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Black Women Elect New Leaders

By Alexander J. Finerman, Contributing Writer

About 40 members of the Association for Black Harvard Women (ABHW) gathered Monday night to elect Helen Ogbara ’05 as the next president of the 28-year old organization.

Ogbara and ABHW members said the newly-elected executive board—comprised mostly of first-years—will be charged with increasing the group’s membership and its profile on campus.

The board’s mission is “mainly just to increase the membership base, to get a strong membership base going,” Ogbara said.

“I was really pleased with the number of women who turned up to vote,” said Allana Jackson ’03, the current president of the group, which was founded to promote the interests of black women on campus. “I thought the members showed a lot of investment in the organization.”

Both Jackson and members of the incoming board said that community building and recruitment would be the focus of the group in the coming year.

“Next year I hope we can build community, really foster community of black women on campus,” Jackson said.

Newly elected publicity director Shana Cloud ’06 said she’ll focus on “getting us heard a lot more around campus.”

She also said the ABHW will be “really focusing on the freshmen.”

“They will try adopting freshmen as soon as they set foot on campus,” historian-elect Lisa Gordon ’06 said.

“It’s going to be more of an effort on all of us to make a connection with them, make them feel at home,” she said.

Cloud said that she may even try to move in early this fall to connect with first-years and “get their attention as early as possible.”

“Because the network is there, really and truly the only way that you can get all these freshmen is just face-to-face contact,” Gordon said.

She said that other projects planned for the coming year include making charm necklaces with the ABHW logo to help community building, revamping the organization’s website, and trying to restart the Boston Black Student Network that connects students and student groups across the Boston area.

“We were very encouraged” by the elections, Ogbara said, “and I think the membership was encouraged too.”

Other board members are: Angela A. Smedley ’04, vice president; Nenna N. Nwazota ’06, secretary; Kaego H. Ogbechie ’05, treasurer; Nicole M. Laws ’06, social chair; and Joy A. Cooper ’06, community service chair.

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