Kyra Harris-Bolden speaks at annual Equalitea event


GVL / Bethann Long

Melia Williams, Staff Writer

March is Women’s History Month, and at Grand Valley State University the Center for Women and Gender Equity (CWGE) hosted its annual Equalitea event in recognition. Each year, the CWGE invites an influential woman to share their story, inspire and encourage others. 

Students, faculty and staff, along with members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., came together to hear from keynote speaker Kyra Harris-Bolden, Michigan Supreme Court Justice and GVSU alum. GVSU President Philomena Mantella introduced the events and Harris-Bolden. 

As the first African American woman on Michigan’s Supreme Court, she focuses her work primarily around criminal justice reform and legislation to protect survivors of sexual violence. She explained how she initially lost her run for Michigan Supreme Court, something that opened up “a whole new door” for her. 

“I lost that election by 2% but gained 1.3 million votes across the state of Michigan,” Harris-Bolden said. “Had I not run, I would not have been in the position to be appointed.”

Bolden received her nomination for the Supreme Court six days after giving birth to her daughter. She showcased her determination and resilience. 

“My failure became a stepping stone to my success,” Harris-Bolden said. 

Bolden made it clear that she wants to make a positive impact both for her daughter and people everywhere. 

“Justice centers my being, and making sure my daughter grows up in a world community, a Michigan that is equitable, that is diverse, that is inclusive, so that she knows that she can be anything she wants to be,” Harris-Bolden said. “Sometimes failure is setting you up for your next success, trust your gut and keep striving because anything is possible.” 

The CWGE director Jessica Jennrich said that Harris-Bolden is a great role model for the GVSU community. 

“She’s someone who’s really dedicated to her life’s work, to issues of gender,” Jennrich said. “She gets to folks who are interested in how they can have an impact – hearing from someone who’s actually doing it is really exciting.”