I’ve been working at Paul’s Place for more than a year now, and writing about it is starting to feel redundant. I don’t say this to be reductive of its importance or its impact on me; but rather to illustrate my frustration with being continuously unable to capture the feeling of volunteering there. I’ve taken prac 4 times which means i’ve written about it every week (when i have school) for more than a year now, but I still cant quite get it.
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) offers various different meal plans for students to purchase throughout the entire semester. These meal plans come with their own individual perks and benefits, as some meal plans are catered more towards certain students than others. However, these meal plans are not free, and range any where from a few hundred dollars for commuter-only plans to a few thousand dollars for full-time on-campus students. Because meal plans are relatively expensive and require students to use these plans only for on-campus food suppliers, the goals of this project were to bring awareness to the “real-cost” of a meal and if the cost of these meal plans provided by UMBC accurately reflect on the quality of food that is provided.
It was when Dr. Kate presented us with the concept of using art as a form of activism that the idea of creating a literary journal first came to me. The specifics were foggy for a little while – I cycled through dozens of topics until it occurred to me that the narrower the subject, the more difficult it would be to gather submissions. So I broadened my category to one singular noun – woman. Any undergraduate student that identified as a woman was permitted to enter poetry or prose for inclusion into what I was then calling a journal or anthology.
Hello people of the world and beyond! My name is Amy Cruz, new Gender+Women’s Studies Major! I want to tell you about my Activist project for the wonderful class, Feminist Activism. Here’s some background: I have anxiety and depression. It is hard to me to speak out or speak up, let alone get out of bed sometimes. Taking part in Activism is hard for me.
Take Back the Night can be a life-changing event for those of us who regularly experience sexual harassment, misogyny, body shaming, or objectification. UMBC’s Take Back the Night, for those reasons, has the ability to be life-changing for absolutely anyone by caring enough about themselves and others to notice that these themes really matter in the overall shaping of rape culture and the extent that the “small stuff” can reach to. The speak out at this year’s event was something I have been preparing for a while now because of the mark it had on me at last year’s event when I was only one month off of a traumatic sexual assault. At last year’s speak out, a woman confessed her struggle about her rape and ended with, “I can now confidently say that the word ‘broken’ is no longer in my vocabulary” about her long recovery to better-than-before. I fell apart at that moment. Not only was I simply not “there” yet in my process (considering it had happened one month ago at the time), but I was just so inspired by the fact that she had gone through something that made her feel stronger. She was honestly broken at one point and is now unfamiliar with the word. Hearing those stories, knowing I was not the only one, it was everything to me.
I decided to combine the ten years of theatre experience I’ve acquired in my life and write a monologue. This was meant to be more of a performance, but turned out to be detailed letter to myself at the time of my assault, alongside a letter to my offender. I was inspired to write something after a year of the occurrence because I felt I had gained some knowledge about things I wish I had known when it had just happened. It feels like nobody actually understands, and like it can’t get any better. And honestly? In a few ways it doesn’t. Sometimes it even gets worse. However, there’s some things in our lives that we can think about that keep us holding on. I guess I just feel as if holding on was worth it, and I want other survivors of rape and sexual assault to know that. Continue reading
Empowerment: The process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.
For our Gender and Women Studies Activist Project we set out to empower young girls and women by showcasing already empowered women of UMBC. We chose to do our project on Women Empowerment because we feel that there is a strong need for young women to feel a sense of self-worth and confidence about themselves. We feel that young girls, in particular, are susceptible to society’s criticism and that these young women need to be “lifted up” rather than “torn down.”
Our project focused on spreading awareness of affordable health and reproductive care options for students. As a group, we created a few pamphlets that described the options students had available to them, both on and off campus, for general health care, mental health and addiction services, and reproductive care. Continue reading