Here we are; Year-end celebrations & acknowledgments
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In this issue:

  • A Note from WLRC's Director
  • 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


Here we are

At the close of the academic year, we are collectively feeling tiredness, anticipation, relief, joy, a tinge of sadness, but also wanting the structure of it to give way so that we can take a breath before beginning the next thing. Whether that’s a new job, a summer class, an internship, a coveted summer research program, a writing project, even a report that we postponed until “we have more time to focus,” it will take shape under a somewhat different set of circumstances. If exhaling at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year is supposed to feel easier and less fraught than a year ago due to the availability of multiple vaccines that reduce possibility of infection and death, we still have a long way to go. From the many possibilities for mutations, to the penchant for rightwing and conservative governments to ignore epidemiological science and encourage a hands-off approach to dealing with public health and wellbeing, the shapeshifting of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact our daily lives for months to come. When we hear the news stories of India, Nepal, and England, we should recall December 2019, and recognize that our world is interconnected. We should ask ourselves: what do we stand to lose if we wear a mask? What do we risk if we do not?

Over the past year, the scope of human suffering around us has been deep and wide: too much to bear, and not enough opportunities to mourn, grieve, or to celebrate. Our students suffered tremendously; some got COVID-19 and so did their family members. They lost income but also worked throughout the pandemic, sometimes having their economic survival take precedence over their academic responsibilities. Many—not all—faculty did adjust how they taught, and sought to be more empathetic and responsive to students so that everyone could make it through the semesters. Several universities have been doing studies about the effect of the pandemic on “productivity” of women faculty. I hope they are looking at mental health and wellbeing as well. I imagine that both our faculty and administrative staff are experiencing a kind of mental exhaustion that is unprecedented: they have had to work far more, harder, and longer because the pace of the institution never slowed down during the pandemic. Not once.

I imagine that there are UIC staff who have not taken a day off since March 2020 and who felt guilt for taking a vacation. Rather, they have spent their time balancing the many demands—the mundaneness of childcare, cooking, cleaning, caring for elderly parents, checking in on relatives and community members, education of their children, keeping themselves safe from the virus while also trying to ensure that they fulfill work-related expectations—without much institutional support or recognition of all that they do to keep going. I hope that when researchers do a full accounting of what it has meant to “work from home” during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will pay particular attention to how universities were able to remain open and running while claiming financial loss, and the social and emotional costs absorbed by the many women whose labor was necessary for such.

This is also a moment of the year when we are particularly attuned to the dreams and aspirations of families, children, and the next generation. Graduation season has begun. Here at UIC, among our graduating students are those who are the first in their entire families to attend and finish college. It is still a sobering thought—and a marker of the profound injustices that haunt this society—that a college education is still out of the reach of too many people. And so, we are lucky that these students chose UIC to shift the trajectory of their family histories. For those whose relatives did not survive the COVID-19 pandemic to see them complete this leg of their education journey, we hope that this latest cohort of alums know that their ancestors are always bearing witness to their struggles and joys, albeit from afar.

At the same time, I am reminded about the many children whose chances of being the first, or one of many, to graduate from college, have been eclipsed by state violence and the unhealthy relationship between masculinities and guns in this society. We wish that Ma’Khia Bryant, Jaslyn Adams, Ny’Andra Dyer, Adam Toledo, and, Katricia “Tree” Africa had been allowed to live long enough to become college students. Who knows, maybe a public university like UIC would have been part of their family’s education journey.

WLRC has been a part of many UIC students’ intellectual, political, and professional journeys over its 30 years of existence. For sure, this is a story that needs to be told better, louder, and more consistently. As part of WLRC’s 30th anniversary programs, we organized a panel featuring students who have worked with the center as interns, graduate assistants, volunteers, and part-time staff over the years (video coming soon). Each panelist offered unique and beautiful insights into what the center meant to their lives as students and long after they left the center. At a moment when we find ourselves still having to explain that WLRC exists, and why a women’s and gender equity center still matters on this campus, the student panel provided excellent insight into such. Taken together, the panelists’ thoughtful responses encourage faculty and university administrators alike to consider how teaching, learning, and community life might be enhanced by recognizing the contributions that centers like ours make, and to consider what UIC’s women students—at the graduate, undergraduate, and professional levels, and by extension the entire campus—stand to lose by not doing so.

