Upcoming Events, UIC Supports Our Asian American Community
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In this issue:
  • A note from our director
  • The Breathing Room
  • Additional Upcoming WLRC events
  • Staying Connected: Updates about COVID-19 and WLRC/CAN
  • CCUSC events
  • Campus opportunities
  • Community opportunities
  • Connect with us!
A note from our director

To Be Essential

The semester is drawing to a close.

If you are completing your studies at UIC this semester--congratulations! Taken together, your perseverance, hard work, mistakes, successes, and awakenings make your journey unique to you. We are proud to celebrate this milestone with you in the days ahead!

If you still have a way to go--whether summer classes or another academic year or two--we encourage you to keep going and to stay connected with us--and all available university resources--to get the support that you need to make it across your finish line.

Over the past few weeks, time has taken on a different meaning than before the pandemic rearranged our lives. Without the usual structures imposed by routines--whether commuting, appointments, deadlines, classes, and or even bedtime--days have flowed into each other, making March feel like the longest month ever! If April seems to have flown by at warp speed, it may be that we have begun to internalize social distancing and reliance on virtual engagement with co-workers, family, and community. Still, enough of us are dreaming of planting gardens and returning to life outside that I think there is a part of us that has not surrendered to quarantine life.

One thing is sure: the politics of the recovery from the pandemic will affect the lives of faculty, staff, and students in many ways, and for a long time. For example, calls for student loan forgiveness will have particular implications for women, and especially for Black women. As elected political leaders debate when to bring shelter in place policy to a close, activists and advocates paying attention to the particular impact of COVID-19 on marginalized groups--African Americans, undocumented immigrants, low-wage workers, survivors of sexual violence, people with disabilities, incarcerated people--are asking important questions such as: who will be sacrificed in the rush to “re-open the economy”? How can we work to ensure a stronger safety net for people who were already vulnerable before the pandemic?

The category of “essential worker” has become part of our pandemic vocabulary. And yet, we have also learned that the pre-pandemic structural inequities are defining who gets ill. Since the 1990s, intersectional feminist scholarship has documented how class, race, and gender intersect to shape who works in what we now call “essential” jobs and where the jobs sit in the economic hierarchy. Not surprisingly then, many of those who are being expected to keep various sectors going are also among the lowest paid and at highest risk of contracting COVID-19: women of color, immigrants, people employed in caring work.

While there is wider visibility, recognition, and respect of the key role that healthcare workers play in containing the pandemic, the media representations of such have largely centered white nurses and physicians. You could never know that Filipina, Indian (Kerala),and Afro-Caribbean immigrant nurses are key figures in pandemic hotspots like London, Chicago, and New York City. What does it mean when immigrant healthcare workers get sick and die during the pandemic? Who will take care of their families and communities who depend on their remittances in their countries of origin as national economies constrict both here and abroad? How will the futures of the children they support be affected? These are important questions that are not always at the front of our minds. From the media stories then, we are also learning about the enduring racial hierarchies within healthcare fields that shape which women workers are recognized as important and even essential. Many of our UIC students who are studying nursing, medicine, and allied health fields are first- and second-generation immigrants. As they get ready to graduate and take their place in fields that are changing and adjusting to the pandemic, I hope that they will learn about those who came before them, and continue the important work of making their disciplines and fields more inclusive.

Closer to home, how can we organize--inside and outside the university--to hold onto the beneficial policies that are being enacted during the emergency period? What are the lessons we have learned--about generosity, flexibility, possibility, community--from this pandemic moment that we will need to rely on for months and years to come?

Through faculty members’ interactions with their students, we are learning that members of our UIC community are already in mourning. There must be a way to formally recognize the losses suffered due to COVID-19. I hope that we can make space for such collective grieving in the near future.

Universities around the country, including UIC, are trying to figure out what a fall semester will look like: Online? In-person classes? A hybrid? What will happen to administrative staff? Maintenance workers? Contingent faculty? Graduate student workers? Emergency funding? Job and internship opportunities for undergraduate students? Budget cuts are nearly certain as institutions come up with their own formula for recovery. If the public discussions about such tell us anything, we are not hearing enough about how state universities like UIC--whose populations are primarily first-generation college students, students from low-income families, and commuters rather than residential--plan to address the additional stressors on their student population.

Still, April is ending on a strong note.

If there is any moment to remind ourselves about the enduring importance of building solidarities among radical feminists of color during difficult times, I think Thursday, April 30 counts as an extraordinary day:

At 3pm CST, check out “Sisters + Siblings In The Struggle” on Instagram Live, where the organizations Black Women Radicals and Asian American Feminist Collective will come together to share analyses around COVID-19 and the post-pandemic future we want to build.

