A Farewell from Taylor Michl, our Graduate Assistant

 

By: Taylor Michl

Boy am I ready to sip cold drinks in the summer sunshine. But, not before reflecting on a busy semester—and year—filled with growth and fun. I’ve been graduate assistant at UMKC Women’s Center since August and it’s bizarre to think that this is the end of the road.

At the Center, I’ve been surrounded by colleagues and visitors who deeply care about the liberation of women and others that experience gender marginalization. There’s something really special about going to work everyday knowing that the smiling faces I will see deeply care about justice in the same ways I do. This semester, I have witnessed Women’s Center staff persevere, create, educate, empower, and grow. I have learned so much from them about ecofeminism, using art to empower and heal, dismantling fatphobia, and using creativity to meet students where they’re at. I’ve also been lucky to work with a variety of students, faculty, and staff in other departments through our Women’s Center programming, which has made me feel a deeper sense of community at UMKC.

Although I don’t plan to work at a university women’s center in the long term, I know that planning events, supervising staff, and building connections here will make me a more thoughtful counselor, researcher, and faculty member in the future. So, I guess all that’s left to say is thank you. Thank you all for making my feminism more informed, nuanced, and caring. Thank you for engaging in our growing gender equity community at UMKC. To anyone reading this, thank you for continuing to show up for yourself and your community every day even though it can be painful to live in a world that is less kind to some than others.

I hope your summer is filled with loved ones, fun, and taking breaks. You deserve it!

Farewell, Au Revoir, and Adios Y’all!

By: Sierra Voorhies

I have learned so much from working at the Women’s Center for two whole semesters! At first, I really struggled to find topics for blogs, I didn’t trust my writing or my interests. Now, after a full academic year, I have gained so much confidence and knowledge that there were actually more blogs that I wanted to write that we didn’t have time to. 

For your entertainment, I will tell you a couple things that I wanted to write about but ran out of time to. First, last semester I went to the Women’s March in Kansas City, and I had such an interesting time, with really good and not so good parts of that experience. I also wanted to talk about wedding ceremonies, specifically how some brides chose to follow or shirk tradition (like by wearing a black or colored dress instead of a white one). Another thing I would have liked to write about is the connection between femininity and commodification. For example how women and femme people are made to feel like it’s normal or necessary to have a collection of shoes, clothes, makeup, nail polish, etc. to be fully performing femininity, and that masculine presenting people don’t have the same capitalistic demands on them. 

If you are working at the Women’s Center in the future, please feel free to make these ideas into your blog posts, I will continue to check into this blog after I am done, because it is truly a great place to get insight into the gendered issues of today from the perspective of college students. I will always remember my time here and thanks to anyone who reads this blog!

Goodbye Women’s Center!

By: Adriana Miranda

Well, it’s been a long academic year and it’s finally coming to a close! My time at the Women’s Center has definitely passed by too quickly though. There are so many blogs I didn’t get to write, and so much to still be said and done. However I’m so glad I still got to share things like: exploring what performing femininity means in relation the the male gaze and desirability, women of color and their role in being essential workers,  SA awareness, and of course my usual spiel: INTERSECTIONAL FEMINISM!

I hope we’ll all continue thinking about intersectionality in our fight for gender equity. Remember none of us are equal until we are ALL equal. This includes our trans sisters/brothers/siblings, BIPOC, disabled folks, plus size folks, and anyone else who has to fight for equity in this largely cishet, white, male, able-bodied focused world.

I have loved being part of such a wonderful team for yet another semester and being in an environment where i’m comfortable being my loud, colorful, intense Latina lesbian feminist self, and I get to work on things i’m passionate about.

I’ve met so many wonderful new people and strengthened bonds with other Women’s Center staff who will remain friends for life and I’m so grateful for all we’ve done together.

It’s been real Women’s Center, i’ll miss ya, and I will miss writing for all of you lovely folks reading the blogs 🙂 <3

Reflecting on my Women’s Center Experience

By: Jetzel Chavira

This has been one of the most fulfilling and busiest years of my life. I am reflecting my time at the Women’s Center and my most favorite part about working here was meeting my co-workers. On the daily I work with Adriana and Sierra who are my fellow work-study students. Apart from them, I also get to work with the interns which include Laura, Ebony, Emma Sauer, Emma Stuart and Alyssa.

