision, and has been produced internationally, performing in such prestigious festivals as Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Florence Summer Dance Festival (Italy), Reverb International Dance Festival, Pasadena Dance Festival, DUMBO Dance Festival, the MAD Festival, Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival, the Women in Dance Project (NYC and Chicago), Utica Dance Festival, and Buffalo Dance festival. Her work has been presented at Dixon Place, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, Gowanus Arts, Triskelion Arts, 92nd Y, Greenspace, and the Center for Performance Research (CPR). Zehnder has also shared her choreographic passion through guest artist residencies at Grand Canyon University, Santa Monica College, Queens College, and Scottsdale Community College. Zehnder received her BS in Dance from Bowling Green State University and her MFA from SUNY Brockport. For more information on workshops and future performances visit www.zehnderdance.org or follow us on Instagram @zehnder_dance
Sheona Douglas, M.S.W.
Sheona Douglas is on a mission to promote social justice , diversity, and equity on and off Springfield Colleges campus. Trained as a social worker, Sheona has a unique 10+ year background in community outreach, program facilitation, group therapy, camp counseling, she is an author, and is the Founder and CEO of Aedes By Shay Skincare, LLC. She graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University where she received a degree in Biology as well as at The University of Saint Joseph where
she received her Master's in Social Work. From working as a therapist, advisor, and Career specialist Sheona's true passion is helping others. Sheona arrived at Springfield College in 2019 as a Community Director for Housing and Residence Life. It is in this position and during the start of the covid 19 pandemic, during a temporary layoff Sheona was able to finish and publish her
first children's book, Backyard Bashment which highlights Caribbean culture, recipes, and values as she comes from Jamaican descent. Now Sheona has a new position as the Assistant Director of Field Education in the Social Work department at Springfield College. Sheona is happy to say feels fulfilled; she can work to help students in the field she loves, write children's books about different Caribbean cultures to bring awareness and insight on different cultures, and shine light on the benefits of vegan skincare.
Thank you to our attendees, supporters, and accomplices. Thank you to our powerful guest speakers for your time and contributions. We are grateful for the opportunity to cultivate community, healing,
and joy with you today!
Special thanks to Emily Counsellor, Danielle Griffin, Irene Rotondo, and Damon Markiewicz for your continued support.
Charisse DelVecchio, Felicia Lundquist, Juhi Dasrath, Elaine Ortiz, Cynthia Duran
Springfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Approximately 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.