Revolutionary Mothering + Women's History Month
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In this issue:

 
 
  • A Note From WLRC's Director
  • Revolutionary Mothering: Mothering on the Margins
  • WLRC News & Upcoming Events
  • CAN News & Upcoming Events
  • WLRC Spotlight: Sounds of Feminism
  • Staying Connected: Updates about COVID-19 and WLRC/CAN
  • CCUSC Events & Resources
  • Campus Opportunities
  • Community Opportunities
  • Connect with us!
 
   
 

A Note from WLRC's Director

 
 

At UIC and on many other campuses around the country, the month of March is celebrated as Women’s Heritage Month.  In the pre-COVID-19 days, that celebration took the form of public events featuring notable feminist scholars, public intellectuals, writers, artists, and activists who populated course syllabi, feminist bookstores and local/national lecture circuits.   They brought stardom or familiarity.  But they also brought Language. Images. Laughter.  Stories.  We could bear witness to how women have resisted the restrictions imposed by gender, racial, sexual and national identities. At its best, WHM programming pushes us to think and act differently, and reminds us to see the present and the future for everyone who lived at the margins as demanding our collective attention and action.  True, sometimes the events left us wanting for more – to turn the presenters’ critical lenses onto themselves, to see how their efforts to talk about “women” did not go far enough to name how patriarchy was intertwined with a eurocentric, cisgender, anti-poor perspective.  Other times, we walked away full, ready to heave and tilt the world – or at least the campus – back to a position that would make it possible for, among others, Black, Latinx, Arab American, and Asian American women students on campus to reach for a college education and the future it promised.

Futures are also uncertain.  As I am writing this, I recall the sense of foreboding that crept up on us a year ago as WLRC – along with several cosponsors - prepared to bring Black lesbian poet, writer and activist, Staceyann Chin to campus.  Glenance Green, UIC graduate student and cultural worker, opened the program with her own poetry.  Staceyann’s visit allowed us to center lesbian and queer women of color in a conversation about building community, solidarity and care in perilous times.  We knew we needed more time, but we did not have it.  The next day, after lunch and a very emotional conversation, we held onto each other, sensing that it would be a long time before we would be able to touch strangers again. That gathering was a necessary exercise in re-balancing, as we now know.

Going further back in time, I imagine that when the Circle Women’s Liberation Union outlined its five-point proposal in 1972, and when Black and Latinx students led protests and sit-ins in 1990 to demand adequate university response to harassment and assault of Black women on campus, they were doing a collective heave and tilt, using the language they had inherited as well as created to push for a balance that was inclusive; one that students asked for and had been denied; they demanded something new, better, more just.  The outcomes of those protests – the African American Cultural Center and [what is now known as] Women’s Leadership and Resource Center – but also the other cultural centers, are the spaces within which critical conversations about women, gender and feminisms continue to form and thrive.  

During Women’s Heritage Month and throughout the academic year, we welcome the entire campus community to join our programs: to learn new language, or be reminded of what we already knew, to deepen understanding of the many histories and points of departure for women’s struggles, to acquire new tools, explore new relationships to social justice movements, etc.

At WLRC, we see participation in these conversations as essential to students’ education and engagement with the campus.   Regardless of discipline or major, students can learn about and grasp the urgency of building solidarity across race, gender and national lines in order to resist the destructive effects of white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, militarism, carceral states, environmental injustice et. al on their lives.  

We hope your first WHM stop will be the event “Revolutionary Mothering: Laboring for a Just World”, which is hosted by Dr. Nadine Naber and the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) and cosponsored by WLRC and many other UIC units.  If the COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant attention to the many forms of mothering labor that are necessary to keep families safe and communities safe, far less attention is given to the ongoing ways in which carework, of which mothering is an important dimension of anti-racist and anti-carceral activism. Thinking beyond the biological and towards the political dimensions of mothering, this event promises to provoke, inspire and remind us about the unequal and yet transformative ways that women participate in changemaking work.

To get your mind ready, browse the Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines anthology by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams (PM Press, 2016).  Also check out Parent Like It Matters: How To Raise Joyful, Change-making Girls by Janice Johnson Dias (Penguin Random House, 2021).  Jazmin Vega (WLRC’s graduate assistant) has also curated a reading list.  Do let us know if you have suggestions to add to the list; I see summer reading in our future.

