CNN Commentator Angela Rye Gives Africana Women’s Week Keynote


Jessica Argento, Maroon-News Staff

CNN political commentator Angela Rye gave the keynote address on “Resistance in the Form of Healing” for Sisters of the Round Table’s (SORT) annual Africana Women’s Week (AWW) series Tuesday, March 3. Rye also works as an attorney and the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, a political advocacy firm in Washington, D.C., and has served as the Executive Director and Gender Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress.

Rye talked about the principles that motivated her work, including equity, authenticity, love, power and freedom.

“[There is equity in] being able to gain access to the things we deserve, and ensuring that I’m building a legacy… something that my community can stand on, not just myself. Quoting Martin Luther King’s ‘Where Do We Go From Here’, the ability to choose purpose is about embodying strength that allows people to live their best lives, and I am so hungry to be on a journey that will show people what freedom should look like,” Rye said. 

Rye also emphasized the importance of resistance as a black woman. 

“Fighting to prove your worth, fighting to prove you belong, fighting to show your experience is as valuable as theirs, if not, more so. It is important for black women to reject and dismantle martyrdom ideology that sacrifices our interests to serve the greater good where we are not seen and we are not heard,” Rye said. 

Yapp explained why SORT chose to conclude AWW with Rye as the keynote speaker.

“We thought that Angela would be a wonderful representation of that just seeing her track record on CNN and how she is an activist and I’m pretty sure she has her own non-profit organization which is really cool as well so we thought that it would be a positive ending to AWW and also serve as an antithesis to the recent negative events that have happened on campus,” Yapp said. 

SORT co-chairwoman and junior Haley Taylor said that Rye’s speech could help improve SORT as a more inclusive, diverse organization going forward.

“Having Angela Rye come was the perfect ending. I was really grateful to hear from a black woman how she navigates white, male spaces and manages to take care of herself, not compromise the work she’s doing, and open doors for people to follow her. That seemed to be one of the most important points for her, creating access for others. It got me thinking about what kind of space SORT is and how we can continue to involve more and more people to strengthen our community,” Taylor said. 

Yapp detailed the variety of events celebrating Africana Women’s Week, which concluded with Rye’s keynote address.

“We started off with a family dinner and then we had a workshop where we made different hair products, face masks and just had a really chill vibe. And then we had a poet come in by the name Staceyann Chin, also an artistry workshop, we co-sponsored the Waka Flocka concert, we had the wrap up party after that concert Saturday night and that was more of our official event and finally this is our event, the keynote address,” Yapp said.

Taylor elaborated on some of the events and guests, including DJ Diamond Kutz who came for the afterparty and Qiara Capellan who came for an art workshop.

“[The art workshop] went well and got people to know each other a little more closely which is honestly always our main goal,” Taylor said.

Junior Jodi Greenidge, who is a member of both SORT and Colgate’s Black Student Union (BSU), commented on the environment of support and empowerment that SORT seeks to create.

“[It is] cool for me to be around a community that gets some of our struggles but it’s also just about hanging out, which is helpful,” Greenidge said.