“Undressing the Other: The Naked Truth of Stereotypes,” is just one of the awesome events happening as part of this year’s Women of Color Week. Throughout the week, there will be multiple events that honor and celebrate the achievements of both local and global women of color, and stimulate dialogue and discussion leading in the direction of social change. The theme this year is “On The Front Lines: in Solidarity, in Struggle and in Strength,” and as the week unfolds, hopefully your knowledge and experience with these themes will be infused and supported with some interesting and lively activities.
“Last year there was an International Women of Color Day,” said Hana Kato, co-coordinator of the Women’s Center, “and people were like, ‘Wow, we should really make this a week. It should be all year, so let’s make it big.’”
“Women of color week is to celebrate National Women of Color Day, which is March 2,” said Arlette Maratas, the Graduate Assistant to the Ethnic Student Center. “It became a whole week because all the issues surrounding women of color couldn’t be captured in one event. This is a great way to bring awareness to campus.”
After you have digested Monday’s fashion show, you can head over to an event focusing on the lives of the people who grow and harvest the food we eat. “Viva La Campesina” will bring a panel of local women farm workers, discussing their lives and experiences working in the fields. The event will be facilitated by Rosalinda Guillen, director of the food-justice organization Community to Community. The event is free, and will take place in VU 565, from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28.
The next day will be a no-holds-barred, blowout celebration of women of color, focused on the week’s themes of solidarity, struggle and strength. On Wednesday, March 1, from 7-10 pm, get your booty to the VU Multipurpose Room to experience some music, dance, spoken word and theater, as it emanates from the bodies, minds and voices of women of color from Western, and the greater Bellingham and Seattle communities. Some of the exciting performers in this show include poet Laura Piece Kelly, and musicians Christina Oreibe and Angela Dy.
On Thursday, March 2 at 6 p.m. in the VU MPR, Student Outreach Services will host the 8th Annual Women Empowerment Dinner. The idea of the event is to “increase awareness of issues and concerns relating to women of color and to celebrate the success and accomplishments of professional women of color today.” For the price of $7 for students, or $10 for non-students, you will not only get dinner, but a presentation of the success stories of four Northwest women of color.
“Women of color have always been there, but we’ve always been ignored,” said Maratas. “Even in the development of the feminist movement- that was created by white women. We’ve been struggling for a very long time. When we were choosing the theme for this year, we wanted to celebrate the women who we know who are here at this moment, and on the front lines.”
In addition to attending these awesome events and changing your own life, you have a chance to make a difference in the lives of your fellow women. The offices sponsoring Women of Color Week are raising funds to benefit both Lummi Victims of Crime and Casa Amiga, two organizations working to help women experiencing domestic violence. You can donate money to either of these organizations, or non-perishable food, toiletries, and women’s clothing and shoes to be brought to the women’s shelter at Lummi Reservation. Donations will be accepted at any of the events, at the ESC, or on Vendor’s Row all throughout the week.
Get ready to learn and grow, as you rally yourself and your friends to celebrate and honor women of color.