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…

pawsoff

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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

This Must Be The Place

Recently, I’ve been buoying myself in this onslaught of political shitstorming by listening to a self-care playlist. The playlist is chock full of all of the songs that help me get by when it’s hard to navigate the world and ones that I can sing very loudly.

One song that I gravitate towards lately is the Talking Heads’s “This Must Be The Place.”

this-must-be-the-place-blog-graphic

Click here for text version of This Must Be The Place lyrics.

This song has a lot of meaning for me. It’s the song that my dad serenaded my mother with at their wedding. “This Must Be The Place” is the crucible of my parents’ love, so it’s sort of the thing that formed me. It’s a song I sing to myself when I want to cry and when I want to smile and when I want to scream. I sang it with my dad through a vocal harmonizer as we welcomed 2017 (and threw 2016 into the fire pit). I think my mom cried a bit, but I couldn’t see because I was crying.

Coming back to work at the Women’s Center, I am, yet again, thinking about this song’s resonance and its meaning and its magic.

The Women’s Center is home for me. It is a beacon when trauma strikes and when justice is sought. The Women’s Center simultaneously grounds us and lifts us up—like any good home does. It is a place of love, warmth, truth, and hope. A place so rare and crucial right now.

It would be an understatement to say I am happy to be back at UMBC and at the Women’s Center. I am elated, I am at peace, I am confident. This space, this place—the Women’s Center—fulfills the promises of feminist, queer, radical social justice theories by providing a home for me and all the other community members who occupy its world.

As the Special Projects Coordinator (a title Jess lovingly made for me), I am diving back into the constantly evolving environment of the Women’s Center. Over the semester I will be collaborating alongside staff and interns to enhance programming, expand social media outreach efforts, and design marketing initiatives. In short, doing everything I love to do for an organization I love.

I am so thankful to be back home at the Women’s Center and at UMBC. I am beyond ecstatic to join a team that inspires me everyday, and that I care about so deeply. I am enlivened by the opportunity to continue working with a mission centered on intersectional feminism and critical social justice.

Home, is where I want to be

But I guess I’m already there

I come home, she lifted up her wings

I guess that this must be the place.

 

Slaying on the Weekly

A weekly round-up curated by Women’s Center staff member, Michael Jalloh Jamboria

In the spirit of my friend, who gave us the glorious name ‘Slaying on the Weekly’, every week I will be bringing you some interesting, funny or thought-provoking content from the internet! Be sure to join us next week for more and continue to slay!

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened this week in Washington DC! Watch the Grand Opening Ceremony, as President Obama welcomes the Museum to the DC mall.

On Monday September 26th, the first presidential debate  took place at Hofstra University. If you missed it, the full debate is available, along with fact check.

Stay lovely and dry! See you next week!

Meet the Spring 2016 Women’s Center Staff!

Get to know the Women’s Center’s Spring 2016 staff — including our newest student staff member, Shira!

Staff Training - Spring16

Women’s Center Staff – Spring 2016

Shira Devorah (she/her)
Hi, my name is Shira Devorah. I’m a Gender and Women’s Studies and Psychology double major in my junior year here at UMBC. I’m planning on spending a lot more time in school in order to become a Clinical Psychologist specializing in counseling LGBTQ youth, homeless youth, and transitioning youth. Eventually I would love to come back to a university and teach. ShiraI am a bisexual woman, and LGBTQIA+ issues are my passion. I believe that an intersectional approach to feminist thought and action is vital. I am also a Peer Health educator with University Health Services, and I am interested in conducting research regarding the discrepancies in health education for LGBTQIA+ youth. In my spare time, I love to journal, binge on Netflix, and sing along to musicals. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work here at the Women’s Center! I want to challenge myself to become more involved in feminist activism, here on campus and within the Baltimore community. I would love to continue to learn, grow, and create with every person who takes the time to visit the Women’s Center and participate in the brave conversations happening here.

Meagé Clements (she/her)
Hi! My name is Meagé, and I am a new staff member in the Women’s Center. I am currently a senior studying Psychology and Social Work, as well as a member of UMBC’s Honors College. I am a social work intern at Delrey School, where I will be working with children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, among other physical and intellectual disabilities. After college, I hope to earn my MSW and find a career where I can help marginalized and oppressed people thrive in our society. In addition to being a staff member in UMBC’s Women’s Center, I am a member of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority Inc. In my spare time, I enjoy yoga, reading, listening to music and creative writing.Meagé Profile Pic This semester, I am excited to learn and become more involved in the efforts of the Women’s Center. If you happen to see me in the Women’s Center or around campus, feel free to say hello! I am looking forward to meeting new people and engaging in some thoughtful dialogues!

