Mizzou Protests

mizzou campus


The University of Missouri is less than 120 miles from Ferguson where protests erupted after the shooting death Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African American man.  The following racial unrest has been sighted as the catalyst for the current Mizzou student demonstrations.

  • University of Missouri was founded in 1839, but did not allow Black students admittance until 1950 after a 1949 vote in which 70% of the student population supported the inclusion of African Americans.
  • 1940-the University of Missouri asked that a Black football player from NYU not be allowed to participate in the game. Student protests soon broke out.
  • 1964-students fought to change the housing policy that required racial identification on housing applications.
  • 1968-the Legion of Black Collegians was founded to give Black students a voice.
  • 1960’s-Mizzou parades included songs that glorified slavery and students dressed in blackface as slaves.
  • 1980’s-The university was on the verge of losing federal funding due to a lack of desegregation. Black student enrollment was only at 3.5%.
  • 2005-Mizzou participated in a 10 school survey which found that almost 60% of minority students experienced racism or ethnically based harassment. The national average is 31%.

Mizzou protest 2

  • 2010-Two white students scatter cotton balls outside the campus Black Culture Center. The school’s student newspaper,The Maneater, quoted a school official as saying, “This incident was much more, in our view, than a childish prank.”
  • 2011-Celebrated Mizzou swimmer Sasha Menu Courey committed suicide after allegedly being raped 16 months prior. Mizzou never pursued the assault, which was allegedly at the hands of the university’s football players.
  • 2015-Associate Professor Cynthia Frisby wrote an article stating that she has been called the n-word by faculty at Mizzou & that students have refused to address her as “Dr.” because Black people are not smart enough to get a degree without affirmative action. Dr. Frisby has been at Mizzou enduring racism for over 18 years.
  • Nov. 2, 20015-graduate student Jonathon Butler goes on a hunger strike after students’ demands continued to be ignored by President Tim Wolfe.


  • MU football players decide to boycott all games and practices until President Wolfe resigns or is removed. The players’ decision is supported by their coach.
  • Nov. 9, 2015-President Tim Wolfe resigns.
  • Numerous other campuses stage protests in support of Mizzou and Black students.

Don’t Tell Me to Smile

Catcalling is more than just an annoying distraction during my walk to work in which I attempt to enjoy the little bit of fresh air that I will experience for the day.  It’s a daily reminder that as a woman I am merely an object that men are free to comment on, whistle at, and approach at will. However, it only has been recently that I began to refuse to see this as simply rude or ignorant behavior–it is blatant harassment.

The prevalence of street harassment was given much overdue attention after a video went viral that showed a woman in New York experiencing over 100 catcalls (and one stalking event) while walking for 10 hours.  The endless commentary by men of all ages and races is not about offering compliments and asserting their First Amendment rights as many claim.  It is about women, especially women of color and those who identify as LGBT, living on edge in a patriarchal society that condones gender based violence with little or no consequences for the perpretrators.

Hollaback mural

Luckily, some people are doing more than just going about their business.  Women and men throughout the world are taking action against street harassment in all its forms. Jeremy Corbin, the Labor Party frontrunner in England has suggested adding “Women Only” train cars for late night use to provide a safer commute for girls and women. Tokyo introduced these cars during rush hour and on heavily traveled lines in 2005 after groping had tripled within eight years. (NOTE: I fully understand this is not getting to the crux of the problem and it may cause increased harassment for those women on mixed gender cars.)  Tatyana Fazlalizadeh fought back through a nationwide exposition of street art and murals. Hollaback! has taken to social media to organize women internationally to share their stories and to fight street harassment in their own cities.  And StopStreetHarassment.org has countless global resources, research, and events to combat this abuse.


Although many women, members of the LGBT community, and allies are bringing much needed attention to the problem, I only observe apathy and defensiveness from many men. Some of the men in Tokyo are quite offended by the women-only cars and believe that women are being given a special privilege by riding on less crowded trains than men. When teenage and adolescent boys in the US were confronted on camera about their behavior they quickly engaged in victim blaming. In India, street harassment is innocently known as “eve teasing.” (Chilling considering the brutal gang rape and murder of a college student riding on a bus in Delhi this year.)

