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Cultural club awards active female students

On March 25, The Chancellor’s Suite was filled with music like “This Girl’s on Fire” and “Formation,” relaying the singular message: girls rock.

The National Council of Negro Woman in Imani Chapter (NCNW) presented “Girls Rock,” a ceremony honoring Seton Hall University’s “most extraordinary women.”

The award ceremony, with about 40 people in attendance, awarded 11 women for their achievements and work.

“SHU Girls Rock is an important event because it allows people on campus to see the hardworking women on this campus and to recognize them for their dedication and commitment,” said Jayda Yizar, president of NCNW and a sophomore social and behavioral sciences major.

The ceremony started with Mikalia Morris, a freshman diplomacy and international relations major, reciting her poem, “Love thyself as thyself: A open letter to black people.”

“Seeing as this is an event for NCNW and that I am a black woman and looking at the social and political climate that we are in and the D.C. incident of black girls going missing, I thought it would be the most appropriate thing to show everyone that black women are still important,” Morris said.

Morris explained that it’s a time for people to get together and uplift one another. She added that it’s events like this that highlight how important women are and show society that we are still here, especially as girls continue to be neglected, ignored and second-class citizens in some places.

Each award highlights the strengths of each individual winner, Izar explained. These awards included Alumni Award (Monica Hall), Rock Star Award (Ryanne Boyer), Trailblazer (Christina Levy), Community Service Award (Kiana Benard), Motivator Award (Emani Miles), Visionary Award (Shaaliyah Lyons), Women in Art (Mikalia Morris), Entrepreneur Award (Marissa Banks), Young, Gifted and Black Award (Heather Harris), SHU Girl of the Year Award (Kyra Lucas), and Faculty Member of the Year Award (Mrs. Patricia Pitts).

“I just wanted to support another cultural organization on campus,” said Bryan Luis, a junior social and behavioral sciences. “We want to show that the men of Black Men of Standards have their backs because black women…women are our backbone. You don’t see a lot of men here, but we are here to show that we have their backs.”

Women who were awarded and nominated have worked to do a number of things which have ranged from opening a non-profit organization, Together we Conquer, to starting a new business, “Sweet Honey Productions”, to mentoring and pushing other women to achieve their goals.

The NCNW has been hosting the award ceremony since 2009. Through hosting events like this, NCNW works to acknowledge women who work to give a voice for those who don’t have one while helping improving communities as they personally, professionally, and academically grow through their work.

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Organizations such as the Black Student Union, Black Men of Standard, the American Cancer Society, Arabic Speaking Club, West Indian Student Organization, P.O.E.T.I.C, and Student Social Work Association helped co-sponsor the event.

Nisha Desai can be reached at


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