This is an especially poignant issue because non-recognition of the importance of WLRC’s work on the campus takes many forms, not least of which is in where it is located physically, its proximity to campus life, and its capacity to fully serve the university community. And so, for the third time in a 10-year period, WLRC (including CAN, which provides survivor services and education about gender-based violence to the entire campus of many thousands of students and hundreds of faculty and staff) is being asked to pack up, change locations, and expend energies building out a new identity and relationships in relation to where we are located next. Why? For reasons that are about money and value and many other things need to be discussed at another time. We do not have a new location or timeline confirmed for the move yet, so watch this space for more announcements. For the 2021-2022 academic year, most or all of our programming will take place virtually.

In the meantime, this is also a moment to consider how you would explain the “value” of WLRC on this campus. Why does a women’s and gender equity center matter on a campus where the majority of students are women, and the majority of undergraduate students are women of color, often pursuing majors and areas of study that do not always welcome them, often coming from historically unrepresented, economically and socially marginalized communities, and are among the first of their families to complete college and graduate education? How do we move beyond representation and re-center the dominant perspectives on “diversity” at UIC to focus on intersectional rather than single-vision ways of thinking, teaching, planning, supporting our students so they can become the scholar-, activist- and intellectual leaders of today and tomorrow? We look forward to these conversations in the months to come.

In the meantime, just a few shout-outs to UIC women whose creative, academic, and activist work constantly push UIC to be a better, more inclusive, and more just campus:

  • Hana Rafee – an undergraduate Visual Artist-in-Residence for the Global Asian Studies program, senior, majoring in Graphic Design and who designs AARCC’s flyers and booklets. See Hana’s latest work, “Faces of GLAS.”
  • Winners of this year’s Grace Holt Awards: Prevail Bonga (undergraduate), Sekordri Ojo (graduate, History) and Sangi Ravichandran (graduate, Sociology).
  • SEIU Local 73 workers received the “Bolder Worker Justice Award” from the Grassroots Collaborative.
  • Last but not least: WLRC’s student staff who are graduating this spring: Tiffany Hamling and Jazmin Vega. The campus community has benefited from their contributions to programming in ways that will outlast them. Tiffany is the steward of the Sounds of Feminism Among her many contributions to the campus and to the center, including making sure that the weekly newsletter is chockful of goodness, Jazmin co-organized the recent panel on Black and Latinx women leaders at UIC. We will miss both of them!

And there are many more folks to celebrate: let us know who else we should mention in our next newsletter!

Until then, take care of yourselves and each other,

Natalie Bennett


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

"PHOENIX RISING Collective" in red block letters above "UIC Women's Leadership and Resource Center" in black block letters. To the left of the words is a red phoenix rising above orange flames. 

Join WLRC's Phoenix Rising Collective!

Are you a student leader in a campus organization that is led by women and/or committed to gender equity? Join our Phoenix Rising Collective for the 2021-2022 academic year!

Learn about feminist and anti-oppressive approaches to leadership development and activism to build stronger organizations that support your members’ academic and professional journeys.

Join us for an info session on Monday, May 17 or email for more info.

Sonya Donaldson wearing a light yellow jacket and smiling toward the camera, on a maroon background with white and yellow text describing the event. 

Video: Singing the Nation: "Memory, Meaning, and Resistance in 'Lift Every Voice and Sing'"

If you missed our February 25 Black History Month event with Dr. Sonya Donaldson or want to rewatch it, the video is now available on our YouTube channel!

In her digital humanities project, “Singing the Nation into Being,” Dr. Sonya Donaldson has created an archive of performances, remixes, and mashups of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” aka the Black National Anthem. Building on this research, Dr. Donaldson spoke about the ways that Black women's voices have been used in public performances, including this song, to promote a sense of "we-ness" at different moments in U.S. history.

