Women’s History Month: Inez Millholand, American Suffragist

By Katia Miazzo

Inez Millholand is known for her passionate and some might say aggressive activism for women’s rights. She led the Woman Suffrage Procession. But before she could lead the revolution let’s dive into her early years. Inez was born in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York. She was born into a wealthy family which gave her many opportunities to receive a great education. Her father was a news reporter and editorial writer for the New York Tribune. Her father also supported many progressive movements such as world peace, civil rights, and women’s suffrage. This helped spark her passion for these movements as well. Inez attended Vassar College, her time in Vassar consisted of protests and organizing women’s rights meetings. She was actually suspended for organizing such meetings. Inez organized protests and petitions that gathered a lot of support and attention. These acts were forbidden in Vassar. After she graduated from Vassar, she tried applying to Yale University, Harvard University and Cambridge but they denied her acceptance because she was a woman. She later got accepted into New York University School of Law. She became a great lawyer who fought for prison reform and equality for African Americans. She was involved in several organizations such as; the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the Women’s Trade Union League. An inspiring fact about Inez is that she was so determined to uncover the cruel conditions in prisons that she handcuffed herself to one only for her to see the true experiences that inmates suffered.

Millholand’s first suffrage event was in 1911. After that event, she quickly became the face of the women’s suffrage movement. She led several of those events/parades. There’s an image of her riding a horse in a white cape leading the procession a day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. She worked closely with the Suffrage leader Alice Paul. One of Inez’s missions was to gain support for women’s right to vote. In her speeches, she was a strong advocate for this and that women could help lead the country toward a better path by having the right to vote on important issues. In her personal life, it was reported that Inez proposed to Eugen Boissevain in 1913. They later ended their marriage due to her husband not being an American citizen. In the last years of her life, she got sick from pernicious anemia. She didn’t let that stop her from traveling and spreading the word. She decided to tour around the West in 1916 to advocate for women’s rights but she collapsed during a speech in California and died a month later.

Her final words she spoke were, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”

Women’s History Month: Maria Stewart, Groundbreaking Activist

By Katia Milazzo

Maria Stewart is well known for her work as a women’s rights activist. In her early years, she lost her parents at a young age. She was forced to become a servant for a white household. She didn’t have the opportunity to have a proper education, but she did learn from the books in the household in which she was living. After several years there, she left and married to James Stewart, a veteran of the War of 1812. He died and left money for Maria. After her husband died, this resulted in her going back to being a household servant.

In 1831, Stewart wrote several essays for William Garrison to publish in the Liberator. Stewart’s twelve-page essay called Religion and the Pure Principles of Morality called African Americans to rally against slavery and resist the cruel actions that were inflicted on them. One of her famous quotes, “How long, shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles?” Stewart was a woman of faith and she encouraged other women to be faithful, but she also called for them to stand up for their rights. It’s refreshing to hear that a woman of faith not only valued her faith, but she didn’t let that stop her from supporting women’s rights. Stewart started to make public appearances, giving speeches that would carry on for decades. She was the first woman to ever speak in public places about women’s rights and politics. She joins powerful women such as Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth in advocating for what’s right. Stewart later used some of the money from her husband’s pension to publish new editions of her essays and writings. Stewart died at the hospital she worked at in 1879. Her legacy proves that her work would last years and years later. In reference to words of Hamilton the Musical, she planted seeds in a garden of freedom and equality that not only grew then but continues to grow now and the years to come.

 

Women, Eating Disorders, The Media

By Katia Milazzo

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week begins today and runs through the whole of this week. Here at the Women’s Center, we have two events in honor of NEDA Week called Operation Beautiful and Every Body is Beautiful.

We always hear of physical disorders, but many women and men suffer with internal disorders that we do not see. Eating disorders are mental illnesses that do in fact revolve around food, but it does not necessarily mean it is just about food. Eating disorders are more about emotions, body image, and self-consciousness. The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia is the loss or lack of appetite for eating food and bulimia is according to the Oxford Dictionary, “an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting.”

Society has engraved certain standards that are plastered on social media and billboards that especially girls and women take to heart. These standards are taught at such a young age. Social media is now popular in girls starting at eight years old, possibly younger. This means they are exposed to impossible body and beauty expectations before they start their teenage years. Middle school is a tough place but when they open Instagram or Tik Tok, they immediately see who they should/need to be and how to look. This is where I believe eating disorders come in. We constantly look for the next diet plan to lose weight but when do we look for a plan for healthy mental nourishment?

