Skip to Content

DU Alumnae Create BW LEAD

Back to Article Listing


Jeff Haessler

University hosts second annual summit during Black History Month

Feature  •
Alumni  •

It’s a Friday morning, and the Colorado Women’s College is buzzing with energy. More than 80 young women are there to attend the second annual Black Women Lead Empower Aspire and Dedicate Summit, or BW LEAD.

“It’s a daylong summit where we bring in black women from all across Denver high schools to DU’s campus and engage in a variety of activities and sessions about what it means to be a black woman and what it means to be a leader,” says DU alumna Brooklyn Batey (BA ’16). She is one of the founders of BW LEAD and says attendance has doubled from the inaugural year.

“I think a lot of young girls realize that they did not have an opportunity to be in a space with other black women to talk about their shared experiences,” Batey says. “I think it (the increase in attendance) says a lot about what our girls want and what our girls need to really achieve their goals in high school, college and through their careers.”

Tessa Carrethers, a junior from Vista Peak High School, says she’s excited to be able to attend BW LEAD. “I think it’s a very helpful program for young women like myself. I think it really helps them find themselves and actually find a way to feel comfortable fitting in.”

“I learned to really embrace who I am and accept who I am,” says Iyana Davis, a junior from Denver East High School. “Being a woman in this society, a lot of people doubt us. We just have to learn to be stronger.”

Programs like BW LEAD embody the aspirations outlined in DU IMPACT 2025, the University’s strategic plan, which calls for engagement with the local community and partnering with local school districts.

“What I love about this whole entire program is we try to get the message across of just being your authentic self. It’s different for everyone, and I think that builds the community, when you open up the space for everyone to be authentic in their true selves,” says Makida Yilma (BSBA ’16), another founder of BW LEAD.

In addition to being the founders of BW LEAD, Yilma and Batey are busy with their new jobs since graduating from DU. Yilma works at Arrow Electronics, and Batey teaches at Strive Prep Middle School in Green Valley Ranch.