NCCU forum focuses on empowering women

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 04:18 PM

Harmony Cross is N.C. Central University royalty.

The graduating senior is Miss NCCU and gets to wear a crown and a sash at university events. She is the campus queen, but believes she shouldn’t be the only one.

“I think all the women at N.C. Central should be a kind of queen,” Cross said. “They should feel enriched and powerful and they should have the confidence to conquer the world.”

To help them gain that confidence, Cross is sponsoring the inaugural NCCU Women’s Empowerment Symposium Wednesday evening, at the McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium on campus.

The event is called “Where the Royal Woman is Created,” and will run from 5 to 10 p.m. It will feature motivational speakers, poetry readings, a belly-dancing performance, presentations by a relationship specialist, musical entertainment, vendors and more.

The idea, Cross explained, is to help young women understand that “you should not accept being treated as anything lower than a queen.”

To do that, she added, “you have to treat yourself as a queen, you have to realize your self-worth and who you are as a person, embrace the queen you already are.”

That’s not always easy, Cross acknowledged, particularly for college-age women.

“At this age, you’re going through so many different changes, trying to find out who you really are,” she said. “You need people to help you understand what it really means to be human, to be a woman.”

The event is open to the public — even including men — and admission is free.

Not charging admission is important, Cross said. While the region has some similar events that do charge, “as college students, many of us don’t have the ability to pay for something like this,” she said.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for NCCU students, and others, to come together and embrace their womanhood,” Cross said. “We want them to experience the positivity everyone on this earth should feel.”

Cross has been working on the idea for the symposium since last fall. Planning gained momentum, she said, with the announcement in February that the new chancellor of NCCU would be a woman, Debra Saunders-White.

“We are all so excited and so proud to have a female chancellor,” Cross said. “It’s inspired me. It’s inspired all of us. It should inspire every man, too, because every man needs a queen to form a strong relationship.”