Last weekend’s event was more than a success! It was the beginning of a movement! We, Influencing In Color, held our inaugural IIC give-back event at Huston -Tillitson University in Austin Texas. We talked, we laughed, they shopped, and most important we influenced.
Influencing in Color was born out of the idea that inclusivity matters. We wanted to help other women who may feel “left out” feel included. We wanted them to have the information and opportunity just like any other woman. Shay, Brandy Meghan and I felt that it was our turn to give back so we cleaned out our closets and asked our fellow Houston bloggers to do the same. With our cars full of donations, we headed to Huston-Tillitson to host our first ever IIC event! Why Huston - Tillitson? We chose HTU as our first stop because we wanted to target an HBCU (Historically Black College/University) because we understand the hardships of these particular schools. I know first hand as a former student of an HBCU that these schools produce so much talent however they are often overlooked. Our event was scheduled to begin at 6:30 but there was so much anticipation that the ladies were lined up at 6! They may have been more excited about the clothing than us, but can you blame them!? It was a dream! We were able to collect 7 rolling racks of clothing, shoes to fill two 8 x 10 tables, an accessory table and an entire beauty table!
Before the young ladies shopped, Brandy put her teacher cap on and created the most powerful “ice breaker”. We had the ladies split up into three groups and talk to each other until they found something that they had in common. They were required to go deeper than superficial commonalities. It was inspiring to see young women who walk past each other on campus daily, realize that they have so much in common with each other! We can confidently say that new friends and new relationships were made.
We channeled the ice breaker energy into our IIC chat and Q&A! One of the messages that we wanted to convey to these ladies is that anything is possible & that every career is not conventional! It is definitely possible that these ladies inspired me more than I did them but either way, it was a much needed dose of girl talk!
We allowed the anticipation to build and then it was time to shop! The ladies were allowed to go through the items and take what suits them. We initially vacillated between the idea of having the students shop in turns or take a certain amount. After laying eyes on these ladies and understanding their energy & our purpose, we decided that there were no restrictions. Just like we told them in our chat, “anything is possible” and today was their day to have anything!
As much as I dreamed that this experience would be so amazing for the students, I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I/ we did something for someone else. Knowing that these women can and will go out into the world feeling empowered and capable has been mind altering.
I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Huston- Tillitson University for welcoming us! To the students, thank you to those of you that helped us set-up and take down! You were so gracious and helpful! To all of the ladies reading this who attended, THANK YOU! Thank you for coming. Thank you for being the next generation go BOSSES!!! To everyone reading this-
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
*If you would like to parter with Influencing in Color please email firstname.lastname@example.org