In her senior year at the University of Denver, ‘12 CA alum Brooklyn Batey is sure to leave behind a lasting legacy. “I want young black women to feel a sense of empowerment,” she says. “Then I want them to take that back to their communities, schools and churches, and have an impact there.”
To do that, Batey recently organized a new summit at DU for young African American women. The summit, “Black Women Lead, Empower, Aspire and Dedicate” (BW-LEAD), brought 40 females in Ninth through Twelfth Grades from the Denver area to DU’s campus for a day of leadership and empowerment workshops.
The event was modeled after one held at DU for the past seven years: the Black Male Initiative Summit, which provides African-American students with an opportunity to engage in leadership and academic workshops.
“I realized there was nothing for young women,” says Batey. “So I got to work contacting people with the idea of hosting a summit.”
The summit was made up of workshops presented by undergraduate and graduate women in the DU community, as well as faculty members. Each presenter spoke on a variety of topics, with one common goal: “leadership, empowerment, aspiration, and dedication.” The seven-hour summit concluded with a “mocktail hour,” where African-American professionals from around Denver came to network with attendees in order to create mentorships.
“I want young black women to feel a sense of empowerment.”
The result? Batey hopes that empowering young African-American women will lead to more diversity as they spread their message in their communities. In fact, studies published in a recent article in Scientific American, “How Diversity Makes Us Smarter,” show that while diversity of skill is an obvious benefit to companies, diversity of gender and ethnicity creates more creativity and profitability.
According to CA senior Paige Clay, who also attended BW-LEAD: “It is very important that people know what diversity is and how it can help change the world in a good way.” Batey herself is no stranger to changing the world in a good way through hard work and leadership. During her time at CA, she was the captain of the Girls Varsity Lacrosse team, all while maintaining a Malone Scholarship. The scholarship is given to gifted students with financial need, who are in the top five percent of their class. As a member of CA’s Faces of Diversity club, which seeks to create a safe, inclusive, and empathetic community through discussion and programming, Batey also engaged in leadership workshops.
“I was able to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Conference” (a multiracial, multicultural gathering of student leaders), she says. “It was such an amazing experience. I kind of got some of the ideas for the sessions for BW-LEAD from the activities I participated in while there.”
Batey credits her time at CA for helping her in other ways, specifically on learning how to work with others. When she helped organize Diversity Day, now called PlatFORUM, an annual workshop that provides language and tools to engage in conversations around social justice, equity, and access, she learned how to lean in to difficult conversations.
“(PlatFORUM) helped me to engage in tough topics that might not have happened otherwise at CA. It helped me learn so much about inclusivity and diversity and helped me to get to know different people when I got to college.“
A defender on DU’s women’s lacrosse team, Batey also majors in psychology, with a minor in socio-legal studies. Her future plans include pursuing a Masters in Education and beginning work as a Middle School teacher at Strive Preparatory school in the fall, where she hopes to inspire young African-American students like Clay to lead and empower others.
“I also want to be able to give what I’ve learned to help lead others,” says Clay. “I want my future to revolve around helping others and changing the world.”