All through middle school and high school, there was always this thought that I wasn’t good enough since I never fit the “perfect” body type. I had the amazing opportunity to attend Notre Dame de Sion High School for girls and that is where I found the nourishment I needed to succeed. I spent my time on education and not my next outfit or post. Girls and women should be encouraged to focus on their studies and careers, not the next fashion trend. Every single human being is worthy and beautiful in their own ways. That is the message that needs to be spread. I encourage you to follow and check all our social media sites daily during NEDA week (and every day!) for informative posts, infographics and articles. It takes all of us.

February 22 – 26

Every Body is Beautiful Week

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Location: Social Media

Facebook: @umkcwomenc

Instagram: @umkcwomenc

Twitter: @UMKC_Womenc

Check out our social media pages for information on eating disorders and body image and learn to appreciate how every body is beautiful.

February 22 – 26

Operation Beautiful Campaign

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Location: Social Media

Facebook: @umkcwomenc

Instagram: @umkcwomenc

Twitter: @UMKC_Womenc

Check out our social media pages to find out how you can participate in the Operation Beautiful campaign and help spread the message across campus and in your community that every body is beautiful.

Cicely Tyson, One of the Greats

By Katia Milazzo 

Cicely Tyson passed away January 28, 2021. It is only fitting to honor her life and her many accomplishments during Black History Month 2021Tyson was not only a strong black woman but a true icon. She broke down stereotypes in the big screens, small screens as well as the stage. An inspiring fact about Tyson is that she advocated for black actresses and actors to turn down roles that demeaned black people such as criminals and immoral characters. Even though many were without work when turning those roles down, they kept their dignity and pride.

Tyson won three Emmy awards and a Tony award and was one of the oldest people to win a Tony. She also won an OscarPeabody award and many others. In 1963 Tyson became the first African American star of a TV drama in the series East Side/West Side, playing the role of secretary Jane Foster.”  Tyson brought crucial characters to life. She stunned the world with her performance as Miss Jane Pittman in The Autobiography of Miss Jane PittmanI recommend watching it, you will not regret it. Another famous movie she was in is The Help. There’s a lot of controversy with that movie since it is initially about the lives of maids during the civil rights movement yet told by a white woman and directed by a white male. Although this movie did spark up my passion for social justice and human equality my sophomore year of high school. Her iconic line, “Every day you’re not dead in the ground, when you wake up in the morning, you’re gonna have to make some decisions. Got to ask yourself this question: “Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?” You hear me? Those very words instilled more confidence in myself in everything I do to this day.  

There is no doubt that she brought brilliance to the arts, but what she also brought to the table is her activism for civil rights and women’s equality. Tyson also had a passion for community service. She co-founded the Dance Theater of Harlem. Tyson was honored by the Congress of Racial Equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Council of Negro Women. In 1977 she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.” She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an honorary Academy award. Cicely Tyson was a rare diamond in this world that we will forever remember and cherish. Take some time to listen to the podcast from NPR attached to this blog.  

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/29/961989946/legendary-stage-and-screen-actress-cicely-tyson-has-died-at-96  

http://www.myblackhistory.net/Cicily_Tyson.htm  

Introducing Katia Milazzo

Hello everyone! My name is Katia Milazzo, I am a junior here at UMKC. I am majoring in English and double minoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Political Science. I chose UMKC for many reasons, but the two most important reasons are being a Kansas City native and how diverse and inclusive UMKC is. There are endless opportunities on campus to be a part of something great.

Women’s Center Intern Katia Milazzo

I believe being a part of the UMKC Women’s Center is an opportunity that will bring me closer to my goals. My career goals reflect my passions. I have a passion for women’s rights, equality, and social justice. There are many injustices in the world, that is why our generation must rise up. Apart from those passions, I have a deep love for music and theatre. I have been directing musicals and plays for a few local theaters. The fine arts world is where I go to escape the everyday chaos.

What do I look forward to the most from my internship at the Women’s Center? I look forward to working with strong and independent women on projects and events that make a difference. I often ask myself; what can I do to turn a negative into a positive? I also look forward to making a change in our community. I always have Ghandi’s quote in mind with every adventure I go on, “Be the Change You Wish to See in the World.”