Community service

Club for women of color offers mentorship and community service – The Appalachian

Building community, professional development and empowerment are just a few of the goals of a club run by women of color.

Queen In You is a national organization whose goal is to advance women of color through mentorship, social events, fundraising and community service. It was based in 2016 by Noyah King, a criminal justice major at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University at the time.

Growing up, King was part of the National Junior League Party Favors, where she learned skills in professionalism and etiquette. Realizing that not everyone could afford the same opportunities, King started QIU as a way to mentor young women of color in life skills and professional development. QIU has chapters at several North Carolina universities.

Makaylia Ray, a communication science and disorders student, is the president of the App State QIU chapter, which was founded in 2018. Ray said she struggled to find a place for her freshman year until a friend tells him about QIU.

“Everyone needs a place to feel accepted,” Ray said. “It’s nice to sit down and once a week see someone who looks like me and discuss things that people understand.”

QIU meets to plan programs and discuss life advice on topics such as mental health, finances and professional development, including finding scholarships and creating LinkedIn profiles.

“That’s my favorite part about it,” said sophomore criminal justice student Cali Norman. “You can ask for anything, literally anything, and someone’s always there. Someone knows something. It’s really nice to just be able to have somewhere to go without judgment.

Norman said clubs like QIU are especially important to universities that are predominantly white.

“In a PWI, it’s really hard to find your place and feel like you belong and have people understand you and your perspective,” Norman said. “I think it’s an important club for uplifting black women and women of color, especially because we’re a minority here.”

QIU hosts events that encourage female empowerment and build community, including karaoke parties, paint nights, game nights, and a breast cancer fundraiser. Jemiah Williams, a junior sociology student, said her favorite event was the Celebration of Female Art, which allowed female students to showcase their art and celebrate female artists. They plan to make it an annual event.

“It was just celebrating women in arts culture, so it was music, dance, fashion, painting and singing, and it was awesome,” Williams said.

One of QIU’s main goals is to create a mentorship program with area middle and high schools, which they hope to launch next year. They plan to mentor young women, with a particular focus on women of color, through QIU’s four pillars: self-vocalization, self-image, self-love, and sisterhood. They also use the acronym POWER, which stands for Professionalism, Awareness, Women’s Voice, Empowerment and Resources.

“What we’re focusing on right now is high school specifically,” Ray said. “We want to make sure we give them access to college information, help with resumes, and how to present themselves.”

They plan to partner with organizations such as the Alliance for Women and Children, an after-school program focused on empowering women.

“I think clubs like this kind of provide that safe haven, that space for women of color to open up and have a conversation and find some kind of empowerment when maybe the world is telling us we’re not good enough. “Williams said. “It’s open to everyone regardless of race, so it’s a really good place to have that education and those critical conversations between people from different cultures.”