Image found via Google Images on Creative Commons

Image found via Google Images on Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

On December 28, 2014 Leelah Alcorn was pronounced dead, and her death did exactly what she wanted it to do. At the end of her suicide note she wrote “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s f***ed up’ and fix it. Fix society.”

Leelah Alcorn was a 17 year old transgender girl and all she wanted for her 16 birthday was permission to have gender reassignment surgery, and the support of her parents. Instead she was met with hatred and embarrassment. She was verbally abused and denied her surgery. Then, after coming out in school as a stepping stone, her parents took her out of school, cut off all of her social interaction, and put her in conversion therapy for 5 months. When she finally went back to school, she thought that things would get better but all of her friends moved on, and she said this made her feel lonelier than ever.

Leelah was struck by a tractor trailer at 2:00 a.m. on a highway 4 miles from her house, then at 5:30pm the next day her suicide note was set to post on Tumblr. She explained everything that she went through and why she decided to kill herself. She posted a second note to apologize to her siblings and friends. Since then, Leelah’s life and death have gone viral and have sparked a movement that she would have wanted. The only way to keep the movement going is to not forget her.

Leelah’s story is just one of too many tragic stories, and it is time that we change our society so that we don’t have to hear about these stories grounded in such hatred. At the Women’s Center, we recognize these problems, and we take the necessary steps to support everyone, no matter what their gender expression is. We want to make this world a better place for all of us. Until it is a better place for all of us, everyone is always safe and welcome in the Women’s Center.

Posted in Bullying, Equality, gender equality, Gender Issues, LGBTQIA, Matiara, Transgender | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Vagina Monologues to be Staged at UMKC!

2015-VDAY-posterBy Kacie Otto and Kemora Williams

Name of Event: The Vagina Monologues

Date and Time: February 10, 2015 at 7pm

Location: UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry Street

Admission charge: $10 for students, $20 for non-students in advance and $15 for students, $25 for non-students at the door.

Parking information: Parking will be available on the fifth floor of the Cherry St. Parking Garage

Coming up on February 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., the Women’s Center is sponsoring a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues. Funds raised from the event will support the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project and VDay’s 2015 spotlight campaign, One Billion Rising. The Vagina Monologues will be held at the UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry Street. However tickets are required for this event, which you can purchase online at or by calling 816-235-6222. Tickets are also available at the door.

For more information, visit our VDay website. The Vagina Monologues is sure to be an empowering performance and we hope to see you there! What better way to support both the campus and community!

Posted in gender equality, Her Art Project, Kacie Otto, Kemora Williams, Sexual Assault Awareness, UMKC Women's Center, Upcoming Events, V-Day, Vagina Monologues, Violence Prevention and Response Project | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warm up With the Women’s Center is a Great Success!

IMG_1784By Rocky Richards

After a long four weeks on break, UMKC welcomed back their students on Tuesday January 20th. As a result, the Women’s Center hosted our first event “Warm up with the Women’s Center”.

Students were able to stop by the Women’s Center at Haag Hall, Room 105 and pick up a fresh cup of coffee or hot cocoa. As a bonus, the students also received cinnamon buns! The students were not only provided a snack to start their first day of classes, but they also gained more information about the Women’s Center! The turnout for the event was great,  we were happy to meet so many great students, staff, and faculty!

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by our event, please feel free to drop by the office located in room 105 Haag Hall, 5100 Rockhill Road. The Women’s Center staff would like to welcome all students, faculty, and staff back to campus and we look forward to a great semester with you all!

Posted in Rocky, Women's Center, Women's Center Staff | Tagged | Leave a comment

Women’s Center Welcomes New Staff Member!

By Torshawna Griffin

TorshawnaHi, my name is Torshawna Griffin. I am a second year student studying Mechanical Engineering. I chose UMKC because of the prestigious engineering community and the distance from home, not too far away but not too nearby.

I am happy to be working in the Women’s Center because I have watched so many women in my life go through various hardships. I feel that working in the Women’s Center will give me the resources and experience to be able to give advice to different women, both young and old.

This semester I hope to continue to fight for equal pay for women on Equal Pay Day, and to encourage everyone to love their body, big or small. By the end of the semester, I also hope to know and share more about what it means to be a woman in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) field. So, come visit me in the Women’s Center!

Posted in Body Image, Torshawna | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Warm Up With the Women’s Center!

By Kacie Otto

Though we’re back aWarm-Up-eVite-2015-V3t UMKC for the spring semester, the temperatures outside are still winter-like to me. The first day of classes can be tough after a month of relaxation, so the Women’s Center is hosting an event to welcome you back called “Warm Up With the Women’s Center!”

Join us at 105 Haag Hall on Tuesday, January 20th for free coffee, cookies, and cocoa. Feel free to stay for a while or take your treats with you to your first class. We can’t wait to see you!

Posted in UMKC Women's Center | Tagged | Comments Off

This is What a Feminist Looks Like

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Matiara Huff

We all became feminists to fight for gender equality, and to stop this worldwide, irrational female hatred.  But

I am the second oldest of my siblings, but the oldest of the girls. I have always been told that I have to set the example for them. But some members of my family think women should love being in the kitchen, and live their lives as if marriage is the ultimate goal. So when I said that I don’t like cooking, and I plan on never getting married, a lot of people deemed me a bad influence on my sisters. That was when I became a “Closet” feminist. Secretly, I began giving Malaun, Madisyn, Morgan, Marsyiah, and Mackenzie feminist opinions. I loved it, and they became more confident from it.

