CSU Bakersfield hosted its 13th annual Gender Matters Symposium on Thursday, March 25 virtually and focused on the women of America this year. The symposium featured educator, Tracey Salisbury, and journalist, Tiffany Cross. Women who attend/attended CSUB also got a chance to share their stories at the virtual meeting.
Cross is Co-Founder of The Beat DC, a platform for people of color and political discussions, and a graduate from Clark Atlanta University where she studied Mass Communications. She also appears on news channels like CNN where she poses questions for the journalists and gives her critique on political issues. Cross is an author, activist, political analyst and known across many television channels.
Cross discussed issues that women in America, especially women of color, face in everyday society and in the workplace during the symposium.
Like many women of color across America, Cross had to work her way up to where she is now. She took the time to tell a story in which she faced inequality in the workplace that she included in her book Say It Louder! Early on in her career she was a producer on a show with Wolf Blitzer and had a reading session in the newsroom. A young white girl asked for permission to come in a little later that day because she was having a birthday party.
Permission was happily granted to her and Cross was left in awe at the idea that that was even an option. She would occasionally run late for work in the mornings and asked if that could be excused on Sundays. It was harder for her to be at work on time considering the long distance between her home and her workplace, and it cost her extra to arrive on time those days.
Keeping in mind the situation with the young white girl, Cross asked if she could have a chance to come in a little later that day. Lucy Spiegel, a former executive producer at CNN, went on to tell her how unprofessional it was to ask such a question and threw a crumbled twenty-dollar bill at her. “I’m dropping names, I don’t ever drop names,” said Tiffany Cross during the meeting. She included that the experience left her feeling humiliated, alone, unseen and unwelcome.
Experiences like those are the reason why she has the discussions that she does on The Beat DC and with other journalists across different platforms. She went on to discuss how the topics of her conversations have many times left those around her feeling uncomfortable. Discussion of injustice and inequality made them feel uncomfortable. Cross would simply respond with, “I’m comfortable making you uncomfortable because this is the conversation we need to have.”
Cross encouraged women of color to have a mentor or someone they can rely on during their process of getting to their desired career. She recommends going with older and experienced women because they can give helpful advice and have been through the same things. In her 20s, Cross counted on a group of women in their 40s who worked in television as well. “We jokingly called ourselves at the time ‘the cougars and the kitten.”