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Black Girl Processing Space awarded Women of Emory Impact Circle Grant
BGPS Women's History Brunch

The Women of Emory Impact Circle granted $5,000 to Oxford's Black Girl Processing Space for future programming and growth.

Oxford's Black Girl Processing Space (BGPS)—a staff-led initiative designed for black women on campus to support each other personally, professionally, academically—was awarded a $5,000 grant by the Women of Emory Impact Circle to go toward programming for the coming year.

The BGPS was started in 2020 in response to national news, particularly the death of Breonna Taylor. The group is led by Claudia Zanjanchian, Coordinator of Residential Education and Services, and Brittany McDermott, Coordinator of Student Support and Health Education. The organization hosts a number of events each semester that connect Black women students with Black women faculty and staff. Last Fall, BGPS started a mentorship program through which students can find personal and academic support in one-on-one relationships and learn from the stories and experiences of other Black women working in an academic setting.

"It’s really exciting to be recognized for what we’re doing," Zanjanchian said. "It’s great to be able to have funding that we can use and that we were awarded based off Emory seeing a need for it."

The Women of Emory Impact Circle aims to "advance the causes of women and girls" throughout the university. The funds will go to enhance the group's programming, including crossover events with other organizations across Emory. Last year's BGPS events included a visit to the Center for Civil and Human Rights followed by a lunch at Paschal's, a famous black-owned Atlanta restaurant with deep ties to the Civil Rights Movement, as well as a Women's History Brunch that brought Black women alumni back to campus for a panel and awards.

Dean of Campus Life Joe Moon, who wrote a letter of support for the grant, recognized the importance of BGPS to the campus community:

"We are proud to support BGPS as a new resource on campus and are grateful that the Women of Emory Impact Circle is investing in its future," Moon said. "BGPS provides an important opportunity for Black women at Oxford—students, faculty, and staff alike—by offering a wide array of community-building activities and mentorships for students. We hope to see it continue to grow and thrive in the years to come, and this grant will go a long way in doing just that."

Zanjanchian emphasized the significance of having an "intentional space" for Black women on campus.

"Oxford's selling point is the strong, tight-knit community, so I think it's important we are intentional about supporting students, and I think that contributes to overall happiness and satisfaction of the college experience," Zanjanchian said. "It’s been really important that we are creating an intentional space where students can connect and feel valued and celebrated on campus."

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