Nikki Giovanni to speak at WFU’s sister’s inspirational summit

Wake Forest University will hold its second annual Sister’s Inspirational Summit: “The Spirit of a Woman” Oct. 2 in Benson University Center. The all-day summit, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., includes several workshops by local women focusing on various aspects of women’s health and life issues, a banquet dinner, a keynote address by award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni and a book signing.

The summit is geared toward college-aged women, but is open to all women. Women from the community and Wake Forest’s faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the banquet dinner. All events are free, but registration is required.

At 8 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall in Scales Fine Arts Center, Giovanni will give the keynote address at “The Spirit of Unity” program. This is the one event of the day that is open to both men and women. Giovanni will speak on “Art as Diversity and Diversity as Art.” She will also hold a book signing at a reception following the program.

A professor of English and the Gloria D. Smith Professor of Black Studies at Virginia Tech, Giovanni is the author of several works, including “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998” and “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not-Quite Poems.” She has been named “Woman of the Year” by several magazines, including Essence, Mademoiselle and Ladies Home Journal.

The Sister’s Inspirational Summit was initiated last year by female Wake Forest students as a counterpart to the annual Multicultural Male Summit held on campus. Last year’s summit was well received by more than 125 attendees.

This year, organizers have broadened the agenda to attract more women and are expecting an increased turnout. Invitations were sent out to several area colleges and universities, and a large group of female students from Appalachian State University is planning to attend. “We are really proud of this summit because it is completely student initiated and funded. It offers great networking opportunities and a chance for women to come together and talk about issues that are important to them,” said steering committee co-chair and Wake Forest senior Allison Crawford.

Workshop topics include women’s empowerment in a male-dominated society, community service, healthy lifestyles, women’s health issues and a “Love Yourself” pampering session.

Workshop speakers include Sandra Miller Jones, chairman and founder of Segmented Marketing Services Inc. in Winston-Salem, presenting “Woman and Images of Beauty in the Media;” Daisy Rodriguez, agency outreach coordinator for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, discussing “How to be Involved in Your Community;” and Rosa Winfree, Lumbee-Cheraw tribal representative for district 16, speaking on maintaining cultural autonomy.

The summit is sponsored by the Wake Forest University Sister’s Inspirational Summit steering committee. It is funded by the student activities fee; student grants, including ones from the Fund for Ethics and Leadership, Pathways, and the Creativity and Innovation Fund; several academic departments and campus organizations; and fundraising activities.

To pre-register, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at 336-758-5864. On-site registration will be held in Benson University Center on the day of the event between 11:30 a.m. and noon.

For more information about the summit, contact Allison Crawford at 336-758-3826 or or Jennifer Chu at 336-758-3826 or

Categories: Community, Events, Speakers