Celebrating Women of Color in the Class of 2021
When the University of Portland was first established in 1901, its student body was entirely white men. In 1951, the UP opened its programs to women for the first time. Now, 70 years later, women make up 61.5% of UP’s undergraduate student body and 46.1% of undergraduate students identify as nonwhite.
Despite UP being a predominantly white institution, students of color have found pockets to flourish in and build community. Cultural clubs and Diversity and Inclusion Programming provide invaluable opportunities for students of all backgrounds to celebrate their identities, and uplift diverse perspectives and experiences within the UP community.
Within the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought countless hardships and heartaches, especially for people of color, with minority communities devastated by the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter protests and the increasing hate crimes against Asian Americans. For students, the pandemic has also meant a far from ideal senior year for the graduating class of 2021.
Molly and I have been photographers for The Beacon for the last three years. We've teamed up for projects before, like our podcast 'What on Earth?', but as the pandemic derailed our senior year we knew we wanted to do something special for fellow members of our graduating class.
We were inspired by this New York Times, who featured portraits of the women of the 116th Congress and Kamala Harris, the U.S.’s first woman of color Vice President, to find a way to celebrate graduating senior women of color and all they’ve done in their time at UP. We wanted to acknowledge their unique experiences and identities as well as their accomplishments and their growth during their time on The Bluff.
Joy Macalanda (she/her/hers)