But this is nothing new. As women, we are constantly being told how to protect ourselves.  Dress “modestly”. Don’t stay out late. Take a self-defense class. Buy pepper-spray. Don’t walk alone.

It is exhausting to constantly be hyper-vigilant and strategizing trips around the city in order to “protect” myself. As I listen to my pepper spray can jingle on my key chain and feel sweat on my long pant covered legs, while I precisely plan my route in the Denver heat so as to be “responsible” and “proactive”, I realize the extent to which gender based violence has invaded the precious moments of my life. As a society, we need to realize that it’s time to StreetHarassment

Back to School Fashion!

Having been required to wear a uniform for all 12 years of pre-collegiate schooling, I was always envious of friends who eagerly awaited back-to-school sales in August. They were easily able to express their style, their art–hell, they were teenagers–it was their identity! Today, unfortunately, dressing for school is not so liberating–well, at least if you identify as female.

back to scool ad

Many educational institutions throughout the nation and the world have implemented overtly sexist dress code policies that specify which body parts may or may not be revealed in the classroom. It appears that administrators believe that the female anatomy can prevent boys from learning and that this lack of concentration falls squarly on sweater-covered shoulders of girls.

Skirt lengths, opaqueness of clothing, and types of clothing (no yoga pants) have been investigated, researched, and determined to be the reason why boys are “distracted” at school.  The latest member of the human physique to be vilified is the collarbone. Apparently, school officials believe that not only are girls disturbing to hormone flooded boys, but that boys are completely unable to control themselves. Unfortunately, this myth becomes everyone’s problem. And we see it continuing to exist well beyond middle school…


Recently, the Missouri House Speaker and another State Representative resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations involving an inappropriate relationship with a 19-year old intern and the repeated sexual harassment of another intern, respectively. The government’s answer to this deplorable behavior? Implement a dress code for interns. This type of chauvinistic response not only exacerbates body shaming, but it inherently leads to a “rape culture” where victim blaming takes hold. Personally, the most egregious aspect of these “solutions” are that they are being developed by educators, community leaders, and politicians–the people with the most power whose job it is to represent all of us!

school building

However, many people (especially women and girls) are equally outraged and are not accepting this dominant discourse. Documentaries on shame and school dress codes, men’s groups which advocate for educating boys, and online community activist sites are stepping forward and calling out these misogynistic rule makers and their statutes.  I am uncertain if the people creating these codes genuinely buy into what they are trying to sell us.  But, I am sure that these outrageous rules are used to distract people from the real issue at hand-the objectification of girls and women from the sandbox to the Capitol.

Build Your Confidence!

I have often wondered why there seems to be a difference in how confident men and women are in themselves. In a New York Times article by Suzanne Daley a survey was done in 1991, with 3,000 children, and at the age of nine both girls and boys felt confident, assertive, and pleased with themselves. Later when the same girls were in high school, less than a third of them still felt confident. Why do girls lose that self-esteem? Women and young girls face a lot of societal pressure. They must have the perfect body, the perfect face, and the perfect personality. For a long time America’s ideal woman was someone who was thin with long hair, and blue eyes. It was like the pressure was on to become the next human Barbie, and it was a goal that was unfair. When a goal is unreachable we tend to feel like a disappointment.


Growing up I didn’t have much self-esteem. For three years I swam on my high school swim team and after graduating I joined martial arts. The feeling of achieving something is remarkable, in swimming I would always try to beat my personal record and when I did it was one goal reached. Then in martial arts it was something I didn’t know anything about which made it more interesting. I remember having to remember the word of the belt (for white belt), each belt had a phrase that was memorized, and coincidently the word of the belt was “Positive Self- Esteem” right off the bat I had to work with who I am. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs you can’t move to self-actualization without your self-esteem, but in this case self- esteem was the first thing I needed to continue on.

Fast forward to today I know that my self-confidence has grown tremendously and I am confident with who I am as a person. Sports have helped me understand who I am and they have also made be become at peace with who I am.


Involvement in sports might be one way to improve the confidence of young women. In his article Sports: Building Confidence: Part I he has four sections: Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk, Balance the Scales, and Thought-stopping. In the articles Dr. Jim Taylor emphasizes that positive thoughts will be the goal to achieving confidence. In sports you must think of the positive, you’re not going to go into a game thinking you are bound to lose, if so it will happen. While in a sport with other people it also helps because your teammates are your support system and they help cheer you on so you do think positively.