The most challenging part of working here has been balancing work and life. I tend to get overwhelmed a lot and when I don’t organize or prioritize than I usually end up procrastinating. I found that using a physical planner and my Outlook calendar really helped. I would also make lists of what tasks I needed to do and prioritize them. Overall, the Women’s Center has been a good experience. I learned management skills, organizational skills, and had so much fun hanging out with my coworkers.

Bye for Now, UMKC!

By: Emma Stuart

As the spring semester comes to a close, many of us are logging off of the Women’s Center blog for good, and I am one of those people. This semester seems to have gone by fairly quickly in my eyes and I cannot believe that we are already only 2 weeks from the semesters end. I have enjoyed getting to be a part of the Women’s Center and getting to learn more about what it has to offer. During this internship I have gotten to learn more about how a resource like this functions and how much the people behind it contribute. The thing that I have found most enjoyable about my timer here at the Women’s Center is all of the people I have had the pleasure of interacting with, these people range from students, my co-workers, faculty, and staff here at UMKC. This has been very enriching for me and for my collogues as well.

The connections I have made here are ones that I hope to keep in the future as they are very special to me. Additionally, this internship here at the Women’s Center has been my first so there has been a lot of learning and a lot of firsts over the course of this semester and for this I am grateful. I will cherish the connections that I have made here and all of the knowledge I have gained. This is only my second year at UMKC so I am sure that I will have the opportunity to interact with the Women’s Center again soon! I am thankful for this opportunity and for the skills that I have gained out of this internship. Thank you for the support and encouragement! And I wish the future Women’s Center Staff good luck!

Before I Let Go…

By: Ebony Taylor

Right when I finally memorize all of the login passwords and am confident enough to say that I know what I’m doing, my final days at The Women’s Center are here. As a senior intern, I felt this job was only a requirement for graduation, just get through it and you’re done. I realized quickly that that was not the case. I am glad to have had a role that challenged me mentally and emotionally this semester. Having taken Women and Gender Studies classes in the past, I would not have called myself a feminist back then, for fear that I would be labeled as a “man-hater” or receive strange looks from others.

Even as I stumbled through my first event that I helped program, I was determined to not make the same mistakes again. This internship taught me to embrace the unknown and learn to ask questions. Believe me, I had a lot of them! I also credit my coworkers, peers, and directors for inspiring me to put my whole self into my work, and I think that has been reflected in the work I have done this semester. There are only so many things that can be learned from the classroom, the others by experiencing them. I will honestly say that that those I have worked with this semester were truly amazing and I am honored to have been a part of such a great team. From the open and deep conversations about any topic, the laughs shared in the office, to the many collaborations on projects, it has been a memorable experience at the Women’s Center. I am now proud to wear my “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt in honor of what The Women’s Center represents and what we offer to UMKC.

My only regret is that I did not participate in past Women’s Center events or work study in my early years at UMKC. I hope to take my new and restructured skills of organization, marketing, and coffee-making with me into post- graduation roles and hope to see the future of the Women’s Center advance the programs left behind by the Class of 2022.

Hasta la vista, UMKC!

As One Story Ends, Another Begins…

By: Emma Sauer

Wait, the semester’s over already?  

Is it just me, or did these past couple months just breeze by? It feels like just yesterday, I was making shrink art, fumbling with the office phone, and feverishly typing up my new blog post—and now, suddenly, I have to say goodbye. Even knowing I’ll be returning as a blog intern in the fall, I can’t help but get a lump in my throat. I’m especially going to miss my coworkers, who are some of the sweetest, friendliest, and funniest people I’ve met at UMKC. If any of you are reading this, I’ll miss all of you!  

My favorite part of being the blog editor for the blog has definitely been getting to see what my peers write, and how their personalities, passion, and individual characteristics are weaved into their posts. It’s interesting how everyone has their own voice when writing- at this point in the semester, I can actually pick out characteristics of each person’s writing and tell them apart. Within the Women’s Center, our blog posts have also initiated deep conversations between staff about the topics they were writing on. It’s been really cool to see how writing and researching for the blog has contributed to the intellectual growth of our staff.  

