February 23, 2011

SIUC to celebrate Women's History Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is celebrating Women’s History Month with a full slate of special activities in March.

“Participating in Women’s History Month arms individuals with both the facts and the resources to inform, question, investigate and see beyond the myths, stereotypes and misperceptions with regard to gender, power and identity. By investing a little time, the big payoff of becoming a more informed, aware and educated citizen is the result. It is learning at its best and an opportunity not to be missed,” said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

The University is offering a variety of guest speakers, films, special presentations and much more during Women’s History Month. There will be scholarship celebrations and tips for improving grades, poetry readings, and even a special evening of music and stories highlighting women in blues music, courtesy of Maria V. Johnson, a musician, ethnomusicologist and associate professor of music.

The theme of the 2011 celebration is “Our History is Our Strength.” Many of the events will examine and pay homage to women who have changed the social climate and the world around them.

“Studying women’s history is like playing ‘Where’s Waldo.’ Once you’ve found what you’ve combed the picture for, you can’t forget that it’s there and you feel silly for not having seen something so obvious sooner. Women’s History Month is the celebration of this discovery,” said Alena Pirok, a senior history major from Rolling Meadows and the founder of the new “Women’s Studies Journal” for student work.

Women’s History Month 2011 presentations will look at females in the juvenile justice system, trailblazing African-American track and field stars, the fight for suffrage and unlikely heroines in history.

“Women’s History Month gives us the opportunity to celebrate what we live every day -- the achievements of people of different genders, sexualities, colors, classes, abilities and so forth,” said Janet M. Fuller, director of women’s studies at SIUC.

Trish Downing will share her inspirational story, too. Downing was a competitive cyclist at the national level and worked at the Olympic Training Center when a car struck her, paralyzing her from the chest down. Today, she is again an international competitor, racing in a wheelchair.

“Men may make bold strikes on the canvas of history but it is women who color it in with their vibrant, creative and undefeatable selves. We celebrate to show our respect and to renew ourselves so that we may move forward into the next area,” said Kristian Alton, a counselor education graduate student from Clinton, Ky.

The 2011 Women’s History Month schedule, with all events free and open to the public unless otherwise noted, includes:

Tuesday, March 1

• Adipositivity, 5 p.m., Student Center’s Mackinaw Room. Weight loss talk is abundant these days and the pressures are strong, but this is an informative celebration highlighting the positives of adipose tissue (otherwise known as fat). People of all sizes, shapes and genders are welcome.

Wednesday, March 2

• “Females in the Juvenile Justice System: Examining the Role of Gender for Over 100 Years,” 3-4 p.m., Student Center, Missouri Room. Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, professor and chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at SIUC, will lead this discussion of the juvenile justice system. Chicago established the first juvenile court in the world in 1899 and by 1945 nearly every state had juvenile courts and reform schools. However, from the earliest days, girls and boys got different treatment. Although the differences have changed since those early days, gender differences continue to be an issue and Kempf-Leonard will address this.

Thursday, March 3

• “Trailblazers: African-American Women in Track and Field,” 7 p.m., Student Health Center Auditorium. Derrick Williams, violence prevention coordinator for the Student Health Center, will explore what African-American women have accomplished in track and field and how their contributions have shaped the sport.

Friday, March 4

• “Texas Gold,” film and discussion, 7 p.m., Student Center, Mississippi Room. The award-winning documentary chronicles the life of an unlikely muckraker, Diane Wilson. A fourth-generation fisherwoman and mother of five, Wilson braved gunfire and more to battle water pollution and the industry producing it.

Sunday, March 6

• “UNICEF International Day of Broadcasting” at WSIU Public Broadcasting. The network celebrates The UNICEF International Day of Broadcasting for Children with special children’s programming highlighting gender issues. The theme of the celebration is “Boys are…Girls are…” For details look online at http://www.wsiu.org/.

Monday, March 7

• “Reaching Your Finish Lines,” with Trish Downing, 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom B. Downing competed nationally in cycling and worked at the Olympic Training Center but while training in 2000, she was hit head-on by a car suffering a chest level, paralyzing spinal cord injury. Today, she is still a world-class athlete, becoming just the second female wheelchair racer and first female paraplegic to complete an Ironman distance triathlon. She’ll share her tools for overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. See her video at http://www.campuspeak.com/speakers/downing.

Tuesday, March 8

• International Women’s Day, the 100th annual global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women yesterday, today and tomorrow (http://www.internationalwomensday.com/):

• Women’s Studies is hosting a reception 2-3 p.m., Communication Building, Studio A. It’s the chance to meet scholars and students in women’s studies, gender and media.

• “Boys are….Girls Are…” Gender Equity in Children’s Media presentation, 3-6 p.m., Communication Building, Studio A.

Wednesday, March 9

• “In the Time of the Butterflies,” film and discussion, 6:30 p.m., Student Center, Mackinaw Room. Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority will present this film, based on the Julia Alvarez book, telling the fictionalized tale of Dominican revolutionary activists, the Mirabel sisters, who opposed the Rafael Trujillo dictatorship. It’s an inspiring story of common women bringing about change.

Thursday, March 10

• Celebrating Scholarship By and About Women 2011:

-- Luncheon AAUW (American Association of University Women) Scholarship Fundraiser, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom B. A portion of ticket proceeds go toward Women’s Studies scholarships. Contact Martha Ellert, msellert@aol.com regarding tickets.

-- Presentations from 2010 recipients of research, scholarly and creative activity awards, 3 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom A. AAUW and Women’s Studies will present scholarships and a reception follows in Corker Lounge.

