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P. O. Box 250
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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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Women’s Leadership Conference to be held March 11
Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea will give the keynote address
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Courtesy Photo: The Dreamers from Bassett High School will speak during the 17th annual Women’s Leadership Conference at Ferrum College on Tuesday, March 11.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The 17th Annual Women's Leadership Conference will be held at Ferrum College on Tuesday, March 11.

The conference incorporates the college's academic theme of "sustaining community engagement" with a timely focus on immigration.

Presenters will include Ferrum alumnae, area high school students, as well as nationally and internationally known artists, faith leaders and activists. The conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Panther's Den in Franklin Hall on the college campus. Scheduled lunch and dinner breaks will allow participants to enjoy meals on their own.

Conference admission is free but pre-registration is requested.

The morning program will include welcoming remarks by Ali Miller; a panel presentation by Joemica Donaldson and Norma Velez, who have worked with issues and organizations related to immigration during the last year; and a performance by The IceBreakers, the Bassett High School Minority Student Alliance step team that is preparing to compete in New York this spring.

"We are thrilled to have The Minority Student Alliance as our special guests for the day since their mission to bring cultural awareness to the community, as well as provide academic and cultural enrichment activities to the club members and community, is so perfectly reflective of what this year's conference is all about," said conference co-coordinator Dr. Susan Mead.

At 11:15 a.m., a panel of four "Dreamers" from Bassett County High School will take the stage accompanied by their school counselor, Shekila Yralux. Karla Portugal, Candi López, Jeanette Maya and Rosario Quesade will talk about their experiences trying to access higher education, and what passage of the Dream Act and other legislation would mean for them.

The afternoon program will begin at 2 p.m. with a keynote address by Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, director of Refugee & Immigration Ministries - Disciples Home Missions, who will reflect upon lessons learned in her work and address the importance of becoming informed and engaged in immigration issues from a faith-based perspective. 

Other afternoon highlights will include a viewing of the film "The Dream is Now," followed by discussion hosted by Organizing for Action representatives. 

The Women's Leadership Conference evening program will feature an appearance by international artist Frida Larios, a native of El Salvador who now lives in Washington, D.C. She will talk about her project and book entitled "New Maya Language."

"My colleague and co-coordinator of the conference, Dr. Patty Suppes, met Ms. Larios, was so impressed with her work and felt that we had to bring her to Ferrum," said Mead. "The bright energy of her work absolutely complements the personality of our keynoter Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea and the young people who will share their stories in the morning."

"We are thrilled to be able to bring folks together for this day of learning and community engagement at Ferrum College," she added.

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