NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Political commentator and analyst Angela Rye served as the special guest for this year’s Women of Legend and Merit Awards Dinner at Tennessee State University, as part of the TSU Women’s Center’s effort to celebrate Women’s History Month.
Rye, who offers regular on-air commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, MSNBC, and TV One, spoke briefly from the podium and then participated in a seated interview-style presentation. She answered questions from various attendees, including TSU President Glenda Glover and addressed several issues, such as affirmative action, the legitimacy of legacy admissions and the need for a black agenda.
“I want to help establish what a black agenda should look like, not just for 2020, but ongoing,” Rye said. “Do you all know that before the Emancipation Proclamation, every year black folks met to talk about our political agenda? The last time we did that collectively, where there was a lot of attention drawn to it, was in 1972 in Gary, Indiana.”
During a light-hearted moment towards the end of the conversation, Glover suggested a petition be started for Rye to run for president. She encouraged the audience with the chant, “Run! Angie Run! Run! Angie Run!”
“You want me to run right out that door,” Rye jokingly replied.
Seanne Wilson, chairperson of the event, which took place in Kean Hall Auditorium, said the annual awards dinner raises money for student scholarships and highlights the careers of women she hopes her students will emulate.
“As we know, this is the year of the woman, and women are being more vocal, and we are owning who we are. It’s very important with us attempting to educate these young ladies, that they are aware of opportunities and not afraid to speak out and to speak up for their rights,” said Wilson, who serves as coordinator of the TSU Women’s Center.
According to Wilson, the center is a “safe zone” for women at TSU who experience issues such as fear, anxiety and depression, as well as domestic violence, homelessness and the lack of food.
Lyric Carter, a freshman civil engineering major who serves as a work-study student for the Women’s Center, said she was inspired by Rye’s comments.
” If we don’t speak for us, who is going speak for us,” Carter said.
Vivian Wilhoite, Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County property accessor and a former Women of Legend and Merit honoree, said the event is important because it celebrates the women.
“We do not do enough to recognize women in the various areas of the world, whether it be in business or leadership or government or strong women committed to different topics and issues,” she said. “I really think there are so many women doing so many different things, and we really cannot do enough to honor them.”
Several women where honored during this year’s event including: Veronica Marable Johnson, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce New Member Representative; Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU interim dean of the Graduate School; Karen Johnson, Davidson County Register of Deeds; Attorney Cynthia Fitzgerald; Attorney Joy Kimbrough; Dr. Judy Cummings, Pastor of New Covenant Christian Church; and Zaya Mouto, a sophomore Business Administration major who received the “Rising Star” Award.
For more information about how to support the TSU Women’s Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/womenscenter/