Crystal Kelley Schwartz and Dr. Johari Jabir smiling toward the camera. 

Video: Signing the Nation: ASL Performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

The video of our special March 18 event with the Disability Cultural Center is now available!

Celebrate Black Deaf communities and the expressive power of American Sign Language! Crystal Kelley Schwartz, performer and educator, performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing," popularly known as the Black National Anthem, spoke about its significance, and taught the audience a portion of the song in ASL. Dr. Johari Jabir, musician, scholar, and faculty in UIC Black Studies, provided an introduction.

Headshots of the 6 guest speakers 

Video: Sustaining Centers of Care, Community, and Resistance

The video of our first 30th anniversary event on March 30 is now available!

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 this roundtable conversation, center leaders across Illinois reflected on their centers’ histories, what emboldens/challenges/inspires them, and their visions for the future.


CAN News & Upcoming Events


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 feminist struggles 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.

Tarana Burke, an African American woman, wearing a long blue dress against a blue, red, and pink background 

MeToo is a Movement, Not a Moment

“This is a movement about the far-reaching power of empathy. And so it’s about the millions and millions of people who, one year ago, raised their hands to say, “Me too,” and their hands are still raised while the media that they consume erases them and politicians who they elected to represent them pivot away from solutions.”

In this important talk, Tarana Burke, creator of the “Me Too” Movement, reflects on the impact of what has become a global movement and calls on society to dismantle the power and privilege that are the building blocks of sexual violence.


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 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 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 (all times CDT):

Headshots of Janaé Bonsu and Ash Stephens on a white background with a border of black and purple flower vines. In the bottom corners are two loudspeakers with flower vines coming out of them. 

15th Annual Lavender Graduation
Friday, May 7, 2021 | 5-6:30pm CDT

Join the Gender and Sexuality Center for a virtual graduation dedicated to graduating LGBTQIA+ students. Keynote speakers: Janaé Bonsu and Ash Stephens.

Red and blue text describing the event on a light orange background 

Arab American Cultural Center Graduation Haflah Celebration
Friday, May 14, 2021 | 6-7:30pm CDT

Join us to celebrate our graduating students! We will toast their accomplishments and listen to their stories. We'll honor the graduates, showcase talent, and have fun with the wonderful Ronnie Malley and Layali Chicago (Chicago Nights Band).

On a white and coral background, an aqua desktop computer shows a box with a checkmark and gray title text. Below the computer image is a blue rectangle with access info in white text, and at the very bottom is a series of logos for the co-sponsors. 

To Disclose or Not to Disclose: Disability, Accommodations, and Employment: Making Informed Choices
Thursday, May 20, 2021 | 3-4:15pm CDT

UIC Students and Alumni: Are you currently job searching? Unsure about disclosing your disability on job applications? Wondering why employers ask about your disability status, and how the information is used? Join us for answers to these questions! This webinar will also give advice about requesting accommodations and sharing your disability status at different points during the job search process.

Yellow and white text on a purple background about what Muslims do during Ramadan and key terms. 

Ramadan Mubarak / Ramadan Kareem!

Ramadan is April 12 - May 11 this year. The Arab American Cultural Center has created several downloadable resources to share with your communities, including religious traditions, key terms, and how to support students and colleagues who are fasting.

The Muslim Alliance for Sexual & Gender Diversity (MASGD), in collaboration with groups like the Chicago-based Masjid al-Rabia, has coordinated a great lineup of inclusive Ramadan programs.

Twitter user @dinapapii has also created a lovely Ramadan planner you can download and use.

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 #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


Campus Opportunities



University Library's Virtual Wall of Encouragement
Through May 7, 2021

Add your notes of encouragement for finals week and view other students' notes on the UIC Library's Wall of Encouragement! Tell us something you have learned during the pandemic, how you are taking care of yourself during finals, and how others can support you.

