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Creating A Caring Community Part I: Addressing Women’s Issues

03/04/2011

“Life is service.
The one who progresses is the one who gives
a little more, a little better service.”
-Ellsworth Statler

The SA has put a significant focus on Women’s Issues on our campus this year and hopefully will continue to do the same next year. With a near 50/50 split of males and females on this campus, you would assume that everyone would be able to equally voice their issues and concerns without second guessing whether or not they’ll be heard. Unfortunately, there are issues on this campus that seem to fall upon deaf ears when it comes to our women. With the recent passage of Resolution 51 (http://assembly.cornell.edu/SA/20110203R51), we have added a Women’s Issues seat to the assembly in order make a more tangible push toward shedding light on women’s issues and addressing them publicly. This will help us to better address issues of safety, health, respect, and other issues that have seemed to fall by the wayside. Additionally, this will help to strengthen the Committee on Women’s Issues which is currently defunct.

The 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day will occur March 8th, 2011. The Women’s Resource Center has been working hard on events for the month leading up to this day and following this day. They can all be found here (http://wrc.dos.cornell.edu/iwd/). Additionally, join the Facebook event (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=186318231407449) to support. We are celebrating a century of IWD and we should make sure that this day does not go in vain. This should give us more fuel to continue to create a collective voice for our women.

In addition to our efforts as students, the administration has been putting on community forums to address various topics on campus. On March 9th, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM, Byron Hurt come to campus for the third community forum on American Manhood. These two will help educate us on why violence against women is a men’s issue as well. It is the responsibility of men to educate other men about violence against women being that men are the main perpetrators. It pleases me to know that the administration has listened to the voice of the students on these matters and have stepped up with these forums, especially this one. I think it will be enlightening and will serve as a complement to all initiatives that are currently taking place.

In order to become a Caring Community, we must first start to listen to everyone’s concerns. We must actively care about one another on an individual level, it cannot just be a top-down approach. We get so bogged down in the group discussions and the big forums that sometimes we miss out on important voices. What happens to people who aren’t as vocal? What happens to the people afraid to speak up and are grieving? What do they do? These are questions that bothered me a lot and I sat down coming up with a few ideas. The little blurb below is one of the results.

Art has always been a way to create a large voice, stir up controversy, and disorient the world in such a way that it puts everyone in the same place almost at once. It also provides an avenue for people to express things they might not publicly say. We sought to find a more artistic approach to addressing  women’s issues on campus in addition to other initiatives. Maybe the result will end up being a large forum, maybe the result will just be people talking more publicly about issues. Maybe the only result will be to get someone to think differently for 5 minutes. Any step we can take toward progress is important. It is up to us to change our worlds by fighting the issues we are most passionate about. Individual efforts can become collective successes if we continue to unite and press forward.

The “Ain’t I A Woman?” Project

As a celebration of Women’s History Month we are trying to get students, faculty, and staff together to put on a project called “Ain’t I A Woman?”which will be a two-part series; one featuring video screenings and the other featuring demonstrations on Ho Plaza. The purpose is to begin taking steps to create a unified voice for women on campus given that our current climate does not already do so. The theme of the video will be “From Adversity to Triumph,” highlighting the many experiences of students, faculty, and staff on campus over the years. We need help, however, to make this dream become a reality.

Right now we need students, faculty, and staff to volunteer to be interviewed for the video vignettes. We are planning to do screenings from March 28th – April 1st (subject to change). If you would be interested in helping with this project or know someone who would, please contact Chauncey Jenkins at cwj27@cornell.edu.

Stay tuned – we will be requesting volunteers for the demonstrations next week (women + men).

Let’s work together to create a strong voice.

In service,

Chauncey


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