On January 28, 2010, Vision to Visionaries: Women Empowered, a panel discussion hosted by Camille Cosby, Ed.D., was held in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby Academic Center Auditorium at Spelman College, the facility dedicated in her honor in 1996. A collaboration between Spelman College and the National Visionary Leadership Project, the event assembled an eclectic group of world-renowned panelist to celebrate the contributions of Black women leaders. The panel consisted of award-winning actress, author and civil rights activist Ruby Dee, dancer and actress Jasmine Guy, SSGA President Morgan Pierce, playwright, poet and educator Sonia Sanchez, and track and field legend Jackie J. Kersee.
The intimate discussion included realistic and intense topics such as the status of the Black family in America; women and their position in religion; and barriers for young leaders (emotional and mental limitations).
Tackling the question of what actions need to be taken to address current issues in the Black community and among Black females personally, each panelist encouraged the audience through examples from their lives. Kersee spoke of her doubts of winning the Olympic gold medal after suffering a leg injury.
“I went to the starting line anticipating a pain that was never there. I had the physical ability, but it takes a mental toughness to be the best in the world,” explained Kersee
Ashley Cousins, C’2013, connected to Kersee’s message and was challenge to act on the mental battle that hinders success for young Blacks. “As young leaders, sometimes we think, ‘maybe I can’t make it where I want to go’ when we see women that don’t look like us [in career paths we aspire to be in],” said Cousins, “but I can be a leader and visionary of color, and gender will not stop me.” – Dannieka Wiggins, C’2013