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Weissman Center for Leadership  

Geographies of Color : Education, Inequality, and Black Leadership in the Twenty - First Century
Third Annual Women in Public Life Forum: Black Women in the Media
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On March 6, 2004, The Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts and the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association presented the "Third Annual Women in Public Life Forum."

The forum focused on representation of black women in the media and the ways in which news papers, television and magazines can be used for social change. The College invited three alumnae to speak about their professional work as African-American women in the media. The panelists were Cassandra West '79, Tara Roberts '91, and Angela T. Heath '93. Cassandra West is the editor of the

Cassandra West '79
Women's News section of the Chicago Tribune. West said, "My Mount Holyoke experience helped shape me as a leader… I left here with a set of power tools to get the job done," West noted. She observed that all women journalist need to re-direct their
focus from trivial entertainment to reporting the more essential and meaningful issues that impact our daily lives.

Tara Roberts '91
Tara Roberts is the founder and publisher of Fierce magazine, a publication she describes as multi-cultural and pro-feminist. As a child, Roberts grew up reading fairytales with only white characters.The absence of African-American protagonists left Roberts
questioning why minorities were excluded from books and other forms of media. Roberts came to Mount Holyoke College with a challenge in mind: to make mainstream media more inclusive of all races and cultures. "Mount Holyoke College shaped me as a student. You are in a space where you form your own opinions, shape ideas and have it make sense to you. You get to decide who you are . . . that is the power of Mount Holyoke College," Roberts said.

Angela Terrell Heath ’93
Angela T. Heath, who attented Mount Holyoke for her first years and graduated from Pace University, is a field producer and reporter of the "Nightly Business Reports" for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Heath told the Weissman audience that every person should have a sense of preparation in order to be successful.
Heath has recognized that she faced an adjustment by moving from an all-women's institution to a field of mostly white men. Roberts was well aware she stood out. She stated, "I had a job to do . . . so I fixed my hair, brushed my suit and dived right in." Not allowing racial and gender barriers to stand in her way, made Heath a stronger individual and reporter, she said.

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This page is created by Mallika Aryal '05, Natalia Stefanova '05 and Eleanor S. Choo '06. Last modified on September 22, 2004 .