Kenyora Parham is an IGNITE Leader on Fire

Content warning: Sexual assault Kenyora Parham, MSW is the Executive Director of End Rape on Campus. IGNITE has selected Kenyora as a Leader on Fire for Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2021 for her leadership of End Rape on Campus (EROC).  

Prior to joining EROC, she has worked for several organizations and higher-education institutions including Brandeis University, Strong Women, Strong Girls, Simmons University. In 2020, she became the Founder and CEO of C-Suite In Living Color, a community space for BIPOC executives and those who aspire to be. 

EROC works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities; prevention through education; and policy reform at the campus, local, state, and federal levels. EROC envisions a world in which each individual has an educational experience free from violence, and until then, that all survivors are believed, trusted, and supported.

Q&A with Kenyora

What do you want us to know about your story that we can't find on the website or in your bio?

I spend a lot of time in women-centered spaces. Since my participation in Girls Inc, I've always had this sense of purpose in life that centered around women and girls. I was raised by my grandmother, my mom, and my aunt. I went to Simmons University, a woman-centered college, and I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. I know that my purpose is to empower women and girls, and all who are at the intersections of their identities.

I walk in my own truth with the courage to love myself and then others because I believe that I have to start first with myself. Three words guide me: derive, discover, define. I derive from my past, in order for me to discover what's happening in the present, in order to truly define the future for the next generation.

Your field of work, broadly sexual assault prevention/education/support/recovery, is so multifaceted. How/why did you focus on the area central to your organization?

It’s always been important to me to understand how intersectionality plays a role in my life and the communities I work with. All groups can be uplifted simultaneously, especially when it comes to campus sexual assault. I want to give voice and space for those who are coming into their own beings, into their own walks of life. That’s my motivation.

What I’ve taken from moments of racial discrimination, misogyny, my own survivorship is that I have the ability to thrive in spite of these things. I use my power and a reclamation of my sense of self to continue to do great work and be as authentic as possible. I will always progress forward even when I've had other women, particularly white women, subtly or overtly, try to hold me back. 

I've learned in those instances that I'm only going to take the good that I was able to find in them and use that to keep me going. Whoever is on my team and in my community, I am going to make sure I’m creating an environment where they can thrive and excel. I want to hold space for myself and those around me to thrive as their authentic selves.

What is the vision for your future?

My experience and my career definitely helped inform and shape my next stepping stone. I think I'm headed towards a space that focuses on Black, Indigenous, and people of color, particularly those who are aspiring to be executives in the C Suite. But for right now my journey is about focusing on students and survivors, making sure that those who are historically marginalized in this space are being uplifted and their voices are being heard and their unique needs are being met.

What's your self-care plan? What advice do you have for others concerning self-care?

My favorite quote is by Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgent, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” I always, always champion self-care and especially in this space around campus sexual violence. Also, coming into my own understanding of my survivorship, self-care is the absolute most important thing that anyone can do for themselves in order to heal. 

One of the biggest things that I have done for myself, honestly, is incorporating naps! The United States needs to take a page from Spain and incorporate some siestas into the workspace. It's important for us to learn how to take a break from being on all the time and to make time for ourselves where we can either meditate, nap, take a walk… just do something for ourselves that gets away from the noise of it all. 

IGNITE advocates for bills that advance/protect the rights of women, transwomen, and non-binary people. If you wrote a piece of legislation, what big structural change would you hope to tackle for survivors? Or to prevent/end sexual assault? 

If I could write a bill, it would, for one, focus on resources and information so students understand their rights and all that falls under federal legislation, state legislation, local legislation, and campus policy. 

Second, it would be culturally appropriate and sensitive. I want to see a bill that is so culturally holistic and intersectional that it meets the needs of every survivor, regardless of the intersections of their identity. Survivors shouldn’t have to be in fear of their lives, of deportation, of being kicked out of school, or being kicked out of their home. If those things do happen, then there's a resource out there for them that can help them thrive beyond the circumstances they're in. So, if anything, it's just about centering around the margins for survivors in my bill. 

What advice do you have for others who want to be part of the solution in ending all sexual assault?

Put yourself out there. Reach out to folks and to organizations that are in alignment with your values, where you see yourself fitting in the culture of the organization. Slide into those DMs! Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and share what you have to offer. And share why you want to be a part of the work. And don’t hesitate to reach out to EROC. We don't bite.

How can people who care about your work get involved with EROC?

We’re currently working on creating a volunteer program to engage folks with our Campus Accountability Map and Tool. Volunteers will help develop this accountability tool through research and combing through any public data provided by the US Department of Education.  

The Campus Accountability Map and Tool has been underway for the past several years now and we’re also looking for a number of corporate sponsorships and funders to sponsor this tool because it's a huge undertaking and there's a lot of work that needs to be done.

This platform l allows users to view in-depth information on each institution’s sexual assault investigation policies, prevention efforts, and available survivor support resources as well as high-level statistics on definitions, training, sanctions, and investigations. The map also allows users to compare these metrics between schools and gain a better understanding of what policies look like across the nation through a user-friendly interface

What message would you like to send to survivors?

What I want them to see is that they are enough. They are believed. They are seen, they are heard, and that EROC is going to do everything - I am going to do everything - in our power to make sure that their rights are protected. 

They have the right to reclaim their own self-autonomy and survivorship and healing within their journey. Power lies within them and that, if anything, they have a community of folks that they can rely on. They are not alone in this world and they're not alone in this space. If they ever need support, they can always reach out to EROC.

Let's pay it forward - what are two or three other people/organizations working in this space that you admire and would recommend? 

Is there anything else you want us to know and include in our Leaders on Fire profile?

I’m honored to be honored and honored to share the space with the other Leaders on Fire. I look forward to continuing in this space and doing right by survivors and making sure that their rights are protected and that they are seen, heard, and believed. 

Resources from EROC

Where to find Kenyora

Where to find EROC

More about Kenyora

Kenyora is the Executive Director of End Rape on Campus. Most recently, Kenyora served as EROC’s Chief of Staff. Stemming from Lynn, MA, Kenyora has over a decade of experience working with youth, families, and community leaders in the nonprofit sector. In 2016, Kenyora was recognized as a finalist for the EXTRAordinary Women campaign led by the Office of Women's of Advancement, a department within the Mayor's Office of the City of Boston. Prior to joining EROC, she has worked for several organizations and higher-education institutions including Brandeis University, Strong Women, Strong Girls, Simmons University. In 2020, she became the Founder and CEO of C-Suite In Living Color, a community space for BIPOC executives and those who aspire to be. 

Currently, Kenyora serves as the President of the African-American Alumnae/i Association at her undergraduate alma mater, Simmons University, where she received her degree in Public Health. Additionally, she served on the Alumni Association Board at Boston University’s School of Social Work, where she received her Master’s Degree. Kenyora also holds a Certificate in Community Leadership and Social Change from the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University through the Community Fellow Program (CFP) of the Institute for Nonprofit Practice, where she currently serves as a founding CFP ambassador. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her husband Franklin and their two cats, Leo and King.


If you are in immediate need of support, call the National Sexual Assault Helpline. 

They accept phone calls 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-4673.

A comprehensive list of services and resources is available at

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