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At Moloney Hall on Feb. 7, women and men alike came together to celebrate women’s empowerment through musical performances.
The Women’s Empowerment Evening, presented by UMass Lowell all-female acapella group The Hawkettes, was meant to bring students together and show what the campus and organizations sponsoring the event could do for women of all backgrounds.
Other groups involved in the event included F.R.E.E., S.I.S.T.E.R.S., Alpha Sigma Tau, WUML and Kappa Delta Phi NAS.
Papers on tables around the room asked questions about feminism, inviting guests to write answers. The Evening asked guests to share which woman empowered them, what feminism meant to them, what they did to empower women and what kind of future they saw for women.
Answers showed a population of students eager to see a future where women were free to be accepted for their body shape, race and sexual orientation. They wished for a woman president, gender equality in Congress and equal pay.
They were inspired by women such as actress Gina Rodriguez, former First Lady Michelle Obama, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson.
The attendees also concluded that feminism meant standing up for women and giving girls the choice to live as they pleased.
The night reinforced those principles and desires through guest involvement and rousing covers of empowering songs sung by iconic women artists across several eras.
Hawkettes member and manager Lauren Azevedo said that the Hawkettes hope that the event becomes an annual affair and offered a suggestion jar for future performances.
The event featured performances from the Hawkettes, fellow acapella group Fermata Nowhere, local musician Megan Kelly, Camille Gagnon-Fors and Ben Silverstein.
The Grammy Award-winning host Mary Lambert provided introductions to the musical numbers as well as an emotional performance of her own at the end of the event.
A theme that prevailed throughout the evening was strength and empowerment from music, and Lambert said that she considered music to be a uniting power.
“I think right now we have to remember that music is a form of survival for a lot of us; it’s a form of resistance for a lot of us,” said Lambert in her introduction.
The musical groups sang songs from inspiring female artists such as Janelle Monáe, Gloria Gaynor and Aretha Franklin that centered around independence, survival, and strength.
Lambert provided the closing performance, just under 45 minutes that spoke about body image, mental illness and sexuality, issues tantamount to intersectional feminism today.
In a mix of spoken word performance and song, Lambert moved the audience to laughter and tears, sometimes accomplishing both at the same time.
In her introduction, Lambert called herself a “walking trigger warning,” explaining that she talks about emotionally difficult topics “because they’re hard to talk about.”
Lambert felt that the night worked as a tool to foster community togetherness and empowerment. “Everyone feels so connected,” she said.
She then invited the audience to join her in singing her hit song “Secrets,” using her warmth and natural charisma to whirl the crowd into giddy camaraderie.
The final words of the evening were sung by Lambert and the crowd, chanting “love is patient, love is kind” through smiles and some streaming eyes.