The Women of Color Conference is a collaboration between four youth-led organizations (Afro Puff Chronicles, Dear Asian Youth, Zenerations, and Diversify Our Narrative) whose vision was to bring together BIPOC women in 2021. Next GenerAsian had the opportunity to talk with the founders of these organizations to discuss the story behind the conference and their vision. The founders are all passionate about racial justice and BIPOC representation and hope that the WOCC will empower and remind women of the power of community.
Meet the Founders
Founder of Afro Puff Chronicles
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Founder of Dear Asian Youth
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Founder of Zenerations
Co-founders of Diversify Our Narrative
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What inspired you to start your organization?
Tyler: Afro Puff Chronicles was founded in 2018, and was inspired by my journey at my predominantly white high school. As an African-American girl attending a white institution, standing out was inevitable. I never truly felt like I fit into the environment around me, and thus I created my own community through Afro Puff Chronicles. Art and writing were modes of expression that I turned to to share my unique perspective with the world unapologetically. Through Afro Puff Chronicles, I wanted other artists, writers, content creators, or just teens with a story to be able to share their truths and forge a community for healing and radical sisterhood.
Stephanie: For me, it was never really supposed to be an organization! At first, it was just supposed to be a platform where I can publish my own poetry. After realizing that most of my writing surrounded the Asian American identity, I had some of my friends contribute their pieces. From there, it transformed into a blog of sorts, then a literary magazine, and finally, a full-fledged organization! Throughout this entire process, the thing that kept me motivated to keep working towards making Dear Asian Youth better and more expansive was knowing that I never really knew of a safe space for Asian youth, and I wanted to provide that for other people who may be struggling with their identity.
Sophia: During the first month of quarantine, I was detached from reality and had the opportunity to delve into creative hobbies I used to engage in in the past. I noticed that I was most passionate about writing, and in doing so more during quarantine, I was able to connect with my most authentic self. There was this duality, however – though I rediscovered a passion of mine, I also felt out of touch with people and had little to no social interaction. I wanted other teens like me, who were likely suffering from boredom, to have a creative outlet for writing, art, poetry, and more. Thus, Zenerations was born – a media platform to share Gen Z personal stories and experiences, and soon we grew to cover current events and bring in youth perspectives on societal issues!
Jasmine: Katelin and I were inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and wanted to combine our knowledge in our respective fields. As a CSRE major, I was interested in working with marginalized communities and social justice. Katelin has always been interested in education and policy. We had learned so much regarding race in college, and yet never in high school. One night, we were Facetiming about it, and realized that we could make change in our public-school systems by fighting for racial justice through grassroots educational reform.
What issues are you most passionate about?
Tyler: The issues that capture my heart include BIPOC representation in media, film, literature, and general societal narratives. I love the concept of combatting society’s stereotypes of Black and brown people through rewriting the narrative (the mission of Afro Puff Chronicles). I’m also passionate about Black joy, Black mental & physical health, and women’s equality.
Stephanie: Racial justice, equal education, representation of marginilized communities, women’s rights and an inclusivity in the feminist movement
Sophia: Climate change, BIPOC representation and inclusion, racial justice and equity, gun violence, mental health
Jasmine: Racial justice, the development of Southeast Asian communities, climate change, and immigration!
How did this partnership between different organizations start?
Tyler: During the beginning of the summer of 2020, I was searching for a way to connect with other female founders of organizations. As a result I ended up making an Instagram groupchat called the “Gen Z Founders Group Chat”. Through this forum, me and around 20 other founders (including the founders of all the groups currently involved in the WOCC) were able to share advice and ideas, eventually brainstorming the concept for the Women of Color Conference. We wanted to bring together women of color from around the world to foster intercontinental discourse on sisterhood, community, and career opportunities. It is our hope that we achieve this goal and more!
Stephanie: I’ve spoken with Tyler (founder of Afro Puff Chronicles), Sophia (founder of Zenerations), and Katelin and Jasmine (founders of Diversify Our Narrative) before, and have always been in awe of every single one of them. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on a meaningful project with women of color who inspire me everyday to empower other girls of color!
