Thank You, Women’s Center

By Kyra Charles

I was shocked when Arzie Umali picked me as blog editor. I’d never worked in a position like this before, my only experience coming from my various writing classes. Six months have passed since that interview, and I’m so happy and grateful that she gave me a chance. My experiences at the Women’s Center have been enlightening, not just as a student, but as a feminist and a writer heading into the job market. I truly believe their patience, determination, and trust have given me strength I will use as I head out into the real world.

Of course, as blog editor, my first priorities were the blogs. I always encouraged the staff at the center to write about their passions and they delivered. Shanakay Williams shared her model of self-care. Maggie Pool gave insight into feminism in the film industry. Allani Gordon embraced the lives of the artists she interviewed. Elise Wantling opened up about their personal struggles as a non-binary individual. Adriana Suarez educated us on the big issues like the tampon tax. Sabrina Zavala and Haley Dean dove deep into the importance of our yearly events. I’ve watched the way these writers have grown and I’m proud of them all.

Outside of the blogs, I also took part in several projects around the Women’s Center. The first major thing I did this year was the Vagina Monologues. I got to interact with a kind and diverse group of performers every week, talking about why this project meant so much to us. At the center I advertised the heck out of it on our blog and social media.

Then there was the 100th anniversary of Women’s suffrage, and the Women’s Center committed to telling the story of how we got here. I collaborated with Elise and Allani to make our poster outside the office, complete with adorable arrows for our “map” by Allani. Elise’s research and all the trivia they shared with me was fascinating, from the importance of saying “suffrage fighter” instead of “suffragette” to the efforts of Lucretia Mott.

It’s inevitable that I bring up the way COVID-19 affected everything. Like everybody else, our daily routines were gone in a snap. We moved online, communicating once a week on Zoom and the rest of the week through email. Our creativity was put to the test as we tried to save our yearly events, and I’m glad to say we rose to the challenge. We put nearly all of our projects online and did everything we could to create the same feeling of comradery and dedication to women’s equity that we bring in everything we do. Watching the effort put into this from the staff was inspiring.

Because of everything I’ve listed here, I believe I’ve gained important experience that I can take with me for future jobs. As editor, I’ve gotten to see firsthand how each of our staff writes and how they’ve improved throughout the semester. I’m thankful with how patient they’ve been with me as I tried to communicate the best ways to improve. Our daily activities have taught me the importance of staying consistent with our message and collaborating to making things possible, even in times of hardship. It’s taught me how to bring passion into my work and always keep learning new things on the job. Overall, this semester has pushed me to give the best I can give and stay passionate about feminism and women’s equity. For that, I’d like to say thank you, Women’s Center.