Carrie Cleveland (she/her)
My name is Carrie. I am BEYOND excited to be starting my last year at UMBC. I will graduate in May with a degree in social work after being in college for ten years. Yep. That is NOT a typo. Ten FREAKING years. See, I have three daughters and they keep me incredibly busy and because of that I decided that part time was the way to be. I think we will all be doing a happy dance when I graduate.

Beyond that, I am involved with the BreakingGround initiative on campus as a member of the Community Program Grant Committee. I also am a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee. I am also super proud to be a Return Women’s Scholar. It was my membership in that group that firstCarrie Profile Pic brought me to the Women’s Center and that has been such a source of support for me as I took the long and windy road to graduation. Other that that, I am a wife, a friend, a chick from New Jersey, a lover off all things pop culture and a huge fan of They Might Be Giants.

MJ Jalloh-JamboriaMJ Profile Pic (they/them)
Hey! I’m MJ Jalloh-Jamboria.  I am currently a Gender/Women Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies (Pathology) double major. My minor is Critical Sexuality. This is my second year at UMBC and my first year as a student stuff member here at the Women’s Center. In addition to that, I am the Director of Events of the Council of Majors/Minors. Finally, I am the Music Director of UMBC’s newest a Capella group, the Culture Chords. I know it may sound like a lot but I enjoy staying busy and contributing to the UMBC community!

My favorite thing to do, besides singing and eating, is to look at how my identities come into play as I interact with the world around me. As a fat, non-binary, first generation West African Immigrant, Muslim person, I have a lot to think about!

Daniel Willey (he/him) 
Hey everyone! My name is Dan and I am a junior GWST major. I joined the Women’s Center staff last year and I am so excited to be back again as the senior staff member. You’ll see me around a lot because I never actually leave the Center. I am the peer facilitator for Spectrum and Rebuilding Manhood, and I’m very involved with the LGBTQIA+ community here. I love answering questions! Daniel Profile PicIf you want to have a discussion about or have questions about gender, sexuality, sexual health, polyamory, fiber crafts, cats, or Steven Universe, I’m your guy! I live by the idea that everyone has the capacity for good and every interaction can be a learning moment. Being at the Women’s Center feels like not only a home away from home, but the place where I have learned how to be the best version of me. I really hope the Center can be these things for everyone, and I do my best to facilitate that here. If you need anything, please ask! I’m very excited to meet you all.

Megan Tagle Adams, Assistant Director (she/her)
I’m an unapologetic feminist and woman of color. I’m not your model minority. Megan Profile PicI’m an introvert. I’m not always angry. I’m Team Nicki. I’m a cat lady. I’m a queer femme. I’m not ashamed of my love of boy bands. I’m an advocate for critical social justice. I’m a picky eater. I’m not a fan of Maryland’s humidity. I’m looking forward to another great year at the Women’s Center! 

Jess Myers, Director (she/her)
Wow-wee, where do I begin?! Today I logged into my LinkedIn account because I got an alert that someone was looking at my profile… who was checking me out?! I had to know. Long story short, I found myself skimming through my profile and was alerted to the fact that I have been Director of the Women’s Center at UMBC for 4 years and 6 months. How lucky am I?! I have learned and grown as a professional, as a feminist, and as a person so much since I first arrived here at UMBC. I have gotten to work with some of UMBC’s brightest and most courageous students. I’ve learned how to insert gifs into emails and how to tweet on the Twitter. I’ve been challenged and held accountable to expand my notions of feminism beyond “white feminism” and to boldly live out my social justice values in Jess Profile Pic 1a critical way. Moreover, I get to work in a place where I am authentically me.

I love being silly. I relish in the opportunity to use Leslie Knope gifs as a mode of communication. I identify as a queer lesbian and deserve medals for my fierceness in spin class. I approach my work from my collegiate background in social work and identify as a student affairs professional. I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Kingston, Jamaica, and Fort Collins, Colorado but Baltimore is my hometown. It is a city that forever is rooted in my heart and very being. I also really love my introduction from last year and want to share it again (I’m a big fan of also not recreating the wheel!). You’ll find me on here most often blogging through my UMBC Women Who Rocks series and other Women’s Center confessions I like to make public. Basically and most importantly, I love my job… I’m looking forward to a year full of challenges, successes, and learning opportunities!