As for myself, I’ve gained critical skills in so many areas. I’m much better at planning, communication, and editing than I was when I first took this internship. It’s been a huge help for my professional development, and it’s been super fun! I can’t wait to come back next semester—I have the rare opportunity to revisit and refine my role as editor. Next semester, my goal is to create new and interesting content, and to write more research-based posts.  

The Women’s Center is a warm, welcoming place, whether you’re an employee, a student, or an off-campus visitor. I’ll miss it dearly over the summer, but I know this isn’t goodbye. We’ll meet again, Spiderman Women’s Center!  

It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See Ya Later!

By: Alyssa Bradley

Before the beginning of my internship, I was clueless about the happenings brought on by UMKC Women’s Center. As we approach the end of my time here I want to reflect on all the ways the center has helped me develop into a more well-rounded individual. I’ve been afforded many dazzling weeks of working alongside the other interns and workers to craft the center into a beacon of safety and an oasis for the people at UMKC. The community and engagement elements of this organization have got to be the thing I cherish the most out of this internship opportunity. My favorite experience from the semester was during one of our booths called Crafty Feminism. A student remarked how this was exactly what they needed to turn their day around and to see that impact happen before my eyes was inspirational.

The Women’s Center has given me such a unique experience to grow and challenge myself in ways I never would have imagined. There is no doubt that the Women Center’s mission has unlocked a new passion for gender equity and equality. I hope through my efforts on social media and inside the center, students and community members can recognize how important a place like this is to society. The representation, resources, and amenities provided by the Women’s Center are something I am certainly happy to say I’ve been a part of. The leaders and foundation at this organization were extremely supportive of all my creative and educational endeavors. I cannot wait to see where my professional path takes me after my time spent here. I will hold the Women’s Center at UMKC in a special spot in my heart to encourage me when times get rough and to look back and be confident in all that I can do. I have been forever changed for the better, thank you UMKC Women’s Center.

Sad Goodbyes and New Beginnings

Image Source: Wiki Commons

By: Laura Yac

 It is crazy to say, but my journey here at UMKC has almost officially come to an end. In a few shorts weeks I will be a college graduate which means my time at the Women’s Center is also coming to an end. To be honest, leaving the Women’s Center will be the hardest part of this journey. When starting college, I worked full time, so I never got to experience what many say are “the best four years of your life.”

I never really went out of my way to make too many friends or experience much around campus, util I joined the Women’s Center staff. This last semester I was able to be surrounded by individuals who I genially enjoyed seeing every day. I was able to have so many great conversations and enjoy many laughs. I was finally attend events on a regular basis and get to see all the behind the scenes.  

With this internship opportunity I was able to learn so much and grow every single day. I gained much needed valuable experience that I know will help me once I start my career. For that I have to thank everyone here at the Women’s Center who always were there to help with a great attitude! As I write this post, I hold back tears (I can blame the pregnancy hormones for that one).

It is very bittersweet, but I know we are all meant to do great things. As I plan to leave Kansas City and start a new journey, I will always remember my semester here at the Women’s Center.  

The Importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By: Adriana Miranda

TW: sexual assault, violence

Did you know that 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape? But this doesn’t just affect women. Men who are students and 18-24 years old are FIVE times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than men of the same age who are not students. Transgender, genderqueer and nonconforming (TGQN) students are also at higher risk than other college students (source for all of these here). And these are just reported cases; who knows how much larger the number is for people who don’t ever talk about their assault? That being said, SA is something that affects us all. If you have friends who are women or TGQN, there’s a high chance they’ve experienced some form of SA. If you have male friends there is a chance they’ve experienced the same.

This is why SA Awareness Month (SAAM) exists. It’s a time for us to come together to raise awareness and to take action against sexual assault.

The Women’s Center is dedicated to spreading awareness about SA and this SAAM. As part of our programming, we participated in Denim Day on April 26, 2022. Denim Day began as the result of a court case that victim-blamed a woman for her assault. Why? The Italian Supreme Court ruled that her jeans were too tight for her rapist to remove by himself, so she must have helped remove them.  This past Wednesday, we also shared a“What Were They Wearing” display to share the stories of SA victims, heard from a survivor speaker, and finished out the event with healing arts and snacks as a break from the heavy subject matter.