February 26, 2020

SIU’s Women’s History Month honors women’s suffrage

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale commemorates Women’s History Month 2020 in March with events recognizing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

The monthlong celebration, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Celebrating 100 years of Women’s Right to Vote” features guest speakers, workshops, inspirational performances, a leadership retreat and other special events.

Festivities begin Monday

The official kick-off is March 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. Carmen Suarez, an assistant professor of practice in educational administration and higher education focusing on diversity and inclusion, is the special guest speaker.

Carmen-Suarez-sm.jpgSuarez, a Chicago native, is a triple alumna of SIU Carbondale, earning her bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in medieval history and a doctorate in higher education administration.

Suarez’s career has included a number of roles involving diversity, inclusion and equity at several universities, where she has worked to make school environments more welcoming to students of diverse backgrounds.  Her work at SIU included serving as the affirmative action officer, Hispanic community liaison, assistant dean of the School of Law Career Services Office, interim assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, and director of the Office of Diversity and Equity.

Suarez earned a number of awards at SIU including the Lindell W. Sturgis Public Service Award in 2006 and the Outstanding Administrative and Professional Staff Award in 2008. She went on to serve in various administrative positions at the University of Idaho and Portland State University before returning to her Midwest roots and SIU Carbondale. Suarez has also served on the board of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Suarez said her greatest satisfaction has come from raising her daughter, being an adviser for student groups and working with students, especially those from underrepresented populations.

Refreshments will follow her presentation.

Prepare for success

An interactive presentation, “How to Succeed in Graduate School: The Role of Conferences in Building a Diverse Network” will focus on the importance of networking and conferences to understanding your chosen career and being successful.

Kimberly Turner, a doctoral student in political science, will lead the event at noon on Wednesday, March 4, in Student Services Building Room 150.

Inspirational performance

Prepare to be inspired at the “I AM/ YO SOY: Womxn of the World Performance Celebration,” set for 6:30 p.m. on March 24. Hosted by Erikah Lewis, a local WDBX 91.1 FM radio celebrity, this program in the Student Center Auditorium will feature live, impactful female performances of poetry, music, spoken word and other art forms.

The focus is on women and their stories from yesteryear and today. Refreshments will follow.

Numerous other events on tap

A variety of other activities will also take place throughout the month, including:

  • “Redefining Success: Annual Women’s Leadership Retreat.” This March 20-21 event at Touch of Nature Environmental Center connects women for a weekend of leadership enrichment, personal development and interactive discussions. The $15 registration fee covers activities, meals, overnight lodging and transportation from the Student Center (if needed). Register online by March 13.
  • “Rhetoric and Reality: A Century of Votes for Women.” The 7 p.m. March 23 Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture by Christina Wolbrecht in Guyon Auditorium will explore the story of women and voting. Wolbrecht is director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy and teaches political science at the University of Notre Dame. She will discuss popular misunderstandings about women’s voting records.
  • Women’s Luncheon: Visionary Women (Dreams, Goals and Destiny) – noon, March 31 in the Student Center’s Old Main Room. RSVP to vtaylor@siu.edu by March 16.

Other events scheduled include:

  • The College Panhellenic Association’s Circle of Sisterhood Week, Monday through Friday, March 2-6.
  • The Celebrate Women: Honoring Inclusive Excellence event on March 18 with Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza as keynote speaker.
  • Professional Women’s Networking Event on March 19 in Becker Pavilion.
  • A lecture by former Illinois U.S. Senator Carol Mosely Braun at 6 p.m., March 25, in the Student Center Auditorium.
  • Performances of “The Muses are Calling,” March 26-28, in the Kleinau Theatre.

Everyone welcome

All events are open to the public. All activities are free with the exception of the Celebrate Women event, women’s retreat and the theater performance and the women’s retreat.

Find the complete schedule of events and additional information about Women’s History Month 2020 on the Student Multicultural Resource Center website. Contact Samantha Patterson, SMRC graduate assistant, at 618/453-3740 or by email at wrc@siu.edu with questions.