UIC IRRPP Faculty WriteOut
May 17 – 21, 2021 I 9am - 3pm CDT

Are you a UIC faculty member studying race and ethnicity and would like writing support? IRRPP is now accepting applications for Faculty WriteOut!, our one-week, writing-intensive retreat geared towards UIC faculty from all disciplines who research issues of race and/or ethnicity, and who need support and structure for their writing. Each retreat aims to foster accountability with flexibility and IRRPP will hold two Faculty WriteOut! retreats this summer: one May 17-21 (no writing coaching), and one July 12-16 (with writing coaching). For more information about Faculty WriteOut!, email

UIC IRRPP Graduate Student WriteOut
May 24 – 28, 2021 I 9am - 3pm CDT

Are you a UIC graduate student studying race and ethnicity and would like writing support? IRRPP is now accepting applications for Grad Student WriteOut!, our one-week, writing-intensive retreat geared towards UIC graduate students from all disciplines who research issues of race and/or ethnicity, and who need support and structure for their writing. Each retreat aims to foster accountability with flexibility and IRRPP will hold two Grad Student WriteOut! retreats this summer: one May 24-28, and one August 2-6. For general information about Grad Student WriteOut!, email



Center for Research on Women and Gender: Visiting Research Specialist, Health Sciences
Applications Due May 7, 2021

The CRWG seeks a PhD-level candidate to assist with research related to women's health, with a focus on maternal health.



Coronavirus/COVID-19 and Pregnancy Study (CAPS)

Researchers from the University of Illinois are requesting your participation to help understand how the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting women during pregnancy.

If you are 18 years of age or older and currently pregnant or have given birth on or after March 1st, 2020, you are being invited to participate in this research survey which includes questions on your health, pregnancy experience, feelings, and other life changes related to Coronavirus/COVID-19.

Please feel free to share this invitation with anyone you think may be eligible to participate in our study.

This online survey takes 15-25 minutes to complete, and participants can enter a drawing for a $20 gift card after submitting the completed survey.


Community Opportunities



Black Feminisms: Emerging Scholars and Creatives Series
April 20 - May 25, 2021

Join the DePaul University Center for Black Diaspora for an insightful series of talks that seek to explore the complexity of Black women's relationship to feminism and ways that Black women have and continue to articulate their own manifestations of it to create plurality in Black Feminism.

8th Annual Mother's Day Vigil at Cook County Jail

May 8, 2021 I 11:00am - 12:00pm CST

Join Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration and friends for the 8th Annual Mother's Day vigil outside Cook County Jail. We will honor (with/as) mamas inside and out. We will CELEBRATE survival, and uplift freedom fights. We will safely distance and strongly encourage double-masking if you can. We strongly encouraged mamas who've been inside, advocates/organizers leading freedom campaigns for loved ones to speak. Reach out to if that's you! Please also reach out with any ideas or concerns!

UN Women Chicago's Women in Leadership Forum

May 20th, 2021 | 6-7:30 p.m. CST

Are you a young STEM professional dreaming of using your talents to create solutions for global issues? Are you a woman in STEM looking to meet and learn from other women in the field? Are you interested in in STEM? Hosted by Mónica Fonseca, UN Environmental Ambassador and Colombian-American television presenter, the forum features international and Chicago-based women STEM leaders who are changing the face of the field right now! 



NWSA Scholarships and Awards
Application deadlines vary

Each year, NWSA, in coordination with different NWSA caucuses, offers multiple awards for current members. Current open awards include the Women of Color Caucus-Frontiers Student Essay Award, Trans/Gender-Variant Caucus Award, and Graduate Scholarship.

#Atlanta Syllabus: An Asian American Studies Perspective on Anti-Asian Violence in 2021

On March 16, 2021, eight people were killed at Atlanta-area spa businesses — six of whom were Asian women. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic there had been an alarming surge in violent attacks and hate crimes targeting Asians, and these episodes must be understood within larger discourses of disease and contagion that have long surrounded Asian immigrants and our communities. The #AtlantaSyllabus was designed for those who want to better understand this incident and this moment in all of their complexity. Created by Dr. Lori Lopez, Dr. Lisa Ho, and Dr. Erica Kanesaka Kalnay from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Asian American Studies Program. 


Connect with us!

Icons for website, Instagram, Facebook,and Twitter 

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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