During this year’s WHM, WLRC is launching its 30th anniversary under the theme "Centering Care and Community: 30 Years of Resistance at the WLRC."  During the spring and fall 2021 semesters, special programs will explore various dimensions of the center’s work as it has unfolded over the past three decades.  A highlight of our conversations will be critical perspectives on how the center enacts community and care; strategies for challenging inequities on and off the campus (e.g. speaking out against racism and state violence, naming economic issues that affect women of color, providing confidential support and activist education regarding survivors of gender-based violence, etc.), and building solidarities across communities and identities.  We plan to create opportunities for students, staff and faculty – past and present - to come together to tell their own stories of the center; consider how the center’s work is situated in relation to the last three decades of critical feminist scholarship, praxis and resistance; examine the how and why of our partnerships inside and outside the university, and the impact of these collaborative relationships on the center’s past, present and future.

The kick-off event for our 30th anniversary event will be the Sustaining Centers of Care, Community, and Resistance roundtable to be held on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, 11:30am - 1:00pm CST.  There’s no better way to begin a year of introspection than with a conversation among feminist leaders of Illinois’s women’s (and gender equity) centers, one that we have yearned for and are finally bringing to fruition.  Mark your calendars!   Whether you are new to WLRC or have had multiple kinds of relationships with us – former students, staff, etc. – we would love to see you there!

Until next time, take care of yourselves and each other.

 
   
 

Revolutionary Mothering: Mothering on the Margins

 
 

"The potential for the word mother comes after the m.  It is the space that other takes up in our mouths when we say it.  We are something else.  We know it from how fearfully institutions wield social norms and try to shut us down.  We know it from how we are transforming the planet with our every messy step toward making life possible.  Mamas who unlearn domination by refusing to dominate their children.  Extended family and friends.  Community care givers.  Radical child care collectives. All of us breaking cycles of abuse by deciding what we want to replicate from the past and what we urgently need to transform.  We are m othering, mothering ourselves."

-Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Revolutionary Mothering

In anticipation of IRRPP's March 8 celebration of International Women’s Day, Revolutionary Mothering: Laboring for a Just World, we explore work by several of the event's speakers that honors those who have been mothering within Chicago’s struggles for prison abolition, immigrant justice, and American Indian sovereignty.

 
 
Susila Gurusami 
 

Susila Gurusami: Prison Can Have Far-Reaching Effects on How Black Women Parent

Dr. Susila Gurusami, Assistant Professor, UIC Criminology, Law and Justice, outlines the ways formerly incarcerated Black mothers shield their kids from state intervention. She observed that many formerly incarcerated Black mothers developed a set of strategies as they naviagate the parental experience named "decarceral motherwork."

 
 
Nadine Naber 
 

Nadine Naber: Mothers of Victims of Police Don't Want Your Pity. They Want Solidarity--and Justice. 

Nadine Naber, Interim Director, UIC IRRPP, and Professor, Gender and Women's Studies and Global Asian Studies, writes about the the mothers of victims of police and other violence, the ongoing fight for justice, and activists and organizations seeking solidarity. 

 
 
Paula X. Rojas 
 

Paula X. Rojas: Standard of Care

Chilean-born community organizer, licensed midwife, and social justice trainer Paula X. Rojas and Kellee Coleman, members of Mamas of Color Rising and Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman, have been working for years to "improv[e] pregnancy and birth outcomes for communities of color in Austin" and call attention to the plight of pregnant inmates and their standard of care while incarcerated.  

 
 
Monica Cosby 
 

Monica Cosby: An Interview with AirGo

In this interview with AirGo, Monica Cosby, lead organizer of Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, speaks about liberation, abolition, and her transition home after her incareration of 20 years in the state of Illinois. 

 
   
 

WLRC News & Upcoming Events

 
 

CART live captioning is provided for all events hosted by WLRC and CAN. Please send any questions or additional accommodation requests to wlrc@uic.edu.

 
 
A group of people, each raising up one fist in solidarity 
 

Revolutionary Mothering: Laboring for a Just and Loving World
Monday, March 8, 2021
4-6pm CST

Join the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy and partners including WLRC for an event featuring Paula X. Rojas, co-founder of Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, community-organizer, mother, midwife, and social justice trainer at Embody Transformation. Paula will speak about the significance of mothering and care-work to social movements striving to dismantle state violence and build a just and loving world. The event will also honor the often invisible mothering and caretaking labor that has underpinned Chicago-based movements over the last several decades. Honorees will include people who have been mothering within Chicago’s struggles for prison abolition; Palestinian and Arab self-determination; immigrant justice; and American Indian sovereignty.

