Fourth annual EMpowerment Conference focuses on value, time and purpose


Chania Crawford

Epsilon Mu sorors with keynote speaker Carla Jackson (bottom middle).

Blake Serrano, Reporter

In the midst of a Sunday afternoon snow, facilitation was at the forefront of the fourth annual EMpowerment Conference in the Kent State Ballroom.

The conference was hosted by the Epsilon Mu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. Delta Sigma Theta Inc. is an African American sorority that was established at Kent State University on May 13, 1964. Epsilon Mu was the first National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority at Kent State University.

The conference featured a keynote address by Carla Jackson, Emmanuel Christian Academy administrator and Akron Public School Board member.

Jackson’s primary message focused on the value of time and the power of purpose.

Keynote speaker Carla Jackson gives address to attendees at the EMpowerment Conference. (Chania Crawford)

“Nothing is by coincidence or chance,” Jackson said. “Your pain will propel you to your purpose. Every moment is necessary, time is our most valuable currency.”

Jackson also urged attendees to activate the power within themselves in order to properly operate within their present.

“You can take these tools and allow them to activate in your soul so that you can reach your godly destiny and purpose,” Jackson said.

The conference also featured two workshops focused on advocacy and male and female empowerment.

The advocacy workshop was led by Renee Romine, executive director of Training & Development and Human Resource Communications. The decision-making workshop was led by Sonya Williams, the executive director for University Outreach and Engagement for the Office of the Provost.

Aimèe Flores, president of the Spanish and Latino Student Association, was invited by a sister of Epsilon Mu to attend the conference.

“The advocacy workshop informed me that it is important to uplift the voices of people who may be spoken over or not heard,” Flores said.

Flores also participated in the empowerment workshop, which emphasized the importance of being a sister for others. Flores learned that a good sister will help you recharge and put yourself first, especially during times of stress.

Other attendees included members from Ohio Delta Sigma Theta Inc. chapters, as well as current members of the Epsilon Mu Chapter.

Attendees participate in the advocacy workshop led by Renee Romine. (Chania Crawford)

Jameka Wilson, the director of One Stop Student Services, crossed Delta Sigma Theta at Kent State in 2001. She attended the conference to mingle with other sorors and gain insight about the power of being in the present.

“As a woman of color working at a predominantly white institution, I hope that will allow me to share insights and takeaways about this topic,” Wilson said.

Benita Bennett, state youth director for the Night Missionary State Convention, became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. in 1987 while attending Ohio University.

“I hope that after this conference I can understand how to share my wealth of experience and ministry with anyone who may empower our community,” Bennett said.

Ariana Bliss, vice president of Epsilon Mu, hopes that attendees leave the event feeling empowered and to use that ability to empower others.

This was the first year the conference incorporated workshops and emphasized the hard work all members of Epsilon Mu put into this conference, Bliss said.

“Preparation for this event was definitely a team effort,” Bliss said. “Members of our chapter from years prior helped with decorations, and advisors assisted us with setting deadlines.”

Bliss is excited to see what next year’s conference has to offer. She said that it will be something to look forward to and that it will change and evolve every year.

Along with Bliss, Flores is excited for the new experiences brought by this conference.

“I think it’s essential to really come together as a community in solidarity with Black and brown communities,” Flores said.

Blake Serrano is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].