Traciana Graves discussed inclusion, empowerment and being free Wednesday at the University of New Mexico Student Union Building Atrium.

Voted as one of “America’s Most Fearless Women” by Huffington Post, Graves gave examples of heroes and sheroes, including Harriet Tubman, Mahalia Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dave Chappelle and Rosa Parks.

During the event, which was organized by the Associated Students of UNM Student Special Events, Graves gave students advice on the best practices to comfort and navigate through life.

From Tubman’s life, Graves said she learned to “keep going and don’t let anything, anything stop you from being your free full self.”

Jillian Grisel, a graduate student in UNM’s American Studies Department, called the presentation “powerful.”

“She has a motive of inclusion which is something needed today. That’s what brought me here,” Grisel said.

After leaving the event, Grisel said she can take away the idea “that to solve the issues at hand, we should tap into those who are different and we will find answers.”

Graves told students the current era is interesting and emphasized the importance of trusting yourself, thinking deeply and moving past the comfort zone.

“If students really want to see what’s possible, I will invite them to investigate and to listen more,”Graves said.

Charlene Blackledge, a student studying psychology at UNM, said the event helped her learn more about women’s perspectives, which is important to her.

“Intersectionality helps us to better recognize the way life really is,” Blackledge said.

Graves said there is also a need for real sisterhood, meaning reaching past gender, and also embracing women from various ethnic, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.

“We have to connect with women across cultures and across the divides if we are really going to move ourselves forward,”she said.

Ajinkya Patil is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @ajinkyapatil_16.