 
 
Rosi Carrasco at a demonstration, smiling and holding a sign that reads "Apoyamos a los empleados escolares de Chicago" 
 

Zona Abierta: Latinx Womxn Leaders Across Movements Series
Rosi Carrasco, Community Defender & Organizer, Chicago Community & Workers' Rights
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
3-4pm CST

Celebrate Women's History Month with a series of conversations with activists about their experiences and leadership in labor and worker's rights, immigrant rights, environmental and climate justice, and building transgender & queer Latinx power. Through an intersectional lens, these presenters reveal the complexity and specificity of Latinx Womxn from a spectrum of identities and action-based agendas.

 
 
Fat Liberation flyer 
 

Unlearning Fatphobia: Moving Toward Fat Liberation in Public Health
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
6-7:30pm CST

Please join Radical Public Health for a panel event critiquing fatphobia in public health and discussing how we can move toward fat liberation. Panelist, Marquisele Mercedes and Dr. Harriet Brown, will share their experience & knowledge on the historical relationship between weight, health, & medical care, Fatphobia within academia & public health and connections between race, gender, & body size.

 
 
Tania Unzueta 
 

Zona Abierta: Latinx Womxn Leaders Across Movements Series
Tania Unzueta, Political Director, Mijente
Monday, March 15, 2021
3-4pm CST

The Latinx Womxn Leaders Across Social and Environmental Movements series continues with Tania Unzueta, UIC alumna and political director at Mijente, which fights for Latinx rights, justice, and radical change.

 
 
Crystal Kelley Schwartz and Dr. Johari Jabir 
 

Signing the Nation: ASL Performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
Thursday, March 18, 2021
12-1pm CST

Celebrate Black Deaf communities and the expressive power of American Sign Language! Crystal Kelley Schwartz, performer and educator, will perform the Black National Anthem and teach a portion of the song in ASL. Introduction by Dr. Johari Jabir, musician, scholar, and faculty in UIC Black Studies. Co-sponsored by the Disability Cultural Center as part of WLRC's Let Our Rejoicing Rise project.

 
 
Headshots of the 6 guest speakers 
 

Sustaining Centers of Care, Community, and Resistance
Celebrating WLRC's 30th Anniversary
Tuesday, March 30, 2021

11:30am - 1pm CST

Women's and Gender Equity Centers serve as critical sites for feminist/social justice education, safety, and community building on U.S. college campuses and beyond. In celebration of WLRC's 30th anniversary, join our virtual roundtable to hear center leaders across Illinois reflect on their centers' histories, what emboldens/challenges/inspires them, and their visions for the future.

 
 
Desk with open notebook and stationary 
 

Write @ WLRC 
Fridays, 10am - 12pm CST
Through April 30, 2021

Can’t find the time or motivation to write? Working on your dissertation/conference paper/creative project? Need some structure, support, and accountability? Join our drop-in virtual write onsite space for graduate students, faculty, and staff! Every Friday through April 30, 2021.

 

 
 
Black music notes and red circles on a beige background 
 

Call for Submissions: "Let Our Rejoicing Rise"
Submissions due Tuesday, March 30, 2021

In recognition of how Black women's voice and performance have been important to Black struggle and resistance, we lift up the Black National Anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing." We invite UIC students to submit a video of themselves performing the song or sharing their earliest memories of it and what it means to them. Videos will be featured on WLRC's website and as part of the "Singing the Nation" digital humanities project led by our Black History Month featured speaker, Dr. Sonya Donaldson of New Jersey City University. 

 
 
Global Youth Ambassadors logo 
 

Call for Applications: Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Program
Applications due March 14, 2021 - Deadline extended!

WLRC is proud to partner again with Chicago Sister Cities International for the annual Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Summit, which provides a globally-immersive experience for leadership development, cross-cultural awareness, and civic exchange while building relationships to last a lifetime. Participants will engage with each other and business and civic leaders via virtual workshops, discussions, and presentations on advocacy, activism, and leadership. This week-long leadership program is open to teenage girls, ages 14-16, from Chicago and its 29 international sister cities.

