On Wednesday October 5, the Center for Gender Justice held the second part of the Women of Color: When Race and Gender Collide discussion series. This series began with a discussion on Sept. 26 and focused on how the the two identities of being a woman and a woman of color can intersect and lead to different experiences.
Senior and Center for Gender Justice Intern, Crystal Marshall said that the number of attendees and the amount of passion, ideas and topics brought forth for discussion was so vast that they were unable to discuss everything and decided to have a second part to continue the conversation.
“Being white, and having most of the student body be white, we wanted to provide a space, specifically for women of color, to feel safe on campus and to share their experiences and feelings,” Marshall said. “To listen to what they’re going through and what we can do to change that.”
Junior Zoe Price, the second Center for Gender Justice Intern, and Marshall both agreed that the ultimate goal of these discussions was to listen.
“Since this is a pretty white campus that doesn’t know a lot about social issues, we felt we had to pander to those audiences for people to actually walk through the door and give us time,” Marshall said. “It’s too bad that it’s taken four years for the culture of this campus to get to a point where we felt that was a feasible idea. But people now seem really hooked in and passionate about it, especially with the [Diversity] Forum last year and that we can do big things in numbers.”
Freshman Ridha Kapoor attended both of the discussions and noticed that the second discussion had a significantly smaller number of attendees than the first event.
“The people that kind of need to hear about this most are the people who aren’t going to show up,” Kapoor said. “But I think, when anyone shows up it’s going to spark some sort of change […] Race, gender, and sexual assault are things we need to talk about more, especially since race and gender are social constructs […] None of us asked to be born into this world, we just all were and had all these standards and expectations put on us.”
Kapoor went on to assert that the more we have these conversations, the more we can embrace and question why there are all these expectations, standards and stereotypes. After acknowledging these things, it may be easier for us to move forward.
Price said that the line of discussion could continue if there is an interest, but future conversations might have to be organized with a more specific focus.
Another intern position within the Center will be opening up in the Spring, and both Marshall and Price stated that they have a special interest in filling that position with a woman of color to bring in different perspectives and experiences.