Immediately after that (5pm CST), hop on over to a virtual celebration of INCITE! and 20 years of badass radical feminists of color organizing against all forms of violence. Founders and leaders of this organization include UIC Professors Beth Richie (African American Studies and Criminology) and Nadine Naber (Gender & Women’s Studies and Global Asian Studies). INCITE gave us abolition feminism and asked us to think critically about the linkages between interpersonal and state violence. Rather than embrace policing and prisons as necessary responses to violence, we are pushed to consider how policing, prisons, surveillance are themselves consequences as well as forms of violence.

Closer to home, we hope this week’s programming will fill your souls in different ways.

Thursday, April 30 is the final meeting of this semester’s Black Hair Quilt Project. We will discuss the Netflix series “Self Made” inspired by the life of Madame C.J. Walker, an African American woman who became wealthy by making products for Black women’s hair, along with the short film “The Big Chop” in the Issa Rae Presents series on YouTube.

On Friday, we continue Write at WLRC at 10am.

The Breathing Room (noon – 1pm Friday) will feature fibre artist and craftivist Shannon Downey of Badass Cross Stitch. Bring your crafts and crafting friends to join a conversation about the many ways one can use needle and thread to channel feminist fury.

Closing out the semester on just the right note: at 4pm Friday, the UIC Asian and Asian American Student Collective and faculty from UIC’s Global Asian Studies Program lead a teach-in on “Yellow Peril & COVID-19” to educate the larger community about the history of anti-Asian racism and the various forms and experiences of activism by Asian American students.

The breadth of perspectives and insight offered through this week’s programs hint at some of the ways our faculty, staff, students, and wider community are helping us to reimagine essential knowledge. I believe that we need these ideas, practices, activism, creativity, and commitments to help us chart a more just post-pandemic future. Let me know what you think!

With care and solidarity,
Natalie Bennett

The Breathing Room

Join us in The Breathing Room, a place to unwind, heal, and find community. We'll be sharing reflections, creative and scholarly endeavors, and activity ideas in this newsletter, on our website, on our social media, and in a weekly Zoom session.

Embroidered image with black thread on white fabric: a sign that says "Do something that makes you feel strong + powerful" with the top of a person's head peeking out from the top and their hands holding it on the sides 

Craftivism during a Pandemic

Friday, May 1, 2020
Registration required for Zoom info

Shannon Downey of Badass Cross Stitch will lead us in a discussion of how artists and crafters use their skills for social justice, in good times and bad. How can this work help us get through a crisis and find community? On the practical side, how do folks keep their arts and crafts businesses afloat during a pandemic?

CART live captioning will be provided.

A man with a white cap, round glasses, a curly mustache, and a red and yellow kerchief tied around his neck looks into the camera 

Poetry Sharing with "The Flying Busman"

Friday, May 8, 2020
Registration required for Zoom info

This week we’ll be joined by special guest Mickey “The Flying Busman” Mahan, a retired bus driver whose talents and interests include poetry, jumping on a pogo stick, painting, making s’mores, playing guitar, and much more! He will be sharing his poetic and musical talents with us, and we invite you to do the same! If you have any poems that you’d like to share, whether they are written by you or someone else, we’d love to hear them. Help us create a space of sharing poetry and art during this isolating time.

CART live captioning will be provided.

A woman with brown hair tied back, wearing a teal sleeveless dress, smiles at the camera. 

Calling for a Feminist Foreign Policy to Confront the Pandemic

Friday, May 15, 2020
Registration required for Zoom info

Dr. Nadine Naber, professor in Gender and Women's Studies and Global Asian Studies at UIC, will facilitate a conversation about ending militarism in the U.S. and globally while taking seriously the impact of U.S. war abroad on indigenous, immigrant, and people of color in the U.S., especially women and gender non-conforming people.

CART live captioning will be provided.

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Women of Color Podcasts

Check out some inspiring and informative podcasts that we are loving right now! What are your favorite podcasts?

Additional Upcoming WLRC Events
Five black women cutting and sewing quilt fabric 

Black Hair Quilt Project

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Registration required for Zoom info: Email UICBlackHairQuilt@gmail.com

We're moving to a virtual space! We invite Black women students to participate in a collaborative art project that explores the stories that Black women tell about their hair. Over the Spring 2020 semester, each participant will work with a fiber artist to design and stitch an individual quilt square while learning about Black women’s quilting traditions and engaging in conversation about what love, joy, family, politics, trauma, fashion, and resistance have to do with Black hair.

Aerial view of pencils, notebooks, papers, and a cell phone on a desk. 