Sometimes to have that complete confidence you have to find that right activity. For some it is running, hiking, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, karate, or tennis. Think about some of the women out there that have found their passion. Serena Williams, American professional tennis player, carries herself with so much passion for the game and you can see that ooze out of her. Natalie Coughlin, an American competitive swimmer, loves to spend more time in the water than on land. Just because these women have given their life for what they do doesn’t mean they have more or less confidence then anyone. Their self-confidence grew, by feeding off the accomplishments they achieved in sports. They had set new personal bests, surviving the setbacks of injuries, and work through particularly difficult skills. Their competition in sports, as in life, was not with someone else, it was with themselves.

Confidence is a skill and it needs to be practice like any other skill, so join a sports club, join a jogging team, or join a dance team. Becoming active will help with confidence building and encourage others to do the same, you never know who’s confidence needs a boost.

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 29:  Serena Williams celebrates a point against Li Na of China during the final of the Sony Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 29, 2014 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

KEY BISCAYNE, FL – MARCH 29: Serena Williams celebrates a point against Li Na of China during the final of the Sony Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 29, 2014 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty 

Tejano Superstar

In honor to the 20th anniversary of Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s death the WRC would like to take a moment and view her success not only as a women but a Hispanic women in a world that is mainly dominated by men. Selena Quintanilla- Perez was born on April 16, 1971 in Lake Jackson, Texas her life was anything but simple; and by the age of 10 she was the lead singer in her family’s band, Selena Y Los Dinos. The band featured Selena’s brother Abraham on bass guitar and her sister Suzette on drums. The band was produced and managed by their father Abraham, Jr who was a former musician. I guess I can say that music is in their blood.

In 1980’s Selena [Y Los Dinos] became every popular with Tejano music fans; and in 1987 at the Tejano Music Awards she won both “Best Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Performer of the Year”. Then in 1990 was when her first gold record hit with the album “Ven Conmigo”.  Same with her 1993 album “Live”. Her next goal was to watch her English- speaking album “Dreaming of You” rise to number one.  Unfortunately, she didn’t live to see the success because she was shot by Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of the Selena’s fan club, and died on March 31, 1995.candle selena

The hit movie Selena directed by Gregory Nava captured the life of Selena. The role of Selena was played by Jennifer Lopez and Edward James Olmos as Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. This movie created a new connection between Selena and her fans. The movie itself made about 60,000,000 dollars in box office her legacy continued even after she had passed.selena movie

Selena made an enormous impact on the Hispanic culture because of her lively personality. Performing was something that she was passionate about and it was something that she carried in her heart. That same feeling made little girls want to be like her, and adults loved her music. It is not every day you can run into with that amount of passion from someone.selena_medium

On April 30, 2015 Gaby Espino, Venezuelan actress and model, and Pedro Fernandez, recording artist and actor, hosted the Billboard Latin Music Awards. It was a night full of excitement and memories. Twenty years after the tragic death of Selena she was still remembered by the Hispanic community.  A special tribute was in favor of the beloved singer and for this tribute Jennifer Lopez was asked to come back to sing as Selena. This time Los Dinos, A.B Quintanilla (brother of Selena) Suzette Quintanilla (sister of Selena) and Chris Perez (Widow), joined Jennifer Lopez on stage for one more tribute. We at the WRC are hoping that the Quintanilla family has reached their goal of never letting their beloved sister’s dream down. I am in pleased to know that such an incredible young women being honored for the impact she has made on her community.

Hi guys!

The WRC hopes that all of you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

We are officially in December and I’m sure that next week’s finals are filling a lot of you with stress. However, as soon as they are done we can all have a break and enjoy the holiday time that we get off. In the meantime, to help relieve some of that build up anxiety, here are some comical memes to bring some laughter into this time of stress.

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Auraria Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Hi Everyone!

It’ s that time of year again and Auraria Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is here!

There are all kinds of events planned for this week to help raise awareness in our community

of the hunger and homelessness that faces this country every year.

There will be movie screenings, guest speakers, and more!

Come and join us on Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in these events and learn more about the issue at hand!

Here is this week’s program: