Women’s March on Washington: We Marched. What’s Next?

A sampling of “what’s next” from UMBC community members, curated by Jess Myers, Women’s Center Director 

Last week, I shared some of my hopes and desired outcomes from the Women’s March on Washington. While I was looking forward to marching and being in relationship with other women and people at the march, I was (and am) more invested in the what’s next. In my blog, I wrote, “I want the momentum and energy to continue after the march, especially for those who are new to the movement, new to activism, new to seeing things that are unfair and unjust. I want us to stay loud. To stay critical. To stay visible and demand what is right, what is necessary. I want you to volunteer. I want you to keep learning and growing. I want you to find your activism (if you haven’t already) and make a difference. I want all those things for myself as well. 

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, my entire Facebook timeline was filled with amazing photos of the March (and also really important critiques of the march which you should also take some time to read). What was even more exciting than the photos, was the plans people were committing to in their post-march glow. So many people are fired up!

In my last post, I also reflected on the mission of the Women’s Center and our commitment to advocating for and advancing the rights of women and marginalized people. While the Women’s Center is a space and the people who work in it are committed to putting in the work, YOU, our community, are a huge part of that mission. We need you to help us live and be our mission. So with that in mind, I put a call out to some Women’s Center friends and former staff and asked them to share what their post-plans march are so I could share them as inspiration and motivation to our larger community. What I share below isn’t necessarily the full list each person shared with me but I love the breadth of ideas and action items.

So, I’ll go first…

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Women’s March on Washington

Jess MyersA reflection from Jess Myers, Women’s Center director 

Last weekend, I finally decided I would go to the Women’s March on Washington.

I’ve been to marches in the past. I drove 18 hours from Baltimore to Ft. Benning, Georgia in my early 20s for the School of Americas protest with a van load of Mercy nuns and my best friend. Attending college in Washington, D.C. during the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars had me popping on the Metro often enough to join an anti-war rally. My favorite Pride parades have been the ones I’ve walked in rather than watched from the sidelines. In Baltimore, I’ve marched for justice, for Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray, for Black Lives.

But, never have I marched for and with women for a platform dedicated to women’s rights.

A few weeks ago, I was in a room with several UMBC faculty members as they recalled their memories of past women’s marches. As they shared their experiences, it was evident that being in a space with thousands of other women advocating for women’s rights was a powerful moment for them. While each of the individuals who shared their stories have committed their lives to activism and feminism, those marches still held a unique and powerful place in their hearts. In fact, what was particularly striking was how they spoke about their experiences in relationship to those who were with them – their mothers, their daughters, their friends.

I want to be in relationship with other women and I’ve decided that going to this Saturday’s march is just one way I can do that. Continue reading

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #7: Documenting Our History at Critical Social Justice

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

It’s been a while since our last post because we were prepping for Critical Social Justice. Consequently, this week we’re featuring the awesome posters + a Prezi presentation student staff put together highlighting the Women’s Center history which was showcased at this week’s Critical Social Justice event addressing diversity and inclusion within higher education.

The posters are hanging up in the Women’s Center right now so stop by to check them out. In the meantime, here’s some photos of the posters Shira and Michael made and the link to Daniel’s Prezi Presentation. Prachi also made a really cool zine about our history that we’ll be adding to the 50th Anniversary time capsule that we’re working to get online. In the meantime, you can pick up a hard copy the next time you visit the Women’s Center.

Shira's poster explored the dynamics of 1991 - the year the Women's Center opened

Shira’s poster explored the dynamics of 1991 – the year the Women’s Center opened

Michael focused his poster on important Women's Center programs and their evolution of the past 25 years.

Michael focused his poster on important Women’s Center programs and their evolution of the past 25 years.

Prachi created a multi-page zine documenting the history of the Women's Center. Here's just one of the pages.

Prachi created a multi-page zine documenting the history of the Women’s Center. Here’s just one of the pages.

You can check out Dan’s cool Prezi presentation, Historical Foundations of the Women’s Center at UMBC, that explores the evolution of women’s centers and women’s movements from a holistic perspective which he was then able to connect to the programming and services our specific Women’s Center has offered over the years.