 
   
 

CAN News & Upcoming Events

 
 
Dr. Ada Cheng, Dr. Karen Su, and Moises Villada 
 

One on One with CAN & GSC
Thursday, March 11, 2021
12:30pm CST

One on One: Connecting beyond the surface, listening to the human side. Join Dr. Ada Cheng from CAN and Moises Villada from the Gender and Sexuality Center for a conversation wwith Dr. Karen Su, UIC Global Asian Studies Program via Facebook Live.
 
 
A gymnast, seen from the legs down, stands on a floor with a wide crack. There is a U.S. flag in the background. 
 

Not Your Usual Watch Party!: Athlete A
Friday, March 12, 2021
12-1pm CST

Bring your lunch and join us to watch excerpts from Athlete A and discuss issues related to gender-based violence. Athlete A spotlights the horrific sexual abuse of hundreds of young athletes by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and shines an even brighter light on the team of individuals working to hold USAG and Nassar accountable. 

 
 
 
 

Call for Submissions: This is Me! This is Us!

CAN is calling for video submissions to showcase the personal side of UIC's campus. Anyone at UIC can participate! Your video will be posted on the CAN Facebook page and WLRC website and be used to maintain connections with campus partners as well as to show the human side of staff, students, and faculty at UIC. Please record yourself responding to one of the following prompts and briefly introduce yourself (ex: My name is... One mistake I made in college is...)

  • One thing I have learned in life
  • One mistake I made when I was a freshman
  • Something I overcame in college
  • What one or two things have helped me navigate adversity?
 
 
A cup of coffee, a notepad with pencils on top, a notecard with paper clips, a WLRC promo card, and WLRC buttons all form the border of a poster with text about Don't Cancel Your Class! 
 

Don't Cancel Your Class! 

Are you thinking about cancelling class or assigning “busy work” because you can’t teach due to personal, family, or work obligations? Don't Cancel Your Class!

Request a presentation from us instead! DCYC! Is for any instructor--tenure-track, adjunct/contingent, graduate teaching assistants--who wants to make alternative arrangements for a class. We offer a variety of topics, including rape culture, consent, dating violence, harassment/stalking, and toxic masculinity. Visit our page for full details and to contact our team.

 
   
 

WLRC Spotlight: Sounds of Feminism

 
 

Want to learn more about the kinds of feminist ideas that inspire WLRC's programs?  Every week on WLRC's Instagram and Facebook, we'll be sharing critical feminist conversations and insights on key concepts, ideas, and debates that shape our everyday lives.

Words and ideas matter. So does form. WLRC’s “Sounds of Feminism” is intended to educate, engage, and inspire our UIC community and beyond. How? By featuring critical feminist conversations about history, politics, media, culture and beyond. Whether you are new to feministstruggles and debates, or have weathered all the ups and downs and are still waving your flag, you will find “Sounds of Feminism” useful, provocative, and always loudly pushing for justice.

 
 
Sounds of Feminism text in gradient purple font 
 

Why Feminism Fails Black Women

Despite being historically left out of feminism, Black women have been creating their own political and social movements that don’t depend on traditional feminism and that work to bring to light the oppression that Black women face. One of these social movements is womanism, which is “a social framework that separates itself from feminism and centers Black women.”

 
 
Audre Lorde 
 

March for Lesbian and Gay Rights Washington D.C. 1979

In this powerful speech, writer and activist Audre Lorde calls on us to understand the struggles that are present within our communities and to translate it into daily action. She challenges us to work toward a future where every person can succeed and flourish–“for not one of us will ever be free until we are all free.”  Lorde encourages us to recognize that our words and our actions can make an impact on the world and the people around us.

 
   
 

Staying Connected: Updates about COVID-19 and WLRC/CAN

 
 
Aerial photo of UIC's campus 
 

WLRC will be working remotely for the Spring 2021 semester. We can be reached at wlrc@uic.edu and will continue to stay connected with you through email and social media.

The Campus Advocacy Network will continue to serve UIC students, faculty, and staff. Our confidential advocate is available for virtual appointments via phone, video conference, online chat, or email. To schedule a meeting or request more information, please email can-appointment@uic.edu. You can also call (312) 413-8206 and leave a voicemail.

More info & resources

 
   
 

CCUSC Events & Resources

 
 
CCUSC logo: "Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change" in red text on a white background, with the UIC red circle to the left. 
 

