Warrior walks, goddess hugs and diva drum circles welcomed CSUN’s 8th Annual Women’s Empowerment Event Thursday at the USU Grand Salon.
The event, hosted by Chicana/o studies professor Diana Shakti Contreras and her Contemporary Issues of the Chicana class, aimed to instill confidence in students and attending members through a series of spiritual activities, such as skits, songs and readings.
“I realized there was a need on the campus for more empowerment of women,” said Contreras about the origin of the event. She modeled the event after her course’s curriculum, which consists of three components: the warrior, goddess and diva.
The warrior workshops started off the event with a gong meditation session led by Amelia Soto, a Kundalini Yoga teacher and healer from Shaman’s Vision Sacred Arts. Contreras then led students on a warrior walk, in which they were blessed by Contreras.
Female students from the participating class dressed as Frida Khalo, La Malinche and Dolores Huerta to exhibit examples of women who possess the traits of warriors, goddesses and divas, according to Natalie Del Castillo,18, a freshman majoring in sociology.
Raquel Marquez, 18, a communication studies freshman, dressed up as Shakira because of the singer’s humanitarian qualities.
“(Shakira) fights for her people. She tries to give back to her society and her community and help with their education. She is a goddess because she does it in a very serene way and she’s a diva because she knows what she wants and she makes sure she gets it done,” Marquez said.
The event also raised awareness of environmental sustainability and prompted students to “have a little more compassion and more caring about our earth,” according to Contreras.
The class introduced the notion that only students have the power to counteract global warming through its “The Revenge of Gaia” skit. In the skit, Gaia, the goddess of Earth in ancient Greek paganism, punishes humans for polluting the environment.
Miranda Rondeau, a singer, songwriter and frame drum artists, concluded the event with a diva healing drum circle and provided frame drums to students. Rondeau emphasized the significance of the frame drum as “the echo of remembrance of oneness.”
The drumming is similar to a heartbeat, Rondeau said.
Students partook in the drumming and singing designed to transform and heal.
Contreras hopes the event inspires students to “learn to use their voice and defend themselves when they need to in a more rounded way.”