A Little Bit of Hope

The news is often filled with terrible, awful things, which to be fair these things are going on in the world, but it gets a little depressing at times.

So today, I just wanted to share some things with you, some people rather, that have turned some rather horrific and unfortunate situations into opportunities to fight for not only themselves, but for others who may not have found their voices yet.

Hope is a powerful thing:

The Hunting Ground

Urusula Burns

Many of us have seen Xerox boxes around campus, holding the precious paper we use for copying and printing, but did you know that the CEO of the Fortune 500 company is Ursula Burns. This week we are looking Ms. Burns in our Black History Month series.

ursula burns
Why you may ask?

We are all aware of the minimal female presence in the STEM fields, and women of color are even rarer. Ms. Burns managed to knock down those hurdles back in the 1980’s by getting a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University(Xerox), when it was even more of a rarity. She is also the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 Company.

Ms. Burns is an inspiration, and has managed to break both gender and racial barriers in the Stem field. For more on this powerful, check out the video, where she talks about her upbringing, and the challenges she faced to get where she is today.

Elect Her

This past Friday, the AAUW (the American Association of University Women) hosted their Elect Her event on the Alexandria Campus. Their elect her program focuses on training college women to run for student government. We had 50 students turn out for the event!
elect her

We are very proud of our students who participated, and are happy that the AAUW was able to come out and continue empower our students! Thank you for everyone who helped put this together, and to all those who participated.

Check out Elect Her for more information on the program.

Rita Dove

As many of you know, it is now February, really it has been February for about a week, and it came far too quickly for my liking, but what can you do?

February is Black History Month, and typically there is a lot of focus on Civil Rights Leaders, who dedicated blood, sweat, and tears to gain equality. This year, I would like to highlight some of the amazing black folks who have had great achievements or contributions, and also look at some up and coming people who are doing some amazing things. Without the struggles of yesterday, we would not have the path we walk today.

Today we highlight Rita Dove. If you like poetry, you may love her, if you have not seen any of her stuff, please come down to the library and check her stuff out.

rita dove 2010

Why is she so phenomenal? She was a Poet Laureate, as well as a Pulitzer Prize winner. She is also a professor at UVA. She has several collections published including, Mother Love, American Smooth, and a personal favorite of mine, Sonata Mulattica.

Women Helping Women

This past Saturday we had the honor of participating in the event Women Helping Women, which was a day long even that had various workshops that could be attended. The theme this year was, “Taking Care of Yourself.”

Women Helping Women

We have some amazing women who helped put this even together, as well as some wonderful speakers who came out and shared the words of wisdom. I was able to catch some of the “Work Life/Balance” workshop by Dr. Walters, and it hit home for me, and I imagine it did for anyone else in the room. We all struggle to juggle the various responsibilities we have in our lives.

whw1

Thank you to all the people who helped to put this together, the speakers, and the people who came out and participated in this great event. Uplifting one another is so important!

Dr. Walters,  Dr. Lorente, and a participant!
Dr. Walters, Dr. Lorente, and an attendee!

Food for Thought

Each week there is at the very least one story that highlights a person that has been sexually violated in some way. Whether it is in another country, or in our own backyard. This week we had the story of two ex football players from Vanderbilt, who were actually tried and convicted. Let’s hope they get a deserving sentence! For more on that check out the story here.

This story and similar ones that I stumble upon each week were echoed on Tumblr (also known as a black hole for me.)

SchoolSexual Assault

It seems like Vanderbilt was fairly proactive, which is great, but that is more of a gem in a sea of crap. The way schools handle sexual assaults has been a big point of contention for me, but seeing this photo just drove it home. If someone cheats on exam or paper, there is usually little leniency for the perpetrator, but if someone is sexually assaulted, the administrations conjure up excuses, move heaven and earth, hell too? in order to justify the actions that took place. Just let this sink in for a bit.

This little gem popped up on my feed too:

Source

There is so much truth here.

Lending a Hand

depression 2

Mental Health has been a topic national discussion, in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide, and the call for their to be a more efforts put into researching mental health, as well as an honest discussion on how the mentally ill are regarded in this country.

There is a huge stigma attached to having a mental illness, and it is this stigma that add more reasons for people not to seek help. Mental illness is seen as a weakness, and that people should just “suck it up,” which is why we see so many mentally ill on the street, people who are deemed “lazy” or they just did not “try hard enough”. It becomes their problem, and takes any culpability away from a society that turns a blind eye to those who are struggling, and suffer from very real issues.

One of the things we discussed yesterday during the Women’s Center meeting, are the things we can\will be doing during this semester, and hopefully for many semester to follow. Starting February we will be having a Support Group on Wednesday’s from Noon – 1 led by a counselor from Access Hope and starting next week on Thursday’s from 3:30 – 4:30 there will a Recovery Community meeting.

We are all really excited to have these groups available, and hope that they provide some support to those in need.

This is a national battle, but we can do our part in our little community. Here are some folks who are sharing their own stories, and pushing to make change in how we interact with mental health:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/16/health/mental-wellness-warriors-fighting-for-those-who-need-it-most/index.html

Welcome Back!

Welcome back everyone! The Spring Semester has just begun, and the Women’s Center is excited to get things rolling again.

741-1177

Hopefully everyone had a good break, and is ready to go!

Next Tuesday, January 20th at 2 p.m. in Room 331, will be our first meeting of the new semester, and we are really looking forward to everyone coming out and discussing what you would like to see happen throughout the semester. So, please bring your ideas, let us know what things you would like us to discuss, and what kind of impact we could all make on our campus.

Photo Credit: Welcome signs, Laem Tong beach, Phi Phi Don Island, Thailand, Southeast Asia, Asia. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 13 Jan 2015.
http://quest.eb.com/#/search/151_2506578/1/151_2506578/cite

Some Things You Might have Missed on Our Facebook and Around the Internet

There is this great infographic on intimate partner violence statistics:

http://www.upworthy.com/heres-what-it-looks-like-when-a-normal-relationship-descends-into-an-abusive-nightmare?c=tpstream

If you are not following Chescaleigh, just watch some of her videos. She addresses a lot of socioeconomic issues that continue to be both prevalent and problematic today. She is also hilarious! Here is her video on being an ally:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dg86g-QlM0&feature=youtu.be

Here is a post about a study done that allows people to experience what it is like living with another skin color in virtual environments:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/15/virtual-body-swapping-racism_n_6328654.html?ir=Black+Voices&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000047

I find this one particularly interesting due to the fact that people of color who play games are often faced with playing a character that does not reflect their color, so it is fascinating for scientists to look at this from the other end of the spectrum.