COLUMN: Dr. Yolanda, powerful and empowering leader


Rob Le Cates

Kyla Moton is a junior English major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Kyla Moton, Columnist

As a young, black woman on a predominantly white campus, it is important that black women have access to other women who look like them and can relate to some of the experiences that we go through.

Coming to Eastern, I made a point to make friends with other black women because they can relate to the things that I go through when it comes to being black and a woman.

I joined Strong S.H.E. during my first semester at Eastern. S.H.E. was not too prominent on campus once I started my freshman year due to COVID.

But once my second year came around, I loved going to Blair Hall every Tuesday at 6PM to just have genuine conversations with other black women on campus.

The thing that I’ve seen as issues, specifically involving the black community or black women in general, are things that we all bring to S.H.E. and discuss.

With the growing population of black women on our campus, from freshmen to transfer students, Strong S.H.E.’s mission is to build a unity amongst black women on Eastern’s campus and be a resource for black women looking to find some sort of comfort or safety, even if it is just for an hour or two.

Strong S.H.E. has recently taken a hit with our current on campus advisor, Dr. Yolonda Williams-Goliday, moving on to a different job away from Eastern.

Strong S.H.E. and Dr. Yolanda both work with the Office of Inclusion and Academic Engagement. I, along with the other beautiful ladies of S.H.E., sat in Dr. Yolanda’s office as she explained to us why she would no longer be working for Eastern, and the moral of the story is that Dr. Yolanda knows her worth.

I believe Dr. Yolanda’s bosses and Eastern did not do their due diligence in making sure that Dr. Yolonda was properly compensated for all of her amazing achievements. She recently obtained her doctorate and wanted a higher title in the office and more money, which her bosses said that they could not provide.

I find that very hard to believe, but not only is Dr. Yolonda leaving behind her job in OIAE or her position as the advisor for the Omicron Delta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., she is leaving behind Strong S.H.E., a program that is so small and closeknit but means a lot to all of us.

Is there any other kind of group on campus tailored to the success of black women on our campus and a way for us to have conversations with women who can relate to one another? There isn’t.

As a member of Strong S.H.E, we are currently seeking an on campus advisor to help us aid in our journey through college while also going through real world issues.

It would be amazing for us to just meet as we are, but we want S.H.E. to grow and become an amazing resource on campus for black women. We were planning events, meeting topics, and there’s still so much of the school year left for S.H.E. to spread its wings and blossom into a life–changing program.

For Eastern and anyone who was over Dr. Yolanda, refusing to give her a raise and a better title in the company, I hope that you see what a wonderful woman that Dr. Yolanda is and the impact that she has made here at Eastern as an advocate.

Strong S.H.E. means a lot to me and all of the other ladies I’ve made connections with through S.H.E. It is an important asset to Eastern’s campus, and we want more engagement and to see S.H.E. become bigger than ever.

We love you Dr. Yolanda, wish you the best on your new journey, and thank you for pouring your all into Strong. S.H.E.

Kyla Moton is a junior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 217-581-2812.