CALL FOR ARTISTS, STORYTELLERS, AND FRIENDS…

Seeking individuals to participate in

Her Life as Art: Coming Together Through Grandmother Stories

a special community project led by the Kansas City United Church of Christ, the UMKC Women’s Center, and the Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

 

This art exhibit is central to a unique, multi-dimensional, week-long series of events. This call for artists is open to all individuals, of all skill levels who wish to celebrate the wisdom and legacy of the grandmother figures in their lives.

You may participate by:

  1. creating a 16” x 16” art quilt that tells the story of the importance of this grandmother figure in your own life, or
  2. by submitting an item created by your grandmother figure. This may be a poem, drawing, recipe, quilt, dress, apron, piece of pottery, doll, etc…(Please include a short explanation of your chosen This is an exhibit only. Artwork will not be for sale.)

This exhibit will be open to the public during the week of Saturday, November 6 – Friday, November 12, 2021 at Kansas City United Church of Christ (KCUCC), 205 West 65th St., Kansas City, MO 64113 

To Participate:

Drop off or mail your completed entry form to KCUCC (see address above) or email to: Jean Ayres, ayresjean@gmail.com before Monday, October 25

  • Bring your entry to the church Tuesday, November 2, 10:00 a.m.-12 noon.
  • Pick up your entry Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m.-12 noon.

Organizing Committee:

Jean Ayres, KCUCC

Judy Long O’Neal, KCUCC

Karen Hartzler, KCUCC

Arzie Umali, UMKC Women’s Center

Sherry Dicus, Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

Yvette Morton – Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

For entry form, contact Jean Ayres, ayresjean@gmail.com

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.

Walked a Mile Alone, to Stand Up Together!

By April Brown

We kicked off Domestic Violence Awareness Month on Tuesday October 6th, 2020 which marked the annual UMKC sector of Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, the international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. In spite of its binary name, UMKC encourages any and everyone to participate in this march to end gender based violence against all people. It’s an inclusive and fun way to shed light on some very dark issues that plague our society, especially on college campuses.

This day is usually a rowdy one, characterized by large groups of friends and allies, high heeled shoes, and picket signs that call for peace and love above all else. Together with most of the other student organizations, the women’s center would lead a march around campus that cultivated a crowd so large it would demand everyone’s attention. The acceptance, tolerance, and love would be tangible as the group walked by.

This year the event had to be done a little differently. With COVID an ever present risk, the Women’s Center wasn’t even sure we would be able to put on this event. I mean, it is an event about togetherness, and about standing in solidarity. We were pressed to find a way to make the same impact with this event, while remaining isolated, distanced, and safe. Being unable to gather on campus made it especially difficult for Emma, Abbie, and Morgan, the staff members responsible for the Walk A Mile event this year, as they couldn’t even put their heads (physically) together to try and figure out a new way to pull this off.

Despite the challenges though, our staff members, along with the help of their co-sponsors, were able to come up with a program that adhered to the campuses restrictions and rules, but also provided an opportunity for the student organizations and other students and faculty to physically stand with victims of sexual and gender based violence. Though we couldn’t lead a mass group of people around campus, Emma and Abbie did find a way to make sure the walk could still happen on campus. With chalk outlines on the sidewalk, and printed out maps, participants could stop at the Women’s Center table in the quad, grab a T-shirt, a map, and shoes (if they wanted them), and take the mile long walk on their own. With requirements to stay six feet apart, and to keep your mask on the entire time, students and faculty were able to bring a friend or two and take the self guided march for equality. They were encouraged to snap selfies and pictures of themselves and the walk to post to social media to be sure the importance of their walk reached as many people as possible.

I was not working the event, so I decided to pay Abbie, Morgan, and Emma a visit while they sat at their table waiting for people to come by and start their own walk. I wanted to see how this walk would affect me, and others around me, now that it seemed to be such a quiet and singular thing. Would it have the same impact? Could it possibly raise any awareness this way?

