Black women at HBCUs are some of the brightest and most talented individuals in this country.
Faced with many societal challenges in a systemically patriarchal and racist society, Black women have still found a way to succeed. They have become the most educated group in the nation.
While the achievements of Black women are undeniable, the struggle to the top remains. A group of HBCU alumni is working to make the pathway easier by creating a culture of connectivity, camaraderie, and collaboration.
Brown Skin Brunchin’ is a social group founded in 2018 for Black and brown women who share a love of brunch and travel and help professional minority women connect and network with one another.
The social group now has more than 70 chapters and aims to create monthly brunches for its members to fellowship together. Three HBCU graduates are ambassadors for Brown Skin Brunchin’ and have been pivotal in building the organization to where it is today.
Kassinda White and Johnyelle Lee are North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University alumni. As ambassadors for Brown Skin Brunchin’, they know how important it is to create an environment that leads to success. An environment that both are familiar with from attending an HBCU.
“There are certain experiences that you can only get at an HBCU,” White said. “HBCUs incorporate Black excellence in the college experience. Opportunities for internships and jobs are presented and highly encouraged at HBCUs because at times, we are left out of conversations in other educational settings. Additionally, attending an HBCU helped to develop me socially, professionally, and academically because the environment around campus promoted that heavily.”
Lee echoed a similar sentiment about the HBCU experience.
“Both environments afforded me numerous opportunities to meet and connect with new people, share business ideas and life goals, and offer safe spaces for thoughtful and sensitive discussions about life,” Lee said.
Yolina Owens, attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and shared the bonds that Brown Skin Brunchin’ creates are crucial when it comes to providing opportunities.
“This bond is uniquely strong because we do not just communicate socially over brunch,” said Owens. “We motivate each other by sharing inspirational thoughts and prayers to encourage one another to push through our personal and professional journeys.”
The need for Black connectivity is paramount in creating Black wealth and advancing Black people into new spaces. Sharing our resources and networks through groups like Brown Skin Brunchin’ can only help propel Black people to the next level.
“Education is very important,” Lee said. “But networking will grant exclusive opportunities that may not be available to others. Don’t be afraid to communicate. Don’t lose yourself in social media. Nothing replaces face-to-face conversations and interactions, particularly with mentors and other influencers.”