 

 

 

Meet the 2015-16 Women’s Center Staff!

Get to know the Women’s Center’s new team of staff and interns!

Women's Center Staff 2015-16

Women’s Center Staff 2015-16

Meagé Clements (she/her)
Hi! My name is Meagé, and I am a new staff member in the Women’s Center. I am currently a senior studying Psychology and Social Work, as well as a member of UMBC’s Honors College. I am a social work intern at Delrey School, where I will be working with children and adolescents with cerebral palsy, among other physical and intellectual disabilities. After college, I hope to earn my MSW and find a career where I can help marginalized and oppressed people thrive in our society. In addition to being a staff member in UMBC’s Women’s Center, I am a member of Zeta Sigma Chi Multicultural Sorority Inc. In my spare time, I enjoy yoga, reading, listening to music and creative writing.Meagé Profile Pic This semester, I am excited to learn and become more involved in the efforts of the Women’s Center. If you happen to see me in the Women’s Center or around campus, feel free to say hello! I am looking forward to meeting new people and engaging in some thoughtful dialogues!

Carrie Cleveland (she/her)
My name is Carrie. I am BEYOND excited to be starting my last year at UMBC. I will graduate in May with a degree in social work after being in college for ten years. Yep. That is NOT a typo. Ten FREAKING years. See, I have three daughters and they keep me incredibly busy and because of that I decided that part time was the way to be. I think we will all be doing a happy dance when I graduate.

Beyond that, I am involved with the BreakingGround initiative on campus as a member of the Community Program Grant Committee. I also am a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee. I am also super proud to be a Return Women’s Scholar. It was my membership in that group that firstCarrie Profile Pic brought me to the Women’s Center and that has been such a source of support for me as I took the long and windy road to graduation. Other that that, I am a wife, a friend, a chick from New Jersey, a lover off all things pop culture and a huge fan of They Might Be Giants.

Julia Gottlieb (she/her)
Hey there! I’m Julia, and I’m a new student staff member at the Women’s Center. I’m interning with the Women’s Center through the GWST Department, and I couldn’t be more excited to dive in. I realized that I wanted to pursue Gender & Women’s Studies as a major three years ago after overhearing a conversation in which two people victim-blamed and shamed women for choosing to get abortions. Looking back, I felt so angry and defensive of women, which made me realize that this was an issue I cared deeply about and needed to investigate further. The Women’s Center is the perfect way to translate my passion for feminism and social justice into a tangible job that challenges me to think critically and to push myself–all while in pursuit of greater social and political change through activism.

Julia Profile PicI’m a senior majoring in Gender & Women’s Studies and minoring in Critical Sexuality Studies. I’m also a co-leader for Women Involved in Learning and Leadership (WILL) and I’m pumped for the new semester! Singing and listening to music are by far my favorite things to do; I took piano lessons for ten years and have been singing all my life. My favorite artists currently are Lianne la Havas and Alabama Shakes. If you see me feel free to say hello (and tell me what music you’re into)!

MJ Jalloh-JamboriaMJ Profile Pic (they/them)
Hey! I’m MJ Jalloh-Jamboria.  I am currently a Gender/Women Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies (Pathology) double major. My minor is Critical Sexuality. This is my second year at UMBC and my first year as a student stuff member here at the Women’s Center. In addition to that, I am the Director of Events of the Council of Majors/Minors. Finally, I am the Music Director of UMBC’s newest a Capella group, the Culture Chords. I know it may sound like a lot but I enjoy staying busy and contributing to the UMBC community!

My favorite thing to do, besides singing and eating, is to look at how my identities come into play as I interact with the world around me. As a fat, non-binary, first generation West African Immigrant, Muslim person, I have a lot to think about!

Kayla Smith (she/her)

Hi! My name is Kayla Smith. I’m a pre-law junior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing in health education. I’m a third semester peer health educator with a special interest in sexual health and I’m Vice President of the Mock-Trial team wherein I act as both an attorney and a witness.Kayla Profile Pic I’m really bad at introductory type things (even in the age of online dating, Facebook, and sure lets say Myspace). The words “About me” or “tell us about yourself!” have always been really intimidating, so I’m going to take a page out of past Women’s Center staff member, Amelia Meman’s book, and adopt the bullet point system.

