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Top Women Leaders Speak at Virtual Douglass Events

MGH and SK

In the month of November, Douglass had the honor of hosting a series of events across College programs featuring women leaders and innovators. Staff, students, alumnae, and friends gathered together online to discuss some of the most vital topics facing the nation.

On November 18, Douglass welcomed back Marion Gray-Hopkins, a social justice advocate, board member of ACLU of Maryland, and co-founder and President of the Coalition of Concerned Mothers (COCM). Gray-Hopkin’s activism work for social justice and civil liberties began in 2000 after the tragic death of her son, Gary Hopkins Jr., at the hands of law enforcement. Last year, Gray-Hopkins spoke to students taking the Douglass foundation course, Knowledge and Power: Issues in Women’s Leadership, about racial injustice and violence as part of The Mothers of the Movement. This year, she delivered her talk “A Mother’s Journey to End Police Brutality,” to students and alumnae. She spoke about her remarkable son, Gary Hopkins Jr., who loved his loved family and friends, debates, writing, music, and dancing. Gray-Hopkins chronicled the events before, during, and after her son’s murder, sharing the story of her own subsequent journey into activism.

As Gray-Hopkins spoke, attendees interacted with her and each other in the online chat, posing questions, offering anecdotes, and spreading sentiments of solidarity. She also called students to action. Noting the title of one of her son’s final college papers, “It Takes a Village,” Gray-Hopkins encouraged all students to get involved in advocating for equality.

Later that same day, Douglass hosted Dr. Susan Kirk DC’83, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia Medical School. Dr. Kirk discussed the challenges of COVID-19 upon students, particularly students interested in attending graduate school. Taking into consideration the scope of the pandemic, the event addressed the ways medical education is expected to change in the months ahead.

In addition to Marion Gray-Hopkins and Dr. Susan Kirk, events this month also welcomed Dr. Keisha Blain, award-winning author and associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh; Lori Roper, playwright of Hawks Tavern; and Pamela Z, a renowned electronic music artist.

Douglass extends its gratitude to the many incredible speakers who have worked with the College this past semester, as well as all those who attended events. Bringing hundreds of alumnae and students together to experience high-impact, transformational programming as a community is an essential part of the Douglass Difference.