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HCC President Christina Royal Featured in ‘HERstory’ Exhibition

BOSTON — Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal is among the Massachusetts women featured in a photo exhibition and story project in the State House unveiled last month by Senate President Karen Spilka.

The photo exhibition on display in the Senate president’s office suite celebrates the often-unsung stories of women of color throughout Massachusetts’ history. “HERstory: Volume II” is the second installment of photos in the president’s suite to acknowledge the accomplishments of women with connections to Massachusetts.

“Every day I go to work in the State House, I am surrounded by paintings and photos of prominent men from Massachusetts’ history,” said Spilka, the third woman elected president of the Massachusetts State Senate. “The stories of the many, many incredible women who have contributed to this great Commonwealth — and our great nation — have too often been lost to history. It is therefore my great honor and privilege to help to tell their stories, and to make the faces that we see in the State House more representative of the rich diversity that make our state great.”

The exhibition features the photos of 91 women, ranging from 17th-century tribal leader Weetamoo and black landowner Zipporah Potter Atkins to living pioneers Justice Fernande Duffly, the first Asian-American to serve on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court; Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter; and poet Amanda Gordon.

In 2017, Royal became HCC’s fourth president and the first woman to hold the position.

“I want to thank Senate President Spilka for creating the HERstory initiative,” Royal said. “This is a time for us to recognize that the lived experiences of women in the Commonwealth matter, and that we are a diverse group of women of different races, ethnicities, social classes, abilities, educational levels, gender expressions, and sexual orientations. I am proud to share my story as a multi-racial, queer woman so that girls and young women can see representation of themselves in society, and grow up believing in their limitless potential.”

Since the State House is currently closed to the public, a website containing photos and short biographies of each of the honorees can be found at malegislature.gov/statehouse/herstory.

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