On Caitlyn Jenner as Woman of the Year

By Danielle Lyons

In a Glamour Magazine video Caitlyn Jenner says, “To live life authentically is the best thing I can ever do.” It sounds simple enough, but it can be the hardest thing someone can do. As women we have overcome so many obstacles throughout history and we have a ways to go.

The transgender community has farther to go in their fight for equality. They are advocating for their safety, healthcare, ease of transitioning, and other basic human rights. On March 1, 2015, the National Advocacy of Anti-Violence Programs reported 14 murders of transgender individuals for the year of 2015. That is two months into the year. The Human Rights Campaign analyzed 636 healthcare companies and only 207 provided coverage to transgender employees. A staggering 41% of the transgender population have attempted suicide at some point, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. These number are unacceptable and call for change.

18544239191_63546e9454_oIn October of 2015, Caitlyn Jenner received the honor of receiving, Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award. Originally born Bruce William Jenner, she is mostly remembered as a reality star and as, “An All American Hero,” for her major success in the Olympics. Some have called in to question whether or not Jenner actually deserves this title. Moira Smith was a recipient of the award in 2001, shortly after her death. Moira’s husband, James Smith, considers Jenner to be underserving of the award. James, whom has worked at a shelter geared towards young youth stated, “When Mr. Jenner said the hardest part about being a woman was figuring out what to wear he proved to me that he is not truly a woman. I believe this comment and others he has made trivializes the transgender experience as I have witnessed it.”

Glamour has spoken out as stating, “Caitlyn Jenner has helped shine a light on the problems faced by transgender youth and given voice to a community that is often unheard. Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards recognizes brave, bold women who in their individual ways have all made a significant difference in the world.” Caitlyn Jenner is not the only transgender woman to receive this award from glamour. Laverne Cox received this award just one year prior. This is such an important step in transgender equality; the idea that a transgender woman can have an equal shot at woman of the year.

Much of Jenner’s criticisms are about her privileged life. It is important to consider the magnifying glass she had to transform under. Rumors and whispers about Caitlyn’s gender identity have been plaguing her for years. It takes courage to be yourself. It takes a different kind of courage to do it in the public eye with such grace. Her place of privilege does not make her any less of a conqueror; however, it is something to acknowledge. We as women should strive to celebrate in all women’s accomplishments, no matter the origin of the woman. Caitlyn did say this in regards to her new sense of responsibility, “If there’s one thing I do know about my life, it is the power of the spotlight. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, but with attention comes responsibility. As a group, as athletes, how you conduct your lives, what you say, what you do is absorbed and observed by millions of people, especially young people. I know I’m clear with my responsibility going forward, to tell my story the right way, for me, to keep learning, to reshape the landscape of how Trans issues are viewed, how Trans people are treated. And then more broadly to promote a very simple idea: accepting people for who they are. Accepting people’s differences.”

Fatima Williams

By Matiara Huff



Fatima Williams is a name that not many people know, but her choreography is impossible to miss. This isn’t even an exaggeration, she has choreographed so many famous music videos it is unbelievable, including Happy by Pharrell Williams, Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas, Remember the Time by Michael Jackson, One In A Million and Rock the boat by Aaliyah. She also choreographed commercials for Pepsi, Old Navy, Gap, and H&M. As well as working on countless T.V. shows and movies including Dreamgirls, the Superbowl 45 halftime show, Miss Congeniality, Cheetah Girls, Norbit, and the 2005 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and most recently The Wiz Live!

Meet Ursula Burns!

Ursula BurnsBy Matiara Huff

Ursula Burns was born on September 20, 1958 to a single mother in the ghetto of New York City. Now she is the CEO of Xerox and the only black woman that is a CEO of a fortune 500 company. She is also the only woman to succeed another woman as CEO to a Fortune 500 company.

In her family, education was the most important thing. Even though her mother didn’t make much money, she still made it a priority to get all of her kids through school. In college Ursula major in Mechanical Engineering at New York University. After, she was offered a summer internship at Xerox that paid for her graduate school. Since then, her professional life has only gotten better. In this interview, she goes into more depth about her journey.

Women to Watch 2012: Focus on Fiber and Textiles

By Morgan Elyse

Every two years, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in D.C. hosts an exhibition that increases the visibility of underrepresented, contemporary female artists in the U.S., U.K., and other countries in which the museum has outreach committees. The museum first opened in the spring of 1987 and is the largest museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the recognition of women’s contributions to the arts. The NMWA’s dedication to the education of the community as well as it’s advocating for the equity of women in the arts is truly something to be admired.

So, “what”, you may be asking yourself, “could possibly be cooler than that?!?”

Well, this year, for the first time, UMKC, co-sponsored by the NMWA, the Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art, UMKC Libraries, and the Her Art Project, will be participating in an extension of the Women to Watch exhibit featuring the work of 22 innovative, home-grown, Kansas City women; all of whom are extremely talented fiber and textile artists!

Marcus Cain, Executive Director and Curator of the Kansas City Jewish Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS was chosen by the NMWA to appoint a Kansas City artist as our regional representative for the national exhibit in Washington D.C. in November. Being of democratic mind, however, Cain decided to put together a committee of leading arts experts in the Kansas City area to decide which woman would best represent our home town instead of making the choice on his own. This committee included Rachel Blackburn Cozad formerly of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kate Hackman of the Charlotte Street Foundation, Anne Pearce of the Greenlease Gallery and Rockhurst University, Jason Pollen of the Kansas City Art Institute, and the Women’s Center’s very own Arzie Umali.

All together, the committee had nominated 24 artists; the top 5 of which were featured in a Women to Watch extension at the Jewish Museum and all but 1 of which will be featured in our UMKC extension this fall (#24 and #25 are very busy). The UMKC Women to Watch extension will be displaying amazing fabric and textile pieces by artists Tracy Krumm, Marcie Miller Gross, Sonié Joi Ruffin, Debra Smith, Miki Baird, Debbie Barrett-Jones, Jennifer Boe, Nedra Bonds, Sandy Cahill, Kim Eichler-Messmer, Linda Filby-Fisher, Jennie Frederick, Mindy Goodman, Erika Lynne Hanson, Tanya Hartman, Hadley Johnson, Janet Kuemmerlein, Ke-Sook Lee, Eugenia Ortiz, Rachel Rolon, Gerry Trilling, and Susan White.

Tracy Krumm, was justifiably selected as the Women to Watch Kansas City ambassador to show her striking, thought-provoking work in D.C. this year. Krumm states that her work, “involves the investigation and juxtaposition of historically gender-specific techniques, such as crochet and blacksmithing, to question and comment on identity, duality, relationships and beauty”. Featured here is a photo of her piece entitled “Cone (Sleeve”).

Tracy Krumm’s crocheted metal sculpture.

The UMKC Women to Watch exhibit will be on display in the Dean’s Gallery at the Miller Nichols Library beginning on Monday, September 17th and lasting through Friday, November 2nd. The Dean’s Gallery is located on the second floor of the library at 800 East 51st St. in Kansas City, MO. UMKC will also be hosting an Artists’ Reception in the Dean’s Gallery on the evening of Thursday, October 11th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. This will be a great chance to meet and mingle with some of the artists and to view some extraordinary textile and fabric work created by 22 of Kansas City’s most talented women. The reception will be co-sponsored by the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center, the Friends of the Library, and the Greater Kansas City Area Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.