Meet Natashia L. Leonard and ‘Black Women’s Table Talk’


Fatima Rosales

Black Women’s Table Talk is hosted every Thursday, from 12-2 p.m. in the Pan African Student Resource Center. Graphic by Fatima Rosales.

“There is so much negativity in society, especially towards Black women, I wanted a space where we could support one another,” said Natashia L. Leonard, a CAPS Counselor and creator of Black Women’s Table Talk.

Leonard joined the Counseling and Psychological Services Department (CAPS) at Cal State LA in September 2022. As a counselor, Leonard said that she enjoys engaging with students and building partnerships with a multitude of programs on campus. Her goal is to create an alliance with these programs that will help meet the needs of the students.

Leonard created the Black Women’s Table Talk because she always felt that it was necessary for Black women to have a place to discuss issues of significance in their community and to learn from one another.

This weekly event started on Mar. 16 and will continue until May 4, 2023. This table talk runs from 12:30 p.m. until 2 p.m. every Thursday in the Pan African Student Resource Center in the U-SU building.

Francesca Harper, a graduate student and a marriage and family therapist trainee on campus with CAPS, co-facilitates the Black Women’s Table Talk with Leonard. Both women will be offering ways to “manage stress, boundaries, relationships, self-care,” and more, according to their flyer.

Leonard says that these events aren’t just for Black women students but that Black women faculty members and staff are also welcome to participate.

In order to make the table talks more comfortable, Leonard and Harper bring refreshments to all meetings, such as cookies, juice, water, snack bars, and chips.

Leonard said very few women have shown up yet.

“The group was to originally meet on Thursdays from 12 to 1:30 p.m., but we were asked to adjust the schedule to accommodate students’ schedules,” she said. “We are hoping that participation will pick up in the upcoming weeks.”

Leonard hopes that Black women who participate in these meetings will build connections and relationships with one another and support each other. She eventually wants to have this platform be for Black men and Black women on campus to continue having impactful conversations.