Fall Chancellor’s Town Hall at N.C. A&T Scores Big; Topics Hit Home With Young Women

Greensboro, N.C. (Sept. 13, 2017) – Though the fall Chancellor’s Town Hall at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University began at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, anxious students and university community members lined up outside Harrison Auditorium as early as two hours in advance.

The intimate conversation about women’s issues featuring actress and advocate Gabrielle Union, attorney and political strategist Angela Rye and global correspondent Lisa Ling, freely flowed from topics including the good, bad and misinterpretations of social media to the importance of self-worth, love and sisterhood to the emotional, mental and physical toil of rape and violence against women.

Angela Rye, Gabrielle Union

As soon as N.C. A&T alumna, Los Angeles-based television news reporter and the evening’s moderator, Danya Bacchus, introduced the night’s guests the auditorium erupted into applause, cheers and even screams. While each attendee undoubtedly had their favorite panelist, all seemed to be enthusiastic to be in the room and engaged in the dialogue.

Quickly jumping into the roles and effects of social media, it was clear the panelists wanted the audience to know reality is often viewed through a skewed and manipulated lens.

“You can’t compare yourself to someone else’s social media-filtered life,” said Union. “The cars, the houses, the cash, even the flawless look are most times a farce,” she added. And, “no one’s going to Snapchat their breakdown.”

From there, the conversation took many turns, but the town hall never lost the essence of what matters most to women, particularly young women of color.

Describing an incident in which Ling felt discriminated against, her response was to respectfully yet sternly stand her ground and fight for equality and parity.

Lisa Ling, Danya Bacchus

“Women don’t stand up for themselves as they should,” said Ling. “I hope that changes with this generation.”

Bacchus spent Monday afternoon back in the classroom, only this time she was leading the charge. The 2004 graduate returned to the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication to speak to students about the professional world and her experiences.

Also candidly answering students’ questions, she admonished students to understand their value and teach others to understand it as well.

“Know your value and what you can offer that no one else can,” said Bacchus. “Tell 

yourself, ‘I am valuable and I am an asset.’”The sentiment was echoed and expanded by town hall panelists.

Sometimes all it takes is letting another woman know, “I see you and I’m here to lift you up,” said Union.    

And for some visibly moved attendees, that was all they needed to hear.