  • I identify as Queer (Ask what I mean by that!). I’m West Indian.
  • My top five favorite things are: Glitter, wind chimes, fairy lights, bubbles, and miniature things (especially miniature food.)
  • My favorite music genre is instrumental progressive metal.
  • I speak french fluently (and I need someone to speak french with!)
  • My favorite show is Criminal Minds (Spencer Reid is my boyfriend.)
  • I have a rabbit names Lazarus (No he has never died)

Daniel Willey (he/him) 
Hey everyone! My name is Dan and I am a junior GWST major. I joined the Women’s Center staff last year and I am so excited to be back again as the senior staff member. You’ll see me around a lot because I never actually leave the Center. I am the peer facilitator for Spectrum and Rebuilding Manhood, and I’m very involved with the LGBTQIA+ community here. I love answering questions! If you want to have a discussion about or have questions about gender, sexuality, sexual health, polyamory, fiber crafts, cats, or Steven Universe, I’m your guy! I live by the idea that everyone has the capacity for good and every interaction can be a learning moment.Daniel Profile Pic Being at the Women’s Center feels like not only a home away from home, but the place where I have learned how to be the best version of me. I really hope the Center can be these things for everyone, and I do my best to facilitate that here. If you need anything, please ask! I’m very excited to meet you all.

Megan Tagle Adams, Assistant Director (she/her)
I’m an unapologetic feminist and woman of color. I’m not your model minority. Megan Profile PicI’m an introvert. I’m not always angry. I’m Team Nicki. I’m a cat lady. I’m a queer femme. I’m not ashamed of my love of boy bands. I’m an advocate for critical social justice. I’m a picky eater. I’m not a fan of Maryland’s humidity. I’m looking forward to another great year at the Women’s Center! 

Jess Myers, Director (she/her)
Wow-wee, where do I begin?! Today I logged into my LinkedIn account because I got an alert that someone was looking at my profile… who was checking me out?! I had to know. Long story short, I found myself skimming through my profile and was alerted to the fact that I have been Director of the Women’s Center at UMBC for 4 years and 6 months. How lucky am I?! I have learned and grown as a professional, as a feminist, and as a person so much since I first arrived here at UMBC. I have gotten to work with some of UMBC’s brightest and most courageous students. I’ve learned how to insert gifs into emails and how to tweet on the Twitter. I’ve been challenged and held accountable to expand my notions of feminism beyond “white feminism” and to boldly live out my social justice values in Jess Profile Pic 1a critical way. Moreover, I get to work in a place where I am authentically me.

I love being silly. I relish in the opportunity to use Leslie Knope gifs as a mode of communication. I identify as a queer lesbian and deserve medals for my fierceness in spin class. I approach my work from my collegiate background in social work and identify as a student affairs professional. I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Kingston, Jamaica, and Fort Collins, Colorado but Baltimore is my hometown. It is a city that forever is rooted in my heart and very being. I also really love my introduction from last year and want to share it again (I’m a big fan of also not recreating the wheel!). You’ll find me on here most often blogging through my UMBC Women Who Rocks series and other Women’s Center confessions I like to make public. Basically and most importantly, I love my job… I’m looking forward to a year full of challenges, successes, and learning opportunities!

 

 

 

Women’s Center 4EVER: Reflections on My Last Day as Women’s Center Staff

Few college graduates can claim to have had the experience my fellow staff and I have shared while with the Women’s Center. Our jobs have been many things: one part employee, one part student, one part teacher, one part social justice programmer, one part artist, one part writer, one part friend, one part killjoy. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know I was able to work from many different angles–something I’ve always wanted in a job–and I was guided by my own passion for feminism and social justice. With the Women’s Center, I have gained quite a bit of insight into working with a professional social justice organization.

This is where I’m going to talk about what I’ve gained from my time with the Women’s Center.

I’m not crying or anything about it being my last day…

Working at the Women’s Center you gain a lot of different skills that become increasingly useful as you approach graduation and begin to enter the “real world,” as we so forebodingly call it (as if college is a wholly separate fantasy world where our responsibilities don’t exist). Here are a few of the most valuable things I’ve learned about, and that I’ve been reflecting on as I count down to my last day working at the Center.

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