Write @ WLRC

Fridays: May 1, 8, and 15, 2020
10am - 12pm
Registration required for Zoom info

Need to finish your semester grading? 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 weekly virtual write onsite space for graduate students, faculty, and staff!

Aerial photo of UIC's campus 

WLRC will be physically closed for the duration of spring semester and the first part of summer. Staff are working remotely and can be reached at wlrc@uic.edu. We will continue to stay connected with you through social media and email.

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

We are open to connecting with you in multiple ways:

  • Phone: (312) 413-8206 or (312) 488-9784
  • Video conference (Webex or Google Hangouts)
  • Online chat (Google Chats)
  • Email

For those living with violence, having to isolate or self-quarantine oneself can make a situation more unsafe. We are here to answer questions and provide support if you or a loved one is in a situation like this. If you are looking for shelter, food, or safety planning, please reach out to CAN to learn the options available on and off campus. We also encourage you to check in with friends and family who may be vulnerable and share our contact information with them.

More info & resources

CCUSC Events & Resources
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UIC's Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change are bringing you virtual programming! Click each center's name below for details on events, services, resources, and ways to connect on social media:

African-American Cultural Center

Arab American Cultural Center

Asian American Resource and Cultural Center

Disability Cultural Center

Gender and Sexuality Center

Latino Cultural Center

Office of Diversity

People standing at a demonstration against anti-Asian racism 

UIC Takes a Stand Against Anti-Asian/American Racism and Xenophobia

Statement from UIC Administration

On April 27, Chancellor Amiridis, Provost Poser, and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Barish released a statement of support for Asians and Asian Americans at UIC during COVID-19.

Yellow Peril and COVID-19 Teach-In

Friday, May 1, 4-5:30pm
Email jsong58@uic.edu to register

Join UIC students for an interactive teach-in contextualizing the rise in anti-Asian violence amid COVID-19 within the long history of anti-Asian racism. Learn how the Asian American student movement emerged from transnational, multiracial struggles that continues today through UIC Asian and Asian American student activism.

Teaching Against Racism

UIC Global Asian Studies faculty have developed an open-ended set of resources that speak to racism and xenophobia in the age of COVID-19, with a focus on discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans at the moment--but also more broadly linking this political economic moment to issues of structural racism and violence that other communities of color are facing. To suggest additional resources, email teachingraceandcovid19@gmail.com.

Stigma and COVID-19: Viruses Do Not Discriminate

WLRC teamed up with the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Office of International Services, and the Office of the Dean of Students to develop a resource guide for combatting anti-Asian racism tied to COVID-19. Please share with your communities.

Campus Opportunities
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GWS 290/CRN 22305: From Belly Dancers to Terrorists: The Middle East in Hollywood Movies

Summer course with Professor Nadine Naber
Tues-Thurs: 10:45am-1:15pm

What is the connection between U.S. interventions in the Middle East and portrayals of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood? What do gender and sexuality have to do with these portrayals? How do media images impact the lives of Arabs and Muslims in their homelands and in the U.S.? The course will focus on the post-cold war era of U.S. interventions in the Middle East to 9/11 and to the recent rise in white supremacy. Students will also engage with media counter-cultures like independent Arab and Arab American film, stand-up comedy, and hip hop. Overall, students will develop tools for engaging in the changing landscape of U.S. race, gender, sexuality, nationalism and empire building.


Mental Health, Structural Violence and You
Thursday, April 30 at 10am

The UIC Office of Community Engagement invites you to a session for individuals, community organizations, faculty, researchers, and community residents that are interested in discussing how stigma and discrimination drives the higher rates of mental health problems in LGBTQ communities, and ways of using healing to address structural violence.

CareerIgnite Online Networking Live Chat Session
Thursday, April 30, 12-1pm

Join Career Services for a live chat on virtual networking.

Flames @ the Ready: A Self-Defense Seminar for UIC Students
Thursday, April 30, 2-3pm

UIC students are invited to join Wing Tsun Illinois for a virtual self-defense seminar covering
· De-escalation Techniques
· El-Train and Public Transit Scenarios
· Attacker Mentality
· Situational Awareness.

Sponsored by Commuter and Off-Campus Life, Undergraduate Student Government, Center for Student Involvement, Fraternity and Sorority Life, UIC Alumni Association, New Student and Family Programs, Residential Housing Association, and the Wellness Center.


COVID-19 Emergency Grants for UIC Students

If you are eligible for the COVID-19 Emergency Grant, your portal at https://my.uic.edu/uPortal/f/welcome/normal/render.uP has been updated with a document for you to complete and upload. You should have received an email notification informing you that the requirement is posted. Please complete the document immediately as applications will not be accepted after May 8, 2020.