Sophia: Our organization had collaborated with Dear Asian Youth previously and our launch was inspired by Afro Puff Chronicles, so it only felt right to begin developing the WOC Conference with these brilliant, wonderful student led orgs – especially since all of our founders were Women of Color. Zenerations had always looked up to Diversify Our Narrative’s incredible work in racial justice and education, so when we found out they were joining us we were thrilled!
Jasmine: We absolutely loved the Women of Color Conference idea and reached out to DAY, Afro Puff Chronicles, and Zenerations to allow us into their partnership. We held a meeting and agreed we had similar visions and goals, and then officially partnered up!
How did you come up with the idea of the Women of Color Conference?
Tyler: The idea for the Women of Color Conference was really a result of all 4 of our organizations’ visions for BIPOC women in 2021 coming together. After the unprecedented events of 2020, we saw how important it was for young girls of color to be able to connect and lean on one another. We wanted to empower girls to harness their voice and become the change in their respective communities, while boldly stepping into careers where WOC were historically underrepresented. We want them to know that they were powerful, and could achieve greatness not despite their circumstances but because of them. 2021 is here and #ItsOurYear. It’s the year of the Black and brown girl and through the WOCC’s panels, workshops, and grants, we are providing girls of color the tools to make this claim so.
Stephanie: I knew that the Women of Color Conference would be the perfect theme, because as a girl of color, this is a conference that I would attend! I want to give other WOC like myself the opportunity to hear firsthand from the inspirational women who paved the way for the rest of us!
Sophia: We were motivated by the idea of helping young Women of Color embark on their career paths to be the next leaders of tomorrow, and inspire them to continue to take up space in fields typically dominated by white men, such as STEM, Politics, Business, and Film.
Jasmine: We incorporated some ideas of solidarity, grassroots action, and community based solutions, but the original premise was all DAY, Afro Puff Chronicles, and Zenerations!
What do you hope WOC will take away from this conference?
Tyler: At the end of the two days, it is my hope that girls walk away from the Women of Color Conference with a renewed sense of confidence, not only in themselves, but in the greatness that can be achieved when we work together. So often in society, we draw divisions. We come up with more reasons for why we can’t support one another, than why we can. I hope this event reminds girls of the unparalleled power of community, and how at the end of the day there are more similarities between us than differences.
Stephanie: I hope that WOC will feel empowered and equipped with the proper materials to take on the world and explore their dreams. With a mentorship program from established WOC and mini grants to fund the ventures of girls of color, I’m confident that our conference will have a lasting impact beyond the two-day panels!
Sophia: I hope Women of Color are empowered to achieve their dreams and shoot for the stars through this Conference, and that they feel more confident than ever that women of color can be just as brilliant, successful, and changemaking as anyone else.
Jasmine: That there is a community of WOC there to support them and that their experiences deserve to be centered and learned from.
About the Women of Color Conference
The Women of Color Conference is a 2-day virtual conference on March 20th-21st, 2021, uniting women from around the world through career panels, workshops, and grants.
The Women of Color Conference is a collaborative event hosted by four prominent youth-led organizations, AfroPuff Chronicles, Dear Asian Youth, Zenerations, and Diversify Your Narrative, who have a combined social media following of over 315k. Conference partners include Boba Guys, the Takko App, and Irvine Lights, among others. With panels from WOC in Politics to WOC in Music, the WOCC aims to inspire young women to be the change in their communities and empower them to boldly pursue their career aspirations.
Follow the Women of Color Conference at…
LinkedIn: Women of Color Conference
REGISTER FOR THE WOMEN OF COLOR CONFERENCE: www.crowdcast.io/e/iz1j6x4t/1
If you’re interested in attending the conference, head to the website and subscribe to the newsletter for more info!
If you are interested in partnering with the WOCC as either a sponsor, endorser, affiliate, ambassador or small business partner, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Interviewed by Irina Zheng