Summit celebrates all shades of beauty

Organizers were anticipating 150 women would register for Augustana’s inaugural Shades of Beauty Summit. Instead, more than 200 women from Augustana, four nearby colleges and the community came to campus for an afternoon of speakers, workshops and inspiration.

“I wanted to start a summit like this because I know what it is to be a woman of color, and being challenged by the things I see in social media,” said Ashley Allen, assistant director, office of student inclusion and diversity at Augustana. “Here we’re able to come together as women of different backgrounds to be educated, to be empowered and also to celebrate one another regardless of what we all look like.”

Miss Iowa 2018 Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw was the keynote speaker. The event was sponsored by the Augustana offices of Student Inclusion and Diversity as well as Student Life and Leadership.

“Particularly at this time, women of all shapes, sizes and shades need to understand that they have a place not only in the world but at Augustana, a place that they choose to be,” said Dr. Monica M. Smith, Augustana’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Allen said organizers received such a positive response from participants that a second Shades of Beauty Summit already has been scheduled for April 25, 2020, at Augustana.

Shauntrice Gamble '19 and Talayah Lemon '21 created these paintings to display at the Shades of Beauty Summit, and Kristen Higginbothan '20 drew sketches for the event.