After arming myself with a T-shirt and a map I started my trek through the course all on my own. I was surprised to find that I actually felt very powerfully about what I was doing, even being all by myself. The chalk arrows on the ground eventually gave way to statistics about rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. They were so moving I found myself stopping and just taking in the information. I was learning so much! I ambled through the first half of the walk, stopping often and looking around. People were looking at me too, my shirt like a flashlight in the dark. They were curious. I saw that people on their way to class, or lunch, or wherever they were headed would not only look at me but look at the ground too. They would stop and read the messages written there. They were learning as much as I was.

Then the statistics gave way to messages of support, encouragement, and empowerment towards the end of the walk. There were chalked instructions on how to handle someone who discloses having been hurt or assaulted, how to handle your own emotions if it happens to you, and simple messages like “Believe Survivors.” Needless to say this was a very powerful way to end the course. The mile came to an abrupt halt at the outside entrance to the Women’s Center. I stood there by myself for a minute, reflecting on what I had done, and knowing that no one really saw me do it, and there was no big production, but that I had learned and changed along the way anyway. I truly felt like an ally to and advocate for victims.

Later on in the day I did the walk again with a few friends, but we didn’t talk much throughout it. They, like me, were busy watching the ground, and learning about the realities of so many people in our community. I found that the quiet, solitary, introspective nature of the event was as powerful, if not more powerful, than the robust, celebratory atmosphere of previous years. For the first time since school started up again I felt connected to my campus, and to the other students here, especially as social media began to fill up with pictures of other people who had walked the same path I had that day. We had done it all on our own, but we had stood together with the victims of these heinous acts. We weren’t isolated in this act.

In all I think the event, though it was small, different, and difficult to pull off, was pretty successful. It accomplished exactly what it set out to do and that was to bring people together in the name of reform, justice, love, and peace, which is one hell of an accomplishment, especially now.

 

Recovering From Invisibility: #SayHerName

By Morgan Clark

I was recently asked “in what way police brutally has affected you the most?” After pondering on the question, I came up with this answer: There were three death that truly shook my core. The first one was Trayvon Martin; his death lifted the veil that was covering my eyes. Although I knew racism did exist, I didn’t understand how much of an influence it had on our society still. The second death which affected me was Mike Brown; his death was the one that radicalized me. I learned how the media can villainize black life. His death was also the start of the Black Lives Matter movement. The third one was Breonna Taylor because her story (like others) was so sad. Being close to my age, her death was very close to home. Not to mention she reminds me of so many black women in my own life.

Recently the court released the verdict of Breonna Taylor’s case. Yet again American’s justice system has failed us. And although it was not surprising that they did not convict her three killers, it still hurts to see that she does not get the justice that she rightfully deserves. As a black woman it truly infuriates me to see this happens yet again. Sometimes it’s hard to interact with others because of this. I had Drill the week they released the verdict in her case and was so upset that I didn’t want to be surrounded by very opinionated white men. It made me feel hopeless for the justice system when it comes to police brutality. No matter what, or how innocent the victim is, there will be no justice. The process leading up to the verdict didn’t help either. Seeing Breonna’s death being turned into a trend as if it was the next cool thing to be a part of was very upsetting. Black Twitter was in an uproar when they discovered that Breonna’s death was turned into a meme. A meme…a form of entertainment. Something that was so traumatic made into a joke. If that’s not a good example of how our society handles black women’s lives, then I don’t know what is. To see all this happening day by day has been discouraging to say the least.

So, it was reassuring to have the “Say Her Name: The Invisibility of Black Women” event on Wednesday September 30th, 2020. It was a virtual safe space facilitated by UMKC organizations like Multicultural Student affairs and the Women’s Center to listen to and speak on issues for Black Women in our society such as police brutality and societal standards that degrade or limit black women. Being met with the same emotions I have felt validated my feelings and experiences more than anyone will know. To have a panel of Black women from different professional fields and different age groups who were all outraged and upset showed that this is an issue. That it does affects us in ways that sometimes we can’t openly express to our white allies. It was an empowering event to be a part of and I am grateful for those who put it on, and participated, especially in times like this.