• “Iron Jawed Angels,” film and discussion, 6 p.m., Faner Hall, Room 3075. The political science department is showing this Hilary Swank film about ladies who stood up for women’s rights and suffrage. A discussion of voting rights and women’s suffrage will follow.

Tuesday, March 22

• Dialoguing Dissertations and Dinner: An Event for Female Scholars, 5-7 p.m., Student Center, Old Main Lounge. This is an evening of talk, networking, sharing resources and dinner where you can learn much from one another and the all-female multidisciplinary panel featuring faculty and doctoral students. You must RSVP by calling Student Development at 618/453-5714 no later than March 11 to reserve a spot.

Thursday, March 24

• Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest Ceremony, 4 p.m., location announcement forthcoming. Sara Burge, SIUC alumna and author of a new poetry collection, is the judge for this annual contest. Undergraduate and graduate winners will recite their award-winning poems.

• “Good Hair,” film and discussion by The Naturalistas, 7 p.m., Student Center Video Lounge. The Chris Rock movie is an expose of beauty salons, hairstyle battles, and more featuring hair care professionals, beauty shop patrons, Ice-T, Maya Angelou, Eve and the Rev. Al Sharpton among those offering their candid thoughts and observations about how hairstyles affect activities, finances, relationships and self-esteem in the black community.

Friday, March 25

• “You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down: A Tapestry of Live Performance Interweaving the Songs and Her-Stories of Women in the Blues,” featuring Maria V. Johnson, 7-9 p.m., Student Center, Old Main Lounge. Johnson, an ethnomusicologist and blues/boogie woogie musician and associate professor in music, will present an evening of music and stories featuring her vocals and piano and guitar talents. Refreshments served.

• Exhibit Reception: Abraham, Cynthia and Mary: The Artistry of the Pachikara Family, 4-7 p.m., University Museum. The art of Mary Pachikara and her children, Abe and Cynthia, show the influences of one another and the immigration of Mary and husband Punnoose from India to the U.S. Mary’s watercolors, Abe’s photographs and Cynthia’s works share themes revolving around identity, memory and cultural changes.

Monday, March 28

• “Strive Harder to Achieve Academically,” 7 p.m., Student Center, Mackinaw Room. Lolita Mack, an SIUC alumna and academic adviser for the College of Engineering, will share insights, tips and strategies for getting past social and personal drama and academic trials to achieve classroom and personal success.

Tuesday, March 29

• Vagina Open Mic, 8-10 p.m., Student Center, Big Muddy Room. Celebrate women with an evening of poetry recitation and celebration, artistic, humorous, entertaining and enlightening.

Wednesday, March 30

• “Was Great-Grandma Gay?” 6:30-7:30 p.m., Student Center, Thebes Room. View the short 2007 film “Just Me?” in which a woman who believes she is the only lesbian in a large extended family finds things looking in her great-grandmother’s photo albums that make her think she’s not alone after all. This evening explores the historical relationships between women.

Thursday, March 31

• “Lingerie Football: A League Not of Their Own,” 7:30 p.m., Student Health Center Auditorium. Explore the phenomenon of the “Lingerie Football League” and its social dangers for men and women.

“Today’s young women are the inheritors of a longstanding battle for equality and equity for all genders. It is imperative that young women of today get involved and participate in Women’s History Month events. It is not enough to just acknowledge the great women in history who fought for women’s rights or who were no afraid to prove that they deserved to stand next to men, not behind them. The women of the millennial generation are next in line to carry on this tradition of great women. Women’s History Month is the perfect time to educate oneself on how we, as women of today, are able to choose what our lives will be. It is true when people say that in order to know who you are, you have to know where you came from. I challenge all the female students of SIUC to participate in Women’s History Month and discover more about where they came from,” said Brooke James, a graduate student in college student personnel from Tremont.

The University Museum is also sponsoring three exhibits in celebration of Women’s History Month. In addition to the “Abraham, Cynthia and Mary: The Artistry of the Pachikara Family” exhibit March 25-May 13, the Burghilde Gruber: Full Circle exhibit runs through April 2. Also, Katherine Kuh: Creating a Legacy of Art for SIUC, with Dona Bachman as curator, is on display through May 2012. For more information about the Museum or any of these exhibits, call 618/453-5388 or e-mail museum@siu.edu.

“Women’s History Month is a great way to celebrate women and their accomplishments throughout history. I think it is important for individuals to understand the struggles and triumphs of women to obtain a greater appreciation for them. Women’s History Month is a creative way to learn about the contributions women have made to our society,” said Tai Askew Gibson, an accounting graduate student form Bowling Green, Ky.

Women’s History Month is an initiative from SIUC’s Women’s Studies and Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services. Other sponsors include the political science and English departments, the University Museum, the Department of English and Creative Writing Program, Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, Progressive Masculinity Mentors, the Naturalistas, GLBT Resource Center, Black American Studies 499-002, WSIU Broadcasting and the Office of the Associate Chancellor (Institutional Diversity).

“As a female, I look to the women of the past as inspiration. Seeing how far we’ve come makes me want to do my part and make those wonderful women proud,” said Talea Collins, a sophomore psychology major from Carbondale.

For more information about Women’s History Month contact Women’s Studies at 618/453-5141 or Student Development Multicultural Programs and Services on the third floor of the Student Center at 618/453-5714. Or, look online at http://siuc.orgsync.com/.

“Women’s History Month is an opportunity for us to recognize the women who have shaped our history and created the steps toward women’s equality and empowerment. Women have stood through much adversity and this month allows America to push forward and carry on their legacy. Women’s History Month is not solely for women. It encourages everyone to band together to take one group’s struggle as a driving force to reach empowerment and equality for all,” said Katelyn Nolan, a graduate student from Monument, Colo., majoring in college student personnel in education administration and higher education.