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A screen shot of one of Dan’s slides from  Historical Foundations of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!
Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now 5: 1991

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.
This week we’re exploring 1991 and the historical context of the year the Women’s Center opened its doors.

In 1991, Anita Hill stood up to sexual harassment in the workplace. Hill testified against her former employer, Judge Clarence Thomas, as he had perpetrated inappropriate sexual behavior towards her while she was working for him a few years prior. Thomas was being appointed as a Supreme Court Justice when Hill came forward, ending her silence and sparking a national interest in sexual harassment in the workplace. The majority male Senate went on to confirm Thomas, but this highly publicized trial brought the issue of sexual harassment into focus. After Hill stood up, more women came forward about their own experiences, and more measures were taken to prevent harassment in the workplace. This included places like higher education and our own UMBC.

Anita Hill testifying on Capitol Hill.

Anita Hill testifying on Capitol Hill.

After this event, many more women became involved in politics, and many believe this boom came about as a direct response to the nomination of Thomas. While this wasn’t the only reason the Women’s Center was founded on campus, the national attention being paid to women’s issues in the workplace certainly helped spark an interest in creating a safe space and resource for women on campus. This story of our beginning is captured in our 20th anniversary video about the Women’s Center.

Other 1991 noteworthy events include, the release of Thelma and Louise and the influential documentary Paris is Burning. Riot grrrl, the punk feminist music movement, also began in the early 90s, and ushered in a new format of women creating activist art and music at the same time the internet opened up to commercial use for the first time ever.

What are the memories you have of the Women’s Center over the years that are meaningful to you? What does the Women’s Center mean to you today? Share your memories and pictures with us in the comment section below!

Stay up-to-date with our 25th anniversary on social media using #UMBCWC25. Share your Women’s Center experiences and memories with the UMBC community using #UMBCWC25 AND #UMBC50!

Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #4: Marketing and Publicizing Who We Are

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the marketing and publicity the Women’s Center has created and shared with the UMBC community over the past several years. 

Before smart phones and Snapchat, there were actual hard copy brochures and flyers (pre-PhotoShop) to help spread the word about the Women’s Center. Here’s some examples!

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Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #3: The Women’s Center Staff

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the Women’s Center staffs from over the years!

Meet the Women's Center staff from 1994-95!

Meet the Women’s Center staff from 1994-95!

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Women’s Center 25 Then vs. Now #2: Our Logo Evolution

WC 25 Logo - PurpleThe Women’s Center at UMBC turns 25 this year! We’re excited to share our important milestone with UMBC’s 50th Anniversary and will be celebrating throughout the year with the rest of campus! We were inspired by Special Collections archival project Archives Gold: 50 Objects for UMBC’s 50th and decided to do our own digging into the Women’s Center archives. Over the course of the year, we’ll be sharing 25 “Then vs Now” archives to celebrate the origin and evolution of the Women’s Center at UMBC.

This week we’re featuring the evolution of the Women’s Center logo. 

Brochure-EarlyYears

Brochure circa 1996

While it isn’t certain if the image on one of our earliest brochures served as the actual  logo for the Women’s Center, the image can be found from time to time on flyers and other promotional materials throughout the 1990s.

This image was later replaced by what we refer to today as the “hands logo.” The hands logo was inspired a 1999-2000 Undergraduate Research Project by  UMBC seniors Joy McLure and Nidhi Adya and advised by Dr. Tim Nohe called “Different Thread Interwoven Together.” We’ll be sharing more about the creation of this mural in another blog post to come soon.

While we loved the logo’s connection to the mural that is a signature piece in the Women’s Center lounge, we also heard feedback for change from many community members. Some thought the hands resembled finger painting and could limit people’s perception of the Women’s Center as a childcare center. Other’s expressed concern that the hands were a bit “grabby.” And, as discussed in the previous then vs. now post, the growth of the Women’s Center positioned us to be ready for a new logo that better captured the spirit of the work we do.  Continue reading