COVID-19 LAS Scholarship Support

The LAS Dean’s Office is pleased to offer a limited number of scholarship awards (up to $1,000) to LAS students who require assistance with educational expenses (e.g. tuition, fees, housing, books or other unforeseen expenses) due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you have any questions about this application, please contact lasscholarships@uic.edu


Masks for MOMs Needs Your Help!

Masks for MOMS wants to get reusable cloth face masks to the moms and moms-to-be who need them for labor, delivery, and prenatal visits in the Chicagoland area. We are currently looking for volunteers to help us make as many masks as possible. By working together, we can support pregnant Illinoisans and reduce the anxiety of going to doctors’ appointments or the other necessary errands, especially if using public transportation.  Sponsored by the UIC Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health.

COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Students

The Office of Diversity wants to make sure our undocumented immigrant community is aware of the internal and external resources available to support you during this time. For any additional questions, please contact Tanya Cabrera, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Inclusion, at tcabrera@uic.edu or (312) 355-0011.

Ways to Support Students during Ramadan (April 23 - May 23, 2020)

Our friends at the Arab American Cultural Center have created this helpful resource for supporting our students during Ramadan.

Call for Submissions: Six Feet Apart: Stories from UIC during COVID-19

The UIC Library’s Special Collections and University Archives, UIC Humanities In Medicine student group (HuMed), and the UIC College of Medicine are launching a project to document how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting life at UIC and need your stories, photos and artwork!

Call for Submissions: UIC Counseling Center COVID-10 Video Advocacy Project

In response to the violence and discrimination against Asian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UIC Counseling Center is developing a short video featuring UIC students, faculty, and staff to highlight how our community can take action. We are hoping to elevate the voices of those who have been impacted by discrimination and xenophobia.

UIC Solidarity Network Slack

The UIC Solidarity Network is a student-led initiative to create a collective space for all of us to stay connected, build community, share and access resources, and support one another. This is an incredibly difficult and isolating time for all of us, and it's important that we use our resources and capacities to care for each other to the best of our abilities. On this platform, you will find resources for financial assistance, local & neighborhood mutual aid projects, a job board, COVID-19 resources for various communities (including multilingual), free social distancing activities, and more. This is intended to be a living and fluid space for all of us to contribute to and shape to meet our needs and interests. 

Call for Participants: Pregnancy and Birth During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

Dr. Kylea Liese and Dr. Julienne Rutherford of the UIC College of Nursing seek participants for a research study on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted women’s experience and choices surrounding pregnancy and birth. Adults who are currently pregnant or have given birth since January 2020 may be eligible.

Campus Recreation Online Fitness Classes

UIC Campus Recreation is offering daily group fitness classes, including Bodyweight, Core Training, BollyX, and Flow. They are also starting new eSports leagues for FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA2K, and NHL (registration required).

Fill Out the Census!

UIC's Census Team wants you to fill out the Census! Help your community receive the funding and services it needs! Respond via website, phone, or mail:  2020census.gov

Please note: Your answers are private and will not be shared with federal agencies or law enforcement entities.

Community Opportunities
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Surviving the Mic: Virtually Together
Thursday, April 30, 2-4:30pm

Join this weekly online space dedicated to the perspectives, experiences, and artistic expressions of survivors of sexual harm. Each week, the virtual space will be shaped by whoever shows up but will always include a writing prompt facilitated by the survivor-led volunteer team of Surviving the Mic and the Community Engagement department of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

Abolition Feminism: Celebrating 20 Years of INCITE!
Thursday, April 30, 6-9pm

Join founders and generations of leaders of INCITE! for a discussion of the origins, genealogies, and futures of abolition feminism. Abolition feminism, and its roots in grassroots anti-violence organizing by women, trans and gender nonconforming people of color, is particularly relevant in this moment of heightened attention on movements advocating abolition and resisting incarceration of our communities - and of backlash rooted in carceral feminism.

Call for Participants: Sexual Violence Among Muslims in North America: A Cross-Sectional Study

HEART Women & Girls and Loyola University Chicago's Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL) seek participants for a study to better understand sexual violence, sexual health, and barriers to services in Muslim communities.

Call for Volunteers: Title IX Comment Catalog Project

This is a "crowd-researched" project to catalog each of the comments filed in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in November 2018 regarding Title IX and sexual harassment ("Title IX NPRM"). To participate, please visit the website, click the "I want to adopt 20 comments" button, and follow the instructions to catalog each comment in your batch. No specialized knowledge or skills are required.

Connect with us!
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Please send announcements for inclusion in our weekly newsletter by 11am Mondays: wlrc@uic.edu.


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