Established in 1993, the Women of the Color Leadership Network (WOCLN) at Center for Women & Community provides advocacy, mentoring, programming, training and a home for women and nonbinary people of color as well as workshops and events for the general public. WOCLN connects students at UMass and the Five Colleges to one another and to the larger community. WOCLN works independently and in collaboration with many campus and community groups and organizations.
As a program of the Center for Women & Community at UMass Amherst, WOCLN celebrates and supports the accomplishments and endeavors of all self-identified women and nonbinary people of color in the Five College Consortium of Western Massachusetts. Conceptually, the term “person of color” refers to underrepresented identities, such as Black/African American, African, Latina, Caribbean, Latin-American, Chicana, Asian-Pacific Islander, South Asian, Native American/Indigenous, West Asian/North African, including Arab/Arab American, Biracial and Multiracial.
The mission of the WOCLN is to promote the success and wellbeing of women and non-binary people of color in our community.
- Enhance individuals’ sense of belonging through connections to each other and to the larger community.
- Increase leadership capabilities to make a difference in the communities of which students are a part.
- Provide a comfortable and supportive space to foster self-awareness and authentic expression.
- Raise public consciousness around issues of social identities, self-care, and self-expression.
The WOCLN was created through activist efforts of international women to reinstate funds and resources dedicated to supporting and retaining women of color. Originally, the program was named the Women of Color Program (1993-1997).