Take Back the Night (TBTN) is an event that serves to cultivate safe communities that are supportive of sexual assault survivors and enhances awareness about sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence. We live in a culture that promotes sexual violence, blames and/or fails to support sexual assault survivors, and encourages silence on these issues. Acts of sexual and domestic violence happen everywhere, and UMBC is no exception. Thus, we wanted our own community to be a place where we take a clear stand against violence and where we support the members of our community who are dealing with these issues. Together with University Health Services and the Office of Greek Life, the Women’s Center hosted this amazing event.
My activist project for Spring 2013 was to apart of a larger project (The Vagina Monologues), after spending sometime watching the monologues on line I realized that a lot of them were centered around this idea of self awareness, confidence, and acceptance. With this in mind I started to think about how many woman actually thought of themselves as being amazing and what there reasons were. I did some online research and come across a few articles and blogs that talked about how woman didn’t think they were smart, funny, beautiful, essentially didn’t believe in themselves. I was shocked and saddened by this mostly because I have a lot of female friends and I never tell them that i appreciate how amazing they are even though I think they are all amazing in there own respect. So I decided to approach some women and ask them “why are you amazing?” just to get a conversation started, it was shocking at how many of them couldnt not come up with an answer even though I knew them personally and I could list of many reasons why they were amazing. This turned into me carrying around a dry erase board and asking them to write it down and take there pictures to create a short film using the pictures. One of the main issues I had with this project was having the courage to walk to strangers and ask them these question, another problem was that I didnt give myself enough time to gather the pictures. I originally thought this was going to take about a week, but after talking to some of the girls for more than 10 minutes about themselves I realized this kind of project is actaully very time consuming. I would like to turn this type of video into different projects asking different question to different groups of people (lgbt, people of color, mothers etc).
Here is a link to my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjFYfzoqhuI&feature=youtu.be
I’m the one to usually jump at any opportunity that is presented to me. I have a bit of a problem saying no or restraining myself. When I attended one of my first WILL meetings in September of 2012, one of the co-leaders asked the group if any of us wanted to head UMBC’s first Women’s Health Expo. Without thinking about it, I said yes and thus began my activism.
To me, activism means making people aware of a certain topic or problem. Personally, I don’t care enough about my body and health as I should. I don’t think I know enough about my body and health either. If I don’t care or know, then I don’t doubt that there are some people out there who face the same problem I do. I found an event like this ideal to learn more about myself as well as what I can do to better my body or what I can pay more attention to.
Here is a DIY guide on how you can host your own Women’s Health Expo:
Narrative of account
For our project we decided that we’d find a way to inform other people on what feminism and activism were since before this gender women’s studies class we ourselves barely knew anything on the subject. In order to do this we created a blog that was aimed to get the word out about Feminism and activism to the people that were just like us. Instead of starting big, we decided to start simple and get the word out to people in the athletic community, other students who had never taken a gender women’s studies class before, and other people that we knew were misguided on the meaning of feminism. We thought that since people our age are good with social media we should create a blog so that it was easy to relate it to them. We wrote blog posts on what the stereotypes of feminism is, we included a youtube clip of Lady Gaga talking about the subject, and many more. We told people about our blog as well Continue reading
“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you….What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.” (Audre Lorde, feminist activist & poet)
Many important aspects of our individual experiences are rendered taboo by the unspoken rules of social discourse. We all have things we feel passionately about but feel an invisible barrier that blocks us from expressing them, even to close family or friends. The result of these conversational taboos is feeling alienated by experiences that ironically are often shared by many others around us. Keeping certain topics off limits prevents us from broadening our understanding of one another and helping one another negotiate the complexities of our shared struggles. Continue reading
What started as a simple idea, later turned into a typed up plan, and is now a goal accomplished(Well 95%). Earlier this year in March, I was assigned an activism project for my GWST 200 class. It was supposed to be the focus of our semester, and something we would enjoy doing. We were left to choose our own projects, which was a bit harder than I thought. I went through many ideas, and even other people’s projects until finally deciding mines. I decided to focus on a school with little resources in Bajo Lempa, El Salvador.
(Above is an actual picture of the school)
For most of my life, I was relatively removed from the problems that plagued my homeland Kenya. I was afforded a better life in the land of opportunity, a place where my education and hard work would earn me an inheritance far greater than any plot of land my father could bestow upon me. But when the tribalism that was instigated by the elections of 2008 occurred in Kenya, the distance from Washington, DC and Nairobi, Kenya became nonexistent. Kenyans in the Diaspora, hurt by the violence their families faced back home, began to echo the tribal sentiments of our politicians and fellow Kenyan citizens. Eventually the smoke cleared, and the dust settled, but election time reared its ugly head again this past march (2013). This time, I was not going to wait and loose friends over ethnic differences or political preferences. This time, I was going to do something about it. And the work has just begun.