WNOIL is about unrestrained expression. It is intended to give a voice to an issue that is silently felt and shared amongst women. Today we live in a culture that objectifies and sexualizes women daily. One main symptom of the internalization of these attitudes is self-monitoring. To put it simply, because we are taught that our bodies are objects to be viewed and consumed, women are often caught in the daily struggle of ensuring that the way we look, walk, talk, smell, eat or even sit is “up to par” with the expectations of others. Often we can be limited in what we do by the fear of judgment and criticism. Because of this WNOIL has been created. It is a safe space to showcase our talent, skill, passion. Our uniqueness. It is a space to be who we are When No One is Looking. Continue reading
The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that one in four adults experience mental illness any given year. And yet most of their struggles go unheard or unrecognized due to the taboo nature of speaking out about mental health disorders. With #EndTheSilence, we set out to change that stigma on the UMBC campus.
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:
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.
As with any situation one must always acknowledge their own privileges, including those that are hard to recognize. As members of the cisgender community it was difficult to understand the daily issue that arises for the gender queer community in terms of what bathroom to use. Before the commencement of this project, others, such as members of QUMBC and Lee Calizo, Director of Student Life, had already begun to tackle this issue on UMBC’s campus to provide a safe space for those who did not feel comfortable in our gendered bathrooms. Since Fall 2011 the first pair of gender neutral bathrooms were set up in the Commons’ lower level, one located near the Yum Shoppe and the Women’s Center; the other located at the bottom of the steps on the same level. Continue reading