by Lauren Schuster
In a fitting end to Women’s History Month, students and faculty gathered together in Cornerstone in Miguel Hall to listen to Cristina Pérez Jiménez, a faculty member of the English department, discuss women’s movements across the americas.
Jiménez engaged the audience in a variety of discussions about what feminism, intersectionality, and movements for change all mean. The topic of the event was deemed to be “feminisms” rather than the usual singular “feminism,” because Jiménez wanted to touch upon the variety of different approaches and experiences that feminists of different racial, ethnic, and sexual identities all have.
Many of the points of conversation brought up by Jiménez were about intersectionality, meaning the way that a single person’s multiple identities come together to effect the way that they experience life. She discussed how being a poor woman, a black woman or a latina woman makes your experiences in life very different from that of a rich woman or a white woman.
She then explained that the recognition of those differences is important for women to be able to support each other and be inclusive in their movements for change. Jiménez then went on to talk about various women’s movements that have happened in different places in the americas.
She talked about the Women’s March on Washington that took place this past January, as well as the “Day Without Women” event that took place earlier this month. She then linked their approaches to that of women’s movements in places like Argentina and Puerto Rico. Marches and strikes were tactics mentioned that seem to be universal to every movement to enact change.
Acknowledging this connection brings a sense of solidarity with movements that we may not directly be a part of. Learning from other movements both helps us to be more aware of the problems around us that we may not personally experience and helps us to improve the movements that we are a part of. Jiménez encouraged the audience to think about the variety of ways that they can incorporate these concepts into their actions as feminists going forward.
The event is part of a series called “Slice of Social Justice,” which is organized by Campus Ministry and Social Action. The Slice of Social Justice events serve pizza to those in attendance and aim to provide speakers that will inform students about various social justice topics.
Ivan Bohorquez, a graduate assistant who works for Campus Ministry and Social Action, worked to organize the event. He explained that he wanted to work to improve the Slice of Social Justice program, saying, “At the beginning, when I started [working at Campus Ministry and Social Action], the whole program Slice of Social Justice was kind of on the decline.”
This did not discourage him, however, and instead inspired him to draw more people to the event.
“I do think it’s an awesome programming idea, because you can never really get enough of current events, and I don’t think we talk about current events as much [as we could] at Manhattan,” Bohorquez said.
“I wanted to definitely bring that, talk about topics which you can never do enough advocating for, like there’s never too much learning about feminism, or racism, or in the fall we had Professor Groarke talking about voter suppression. These are things that are not going away tomorrow, so that was my motivation for it,” he said.
Bohorquez decided to hold a Slice of Social Justice event about specifically about feminisms for several reasons.
“I knew that in the month of March I wanted to do programming pertaining to women for sure,” Bohorquez said.
Then, on a recent spring break L.O.V.E. trip to Guatemala, Bohorquez’s team leader was a passionate feminist, which inspired him to want to learn more about feminisms himself. He then realized that this topic would fit perfectly with both the Slice of Social Justice series and Women’s History Month, so he contacted Dr. Jiménez who agreed to be the speaker.
Bohorquez hopes to hold more Campus Ministry and Social Action events focused on feminism as well hold more Slice of Social Justice events on other diverse social justice topics.