Unfortunately, the day that I openly started calling myself a Feminist wasn’t a happy day. It was when one of my sisters was assaulted. She was 8 years old when it happened, and the first person she told didn’t believe her. But two things that I have always drilled into every one of my siblings heads is don’t ever lie about assault, but if it happens don’t ever be silent about it. So when she called and told my mom, though we didn’t want to believe it, we knew it was true. I have always been protective of my siblings, but after that incident I don’t think I will ever trust them with many people.

I will never forget that day, and I probably will never forgive myself for not being there to change the situation for her. Because rape culture is the norm in our society, I will never stop trying to create change. Because the first person my sister told the story to said she had it coming, I have no choice but to at least try to change people’s opinions before it is too late for our society. I am proudly, openly, and loudly a feminist.

Posted in Feminism, Matiara | Tagged , | Comments Off

Shrink Your Stress!

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Jesse Bihlmeyer

Yikes! Thanksgiving break has come and gone – now, it’s almost finals week. I’ve been studying, cramming, and spending countless hours immersed in my books in order to come out of finals on top. The multitude of finals, essays, and projects swamp us students in stress – making this time incredibly difficult to manage social, personal, and interpersonal relationships.

But at the Women’s Center, we facilitated an art workshop as a way to help students balance the pressure of finals with the pressures of life. On the December 5, 2014 we created shrink art and self-care coupons and asked students to join. We made shrink art (Shrinky Dinks) for a relaxation session that people deserved. People had the opportunity to take all of their wonderful de-stress ideas and create them on shrink art to prepare themselves for the hectic end of the semester.

This was a chance to think about something happy, something relaxing, and was also something that students could give themselves – which they did not need to buy. In addition, people had the opportunity to design self-care coupons they can give to themselves (or others) during finals week to take a break from the stress- it may have been a break from studying, a bath, free T.V. time, a long chat with a friend, or quiet time! It’s important to remember that part of being a successful student means making time for yourself.

Posted in Her Art Project, Jesse, UMKC Women's Center, Women's Center | Tagged , | Comments Off

Fundraising Shopping Party at STUFF

Source: Flickr via Creative Commons

Source: Flickr via Creative Commons

By Kemora Williams

Haven’t gone holiday shopping yet? Feels like there are lot of things you want to get but don’t want to go to a million different stores? Well, come to a store named STUFF. STUFF is a small store in Kansas City, Missouri owned by Casey Simmons and Sloane Simmons.

It has been said that holiday shopping time is one of the most stressful times of the year. However, the UMKC Women’s Center is having an event that will make shopping for the holidays a lot easier. Tomorrow, December 9 from 5pm until 6:30pm, the Women’s Center is partnering with a store named STUFF. 15% of all of the proceeds will benefit Women’s Center programs! Come shop, mingle, and most of all…PURSUE GOOD STUFF!

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Still I Ask, What About Her Art?

picBy DeDe Jones

Towards the beginning of the semester, I wrote a blog entitled, “What about Her Art?” In my blog I expressed how women artists are underrepresented compared to men artists. 51% of visual artists today are women. Even though this is a bit over half, female representation in U.S. art galleries is just 13%! Yes, I am an artist, a young artist, but still a woman artist. So I can relate to this underrepresentation that continues to affect women artists. A lot of people are recognized for the great things they do, which is good, but why not do that for everyone, like women artists?

Well to make a change in this underrepresentation, as a Her Art Project intern at the Women’s Center, I decided to put on a showcase of women artists right here on campus! As I stated in my previous blog, there are fifteen people in my current painting class, two men and THIRTEEN women! So, we are clearly here, we’re just not being recognized and valued like we should. Well, on Wednesday December 3, 2014, that’s going to change. On that day from 11 am-1 pm on the Jazzman’s stage in the Student Union, there will be a showcase of artwork created by the women artists in the Art & Art History department. Support your campus and help these women feel valued and supported by checking out their work. There will also be opportunities to win some prizes for being quizzed on your knowledge of women in the arts. So, what about Her Art you ask? We can tell you at our showcase!

For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 816-235-1638.

Posted in DeDe, Her Art Project, UMKC Women's Center, Upcoming Events | Tagged , | Comments Off

Carry That Weight

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Rocky Richards

Have you heard of Emma Sulkowicz? Emma Sulkowicz is a junior at Columbia University who was sexual assaulted on the first day of her sophomore year. Initially not wanting to tell anyone, Emma was quiet for a long time. Later, finding out that two other young women she knows were sexually assaulted by that same person, Emma stood up to make a change. She spoke up and let others know what happened to her. Emma took matters into her own hands and began rallying other victims and activists around campus to make a statement by deciding to carry there mattress’s across campus. By carrying her mattress around until her rapist is expelled from campus, she symbolizes the weight she carries around as a victim of sexual assault. Imagine the powerful image of Emma lugging a huge mattresses around every day on Columbia’s campus. More and more people joined her, the Carry That Weight Movement had begun.

Carry That Weight is a movement among college students and activists who are striving to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Their goal is to raise awareness of sexual assault, advocate for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses, and challenge rape culture. Do you know that 673,000 women currently attending U.S. colleges and universities have experienced rape at some point in their lifetime? Sexual assault on college campus has been and still is a major issue within society today. When parents send their children off to college, they expect that they are going to be safe. They don’t expect that their child will come home stating they’ve been sexually assaulted on campus. Things must be done differently and resources must be put into place to change these statistics on sexual assault today! Sexual assault is a hard situation to speak out about, so we applaud Emma Sulkowicz for standing up for not only herself but advocating for other victims as well.

Posted in Gender Issues, Rocky, Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault Awareness | Tagged , , , | Comments Off