Denise Collazo, a social justice activist, led a Zoom panel for Shippensburg University students on Aug. 31. The panel taught students how they can remain healthy and protect their mental wellbeing while they are fighting for change.
Collazo is a social justice leader and mentor to fellow women of color, her website said.
Collazo’s new book, “Thriving in the Fight: A Survival Manual for Latinas on the Front Lines of Change,” will show readers ways to ease the toll of activism on their personal lives, according to Collazo. SU professors joined Collazo for the panel.
Manuel Ruiz, the SU director of diversity, equity and inclusion, Alison Dagnes, a political science professor, and Stephanie Jirard, SU title XI coordinator and diversity officer, joined Collazo on the panel.
50 copies of “Thriving in the Fight” are available for free in Jirard’s office at Old Main 200.
“We’ve all been set up to compete; we get to liberation by building real, deep and loving relationships with people who don’t look like us,” Collazo said.
In the panel, she focused on the promotion of Latinx people, specifically women, to positions of power. Collazo explained that many women like her in the Latinx community have been steered toward supportive, “behind the scenes” roles, which limits their impact and freedom for creativity.
Leading up to the panel, Collazo conducted focus group discussions with Shippensburg University faculty and students.
Collazo laid out the basic steps everyone can take to help women of color:
“Listen to women of color, create space for their leadership and be loyal to them.”