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%.

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  • 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.

mizzou

  • 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.
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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.

harassment

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…

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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.

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:

 

flyer

Hello!

Hi everyone!

Sorry it’s been so long since our last post. The beginning of the school year was a busy one, as I’m sure all of you know. We have passed Halloween, and now AHHA Week and Fall Break are right around the corner.

Since it has been so long since our last post, I am going to start by giving you guys something cute to look at!

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Winter is here! And so is the stress.

It’s been a busy few weeks here at the WRC! We’ve had our week of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness activities, then Thanksgiving with family and friends, and now we’ve got final papers and finals! Talk about a ton of stress just before taking a much-needed break for the holidays. So as an apology for not posting a blog update over the past few weeks, here’s a gift for you all: pictures of animals in snow…because there’s nothing better.

cat

dog

ferret

fox

horse

Hope you forgive us!