For the six Asian women in Georgia...
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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

 
 

For the six Asian women who worked at Young’s Asian Massage, Gold Spa, and Aroma Therapy Spa in Cherokee and Fulton Counties, Georgia, and who were killed on the evening of Tuesday, March 16:

I want to know who they are: their names, favorite foods to eat, least liked TV shows, funniest childhood memories, how they spent their time, what their families are like, where they liked to hang out, what they liked to read, favorite songs, etc.

It is still early, and yet the mainstream media has reverted to time-honored practices of misattributing racist and misogynist violence committed by white men against people of color. 

For a moment longer, I hope that we can resist those efforts that are populating our phones and email accounts.  Instead, let’s focus on who is being harmed by and forced to do the collective emotional and political work of responding to this latest attack.

There is mourning, as the women’s families, friends, coworkers, and the communities to which they have belonged mark the violent ways they have been taken from us during an already difficult time.

There is rage, as Asian American women—and many racialized women of color—wake up this morning to what has now become a routine response to assaults on our collective lives: media coverage driven by the “what could have caused this?” question; a show of force by police and state prosecutors; the “thoughts and prayers” mantra from politicians; and organized protests, vigils, and statements of solidarity and support.

There will be calls for [more, better, expansive, another adjective] legislation about hate crimes, assault rifle bans, and surveillance.

There will be also be increased demands for organizations that serve people of color and scholars who study racism and racial identities to spend their time providing answers/training/education/support when really, what they want to be doing is—really, anything but that.

As in every other instance where there has been assault on a marginalized group—e.g. Arab Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, LGBT folks—Asian Americans are about to spend weeks and months explaining and reminding what has already been written, taught, protested, televised, broadcast, lectured, painted, performed ad nauseam for decades: violence against Asian-descent women is not new and is certainly not “un-American.”   If only we would pay attention.

What is always startling and shocking is how many people still need to be convinced that anti-Asian racism and antipathy is a fundamental part of the architecture of this country. [It is.]

The first immigration laws enacted in this country targeted Chinese women.  The recent uptick in racist violence that accompanied the pandemic was registered on the bodies of Asian women—elderly, young, and middle-aged.  Only yesterday, the Stop AAPI Hate campaign released its report documenting that violence against Asian Americans in the past year has disproportionately targeted women.

In between the then of the 19th century and the 21st century now, the U.S. has championed, accommodated, and been the source of much violence against Asian peoples: wars; military occupations; discriminatory labor, education, immigration, and citizenship policies; and all manner of representational tactics that treat Asian-descent women as persistently foreign, naturally compliant, and always sexualized objects contained by the white heteropatriarchal gaze.

Alongside Native Americans and African Americans, assimilation projects targeted at Asian Americans span the entire history of the making of U.S. national identity.  A key—and shared—dimension of those projects has been violence (from interpersonal to structural) targeted at women. Our attention to the broader phenomenon of anti-Asian violence needs to recognize the specifically gendered ways that Asian women are targeted for violence at the same time that their experiences of such are ignored or treated as insufficient evidence of racist violence.  

It is also not an accident that the killer chose to go to spaces where they know that Asian women work.  Indeed, as Asian and Asian American feminist scholars and activists have documented for so long, the workplace—whether it is a private household, university department, factory, film studio, massage parlor, military base, nail salon, hospital—creates opportunities for distinct forms of harm to be visited on Asian American women.  When I think of sexual harassment in workplaces, including here at UIC, I am thinking of a profoundly racialized experience that hits differently, but no less harmfully, for Asian American women.   And so, I am mindful of the silencing that is emerging in these early moments—the weight of the things we are uncomfortable talking about, of what we choose to emphasize because of familiarity and complicity.

Of course, our UIC students—past and present—who have enrolled in courses offered by faculty in the Gender & Women’s Studies and Global Asian Studies Programs know much of this.  Indeed, UIC faculty and students have had to fight for UIC’s Global Asian Studies to become an academic major (a battle recently won) and are involved in the push to have Asian American history taught in Illinois schools.  What we learn from the years and hours of work involved is that we cannot take for granted that interdisciplinary knowledge about Asian American identities—in all of the diverse forms and histories—will automatically be given the space that is needed to shape conversations about racial equity and justice.  Anna Guevarra’s essay on the role of Ethnic Studies in shaping her intellectual and political trajectory is a welcome read.

Only a few days ago, acclaimed law professor and scholar-activist Mari Matsuda had to pause her regularly scheduled day to respond to the ludicrous assertion in Newsweek magazine that Asian Americans have been excluded from and are deeply suspicious of the Critical Race Theory movement.  Yes, the very movement that Mari Matsuda helped to found.  I had planned to write about her response this week but in a different way.  For today, I will follow her lead and point to a few spaces that can be helpful in responding to violence against Asian American women, and where solidarity and support are always necessary, not just in the immediate aftermath of media stories of the violence, but in the quiet days in between the big stories.

  • Mitsuye Yamada’s “Invisibility is an Unnatural Disaster: Reflections of an Asian American Woman,” which was published in the This Bridge Called My Back anthology in 1981. The essay remains a touchpoint in Asian American feminism.  The anthology is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
  • UIC’s Asian American Resource and Cultural Center (AARCC) has provided a list of tools and resources to respond to anti-Asian violence.
  • Learn about the proposed bill, HB 376/SB 648: “Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act,” and support
  • KAN-WIN and Apna Ghar are two Chicago-based organizations that focus on issues related to Asian American women and with whom WLRC and CAN have worked in partnership over the years.

WLRC will continue to hold space for students, faculty, staff, and community members who want to talk, commiserate, and plan for ways to center critical analysis and engaged work that highlights the diverse experiences of Asian American women and gender nonconforming people.  In the days and weeks ahead, the staff will certainly talk about and figure out what is possible in terms of programming, as well as share resources and continue to press for conversations and actions that move beyond representation and begin to talk about equity and justice.

Please 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 wlrc@uic.edu.

 
 
Kimberly Wasserman smiling toward the camera 
 

Zona Abierta: Latinx Womxn Across Movements
Kimberly Wasserman, Executive Director, LVEJO
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 I 3-4pm CST

Have you checked out our Latinx Womxn Leaders series with the Latino Cultural Center? We've learned so much from Rosi Carrasco and Tania Unzueta (vidoes coming soon!) and look forward to the next conversation with Kim Wasserman of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, which organizes with its community to accomplish environmental justice in Little Village and achieve the self-determination of immigrant, low-income, and working-class families.

 
 
Crystal Kelley Schwartz and Dr. Johari Jabir 
 

Signing the Nation: ASL Performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing"
Thursday, March 18, 2021 I 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 I
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 and Women's History Month, 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.

 
 
Jennicet Gutiérrez smiling toward the camera 
 

Zona Abierta: Latinx Womxn Leaders Across Movements
Jennicet Gutiérrez, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 I 3-4pm CST

Our Women's History Month series with the Latino Cultural Center wraps up with Jennicet Gutiérrez, Community Organizer and Advocate with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, which works at local and national levels to achieve the collective liberation of trans, queer, and gender nonconforming Latinxs through building community, organizing, advocacy, and education.

 
 
Andrea Yarbrough and Alkebuluan Merriweather smiling. The text includes the titles of their research projects and the date, time, and RSVP link for the event. 
 

Feminisms Lunch Lecture: The Black Matriarch Archive & in ℅: Black women
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 | 11am - 12pm CST

The Spring 2021 Feminisms Lunch Lectures series, hosted in partnership with Gender and Women's Studies, continues with presentations by UIC Museum and Exhibition Studies graduate students Alkebuluan Merriweather (The Black Matriarch Archive) and Andrea Yarbrough (in ℅: Black women), followed by a response from Dr. Kishonna Gray, Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies and Communication.

 
 
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. 

 
   
 

CAN News & Upcoming Events

 
 
The color for the flyer is green. At the top, Meet & Greet in white, at the Kitchen Table in yellow. In the middle is True Solidarity vs. Performative Allyship in white. 
 

Meet & Greet at the Kitchen Table: True Solidarity vs. Performative Allyship
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 I 1-2pm CST

Have you witnessed individuals and institutions verbally express solidarity and support while not taking action? Join the Women's Leadership and Resource Center and the Latino Cultural Center for an important conversation on performative allyship and its distinction from solidarity.

 
 
 
 

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.

 
 
Roxanne Gay 
 

Confessions of a Bad Feminist

“I reject the mainstream feminism that has historically ignored or deflected the needs of women of color, working-class women, queer women and transgender women, in favor of supporting white, middle- and upper-class straight women. Listen, if that’s good feminism — I am a very bad feminist.”

In this thoughtful talk, writer Roxanne Gay rejects the idea of the “perfect feminist” that is represented in mainstream feminism and calls on us to be brave and find our own meaning of feminism.

 
   
 

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 (all times CST):

  • African-American Cultural Center
    • Black Table Talk: Hood Feminism: Wed, Mar 31, 12-1pm
    • Office Hours: Mon-Thu, 10am-12pm
    • Open Study Hours: Mon-Thu, 1-3pm
    • Chill and Spill: Fridays, 10am-12pm
    • AACC Virtual Community
  • Arab American Cultural Center
    • Yalla Nitkalem (Let's Talk): Wed, Mar 17, 10-11am
    • Culture of Well Being: Learning to Manage Stress, Boundaries, and Anxiety: Tue, Mar 30, 5-6pm
    • Rooted in Resilience campaign
  • Asian American Resource and Cultural Center
    • ASA Venting Sessions: Mon, Mar 22, 1-2pm
    • Virtual AARCC: Mon-Fri, 10am - 3pm
  • Disability Cultural Center
    • Signing the Nation: ASL Performance of "Lift Every Voice and Sing": Thu, Mar 18, 12-1pm
    • Dance & Movement Workshops with UIC 3Arts Fellows Willyum LaBeija and Robby Lee Williams: Wed, Mar 31 & Tue, Apr 6, 11:30am - 12:30pm
    • Disability Cultural Center Check-Ins: Mon-Fri, 9am - 5pm
    • Study at DCC House: Fridays, 1-3pm
  • Gender and Sexuality Center
    • Queer Sex Ed: Thu, Mar 18, 1-2pm
  • Latino Cultural Center
    • Latinx Womxn Leaders Across Movements: Kimberly Wasserman: Wed, Mar 17, 3-4pm
 
 
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

 
 

Chancellor’s FirstGen Flames Abroad Scholarship
Info Session
: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 | 12-1pm CST
Applications Due April 15, 2021

The Chancellor’s FirstGen Flames Abroad Scholarship is designed to award first-year students with high potential, whose parent(s) did not complete a bachelor’s degree, with a scholarship to study abroad.

Grace Holt Memorial Award & Black Studies Departmental Award
Applications Due March 31, 2021

The Department of Black Studies sponsors an award fund and annual legacy events and in commemoration of Grace Sims Holt, Professor Emeritus and founder of UIC's Black Studies Program. Professor Holt, an associate professor of speech and communications, was head of the Black Studies Program from 1974 to 1986. 

TheGrace Holt Memorial Award honors undergraduate and graduate students who have worked actively to improve the lives of Black people. Eligible students must have a demonstrated commitment to issues of racial justice and/or the field of Black Studies with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. The recipient is awarded $1,000.00.

The Black Studies Departmental Award provides both recognition and support for its majors and minors. In addition to BLST majors/minors, undergraduate students who have taken at least two Black Studies courses and who have demonstrated academic achievement and/or who are working under challenging circumstances are strongly encouraged to apply.  Recipients are awarded $1000.00.

 
   
 

Community Opportunities

 
 

EVENTS

Columbia University: Women's Liberation! : Feminist Writings That Inspired a Revolution and Still Can
March 18, 2021 I  5-6:00pm CST

Alix Kates Shulman and Honor Moore, editors of a revelatory new Library of America anthology, lead an inter-generational conversation about the living questions at the heart of the book: what is this tradition and what is its legacy for today? What unfulfilled possibilities need to be recovered and passed on in the time of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter?

Beyond Bars: Towards Freedom Conference
March 18-21, 2021

Join the 11th annual Beyond the Bars Conference and engage in deep and thoughtful conversations about the many forms of violence that our society has experienced and explore why abolition has become so prevalent in the conversations, strategies and demands in the work of transforming approaches to justice and safety. 

Ida B. The Queen: Michelle Duster in Conversation with Essence McDowell
March 22, 2021 | 6–7:30pm CST

Join Hull-House for a virtual public program celebrating Women’s History Month featuring Michelle Duster author of the new book “Ida B. the Queen” (Atria/One Signal Publishers 2021) a visual stunning portrait of the Duster’s family, black life in Chicago, and the life and legacy of Dusters great grandmother, journalist and anti-lynching activist, Ida B. Wells.

What Time Is It? A Transnational Black Feminist Moment
March 25, 2021 | 11am - 1pm CST

The National Women's Studies Association invites you to a discussion with Dr. Margo Okazawa-Rey, "What Time Is It? A Transnational Black Feminist Moment", with introductory comments from NWSA President Kaye Whitehead and Dr. Namulundha Florence.

Art as Transformation: Music and Drama for Incarcerated Youth
March 30, 2021 | 6–7:30pm CST

Please join White Snake Projects for this interactive Zoom forum, where we will explore art as a means of transformation for persons who have experienced or are experiencing incarceration. This is the first event in a three-part series.

 

SCHOLARSHIPS & INTERNSHIPS

OPALGA + Student Scholarship Fund
Deadline: March 28, 2021

OPALGA+ awards annual student scholarships for the continuing education of LGBTQ students, the children of LGBTQ parents, or their friends or allies. Students must reside or attend school within a 10-mile radius of Oak Park. 

The Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education Scholarship
Deadline: April 2, 2021

ILACHE is pleased to offer two (2) $1,000 scholarships to Latino/a/x students in Illinois who exhibit outstanding commitment to learning, community service, and leadership. An official recognition of the winners will take place at the annual ILACHE Conference.

Arab-American Business & Professional Association Internship Program

ABPA established a robust Internship Placement Program dedicated to providing internship and professional development opportunities to Arab-Americans across the United States.

Lincoln Park Zoo: Full-Time and Part-Time Internships

The Lincoln Park Zoo is actively looking to recruit disabled candidates for their internships.

 
   
 

Correction: 

WLRC's last newletter contained an error of citation. In the anthology Revolutionary Mothering, in a chapter called “M/other ourselves,” Alexis Pauline Gumbs (2016) wrote "Your Mama is Queer as Hell" and an excerpt was included in Dr. Susila Gurusami's opening remarks for the March 8 "Revolutionary Mothering: Laboring for a Just World" event. The excerpt from Gumbs's work:

Your mama is queer as hell.
What if mothering is about the how of it? Hortense Spillers wrote “Mama’s Baby, Paper’s maybe: A New American Grammar Book,” reminding her peers that motherHOOD is a status granted by patriarchy to white middle-class women, those women whose legal rights to their children are never questioned, regardless of who does the labor (the how) of keeping them alive. MotherING is another matter, a possible action, the name for that nurturing work, that survival dance, worked by enslaved women who were forced to breastfeed the children of the status mothers while having no control over whether their birth or chosen children were sold away. Mothering is a form of labor worked by immigrant nannies like my grandmother who motored wealthy white kids in order to send money to Jamaica for my mother and her brothers who could not afford the privilege of her presence. Mothering is worked by chosen and accidental mentors who agree to support some growing unpredictable thing called future. Mothering is worked by house mothers in ball culture who provide spaces of self-love and expression for/as queer youth of color in the streets. What would it mean for us to take the word “mother” less as a gender identity as more as possible action, a technology of transformation that those people who do the most mothering labor are teaching us right now?  (22-23) 

 
   
 

Connect with us!

 
 
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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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