COLUMN: Dear Black women, you’ve got this


Katja Benz

Katja Benz, Columnist

I’ve noticed something about the months of February and March. They show people more about experiences that they may not otherwise know about, meaning Black history or women’s history.

As we wrap up the shortest month of the year, we should acknowledge Black women who are incredibly important this month as they will be in the next one.

I’ll first start with women important to Eastern.

First is Ona Norton. For those that aren’t aware, she and her husband Kenneth Norton are being considered as a replacement name for Douglas Hall. She was also named ‘Woman of the Year’ in 1967 by Charleston’s Chamber of Commerce.

She and her husband housed Black athletes who couldn’t stay on campus. She owned multiple businesses around Charleston. She protected Eastern athletes by giving them a place to live when Eastern only saw them as a force useful for competition.

Next is Zella Powell. She was Eastern’s first Black graduate. The discrimination she must have gone through, just to get a college degree, is unimaginable. She ended up becoming a teacher.

Any Miss Black EIU contestant I want to congratulate. Fortunately, I got to talk to Jaedah Franks, the sophomore biological sciences major that won this year’s pageant.

She said that she wants to beat the odds defined by others and wants to encourage other Black women to do the same. She also wants to be a voice for Black women, even if society might be against her and Black women.

There are also other important Black women to remember in March.

Among them are Serena Williams, part of the world famous tennis duo with her sister Venus.

Tennis, a primarily white sport, is dominated by the Williams sisters. They work so hard to get where they are today and we don’t give them enough credit.

Serena has won 14 grand slam doubles titles, meaning that she won those with her sister. The amount of work and dedication that they had to put in really paid off.

Michelle Obama, as I’m sure we’ve all heard of her, the former First Lady of the United States, inspiring story compelled many people across the globe. Her humanitarian work, along with her husband, helped so many and inspired many more.

Even though these are two months, or one sixth of the year, we should do more than what we already do to support minorities and minority women. They deserve as much respect as white men and women get. When they don’t, that just goes to show that we can do so much more to support minority groups, not only in these two months, but during every month.

Katja Benz is a junior English major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]