UIC's Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change will all be open and available virtually this semester! Click each center's name below for this week's events, services, and resources:

 
 
Hate has no home here.  Our rich identities would not exist without diverse voices and perspectives. We condemn racism and xenophobia in all forms, including the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in recent weeks and since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  We stand in solidarity with the Asian and Asian American communities, as well as Pacific Islanders impacted by anti-Asian hate and violence, now and always.  For more resources visit StopAAPIHate.org. #StopAAPIHate #StopAsianHate 
 

Hate Has No Home Here

WLRC and CAN condemn the recent racist and xenophobic attacks on Asian Americans, and the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

We know that hate-driven violence against any minoritized group affects all of us, in big and small ways. We want to also name that gender-based violence and targeting of women and LGBT folks is one way that hate crimes manifest.

We stand in solidarity with Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities now and always, and will not allow these or any similar incidents to pit any of our UIC communities against others, whether on campus or in the larger city, state or country.

For more resources visit StopAAPIHate.org.
#StopAAPIHate #StopAsianHate

 
   
 

Campus Opportunities

 
 

What Does Feminist Activism Mean to You? 
Wednesday, March 3 | 4pm CST

For feminists the person is political! Are you interested in growing your activism? Join UIC feminist activist, Sarah Ngonmedje, Adriana Castrillon, and Dr. Nadine Naber for a discussion of what feminst activism looks like today. 

Wellness Center: How to Prep For an Exam
Wednesday, March 3 | 5 - 6:15 pm CST

During the panel, students will have the opportunity to ask Undergraduate and Graduate upperclassmen what their most effective studying tips are. Attend the panel to ask students from all years and majors questions about studying, college, and UIC. Your friends at the Wellness Center will also share tips on how to create a stress free study space! 

Student-Led Town Hall & Vent Session
Thursday, March 4 | 6:30 - 8:00 pm CST

A coalition of students and organizations present: a Student-Led Town Hall (for students, by students) to create a space for students to vent about their school experiences during the pandemic. Almost 1,500 students filled out the Burnout needs assessment. They will address issues happening in UIC and around our community — and how you can take action.

Alpha Phi Gamma Presents: A Sky Full of Star Performance Audition
Friday, March 5 | due 11:59pm CST

This event is specifically focused on raising awareness towards domestic violence and sexual assault, a cause that is so prevalent in our society today. A variety of performances will be showcased throughout the evening. Please ensure that the performance highlights the issue of domestic violence and/or sexual assault and complete the form to qualify for an initial screening. 

UIC Study: LGBTQ+ Pleasure-Based Sex Education Research Study

Are you a LBGTQ+ UIC student that is 18 years or older? Are you interested in volunteering to participate in a research study about sex education and pleasure? Consider participating in this anonymous 10-15 minute long survey.

 
   
 

Community Opportunities

 
 

"Building Together": Prison Organizing in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond
Friday, March 5 | 12-1pm CST

Join the University of Chicago's Pozen Center Human Rights Lab and their Mass Incarceration Working Group for a discussion with historian Dan Berger and activist Clifton “Skye” Williamson about the current conditions within jails and prisons, how the impact of COVID-19 informs prison organizing, and abolition as an obligation to those most vulnerable.

¡ACTIVISTA! An International Women's Day Celebration Framing Solidarity Through Culture
Sunday, March 7 | 4-6:00pm CST

The program includes performances from women-identified artists, speakers, and messages from places located throughout the world. This free event is focused on concerns that impact the lives of women and reflect issues that represent the overarching values of the producers - climate change, access to health care (clean water, housing, childcare), immigration, safe provisions for family life, economic mobility and self-determination.

What Do Women Say? Celebrating 25 Years of Centering Women Artists!
Monday, March 8 | 1pm CST

Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, presents This year’s program features Board president and resident artist, Nora El Samahy in conversation with founding artistic director, Torange Yeghiazarian on a journey highlighting Golden Thread's 25-year history of placing Middle Eastern women artists center stage.

 
   
 

Connect with us!

 
 
Icons for website, Instagram, Facebook,and Twitter 
 

Website:
Have you checked out our websites (WLRC and CAN)? We add lots of useful content throughout the year, so be sure to bookmark both!

Get social with us!
We post regularly on WLRC's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and on CAN's Facebook.

 
 

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