Middlebury

Middlebury College "Global Feminism" symposium to explore and discuss women's issues worldwide April 12-16

March 28, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.- Three Middlebury College student-run organizations have joined forces to host a symposium titled "Global Feminism" from Wednesday through Sunday, April 12-16. Student coordinators from Middlebury College Women of Color, Feminist Action at Middlebury (FAM) and the college's chapter of Amnesty International have planned an array of informative events, free and open to the public, including lectures, discussions, a one-woman show, a film and slam poetry.
 
The four-day symposium will present women's rights as human rights, and promote collaboration on campuses and throughout communities around the world. According to symposium organizers, the event is designed to raise awareness about women's rights locally and globally, and to help illuminate issues affecting women of different race, class and sexuality.

The symposium begins on Wednesday, April 12, at 4:30 p.m., in Warner Hemicycle, located on College Street (Route 125), with a lecture by Wynona Ward of Have Justice, Will Travel, Inc. While doing her undergraduate studies, Wynona and her husband started a trucking business. When the history of abuse she grew up with surfaced again in her family, Wynona gave up trucking for Vermont Law School. Wynona started Have Justice, Will Travel, Inc., when she learned that most battered women did not have the material means to escape abusive situations. The organization provides legal services to victims of domestic violence in Vermont, many of whom are trapped by abuse and pastoral isolation.

At 6 p.m. that evening, LoveFest 2006 will begin with a healing fire ceremony at Chellis House, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125). The ceremony, organized in collaboration with the Addison County Domestic Violence Task Force, will recognize women everywhere who have suffered at the hands of sexual violence. After the ceremony, around 7 p.m., there will be a procession to the steps of Mead Chapel for a candlelight vigil in which members of the community will be invited to speak out against sexual violence. Student members of Middlebury College's Distinguished Men of Color (DMC) will be present to offer men in attendance an opportunity to sign a pledge against violence. Mead Chapel is located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125).

On Thursday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m. in McCullough Student Center, Una Aya Osato will perform a one-woman show titled "Keep It Movin'." Osato is a New York City performer, educator and political activist. "Keep It Movin'" is a play about women of color in the United States searching for and developing their own identities. Osato plays the parts of 11 characters, and the show incorporates theater, poetry, dance and video to explore their lives. McCullough Student Center is located on Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125).

At 7 p.m. that evening, Staceyann Chin will perform slam poetry on the Grille Stage in McCullough Student Center. Chin, a New York City resident and Jamaican national, is a full-time artist who describes herself as an "out-poet" and political activist. In 1999, Chin won the Chicago People of Color Slam and was first runner-up in the Outright Poetry Slam. In 2000, she was the winner of WORD: The First Slam for Television. She has enjoyed international success with performances in London, Denmark, Germany and throughout Africa and Australia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. She has also been featured on "60 Minutes."

A panel discussion titled "Creating Sustainable Dialogue" will take place on Friday, April 14, at 4:30 p.m. in McCullough Student Center. Middlebury College student panelists include first-year students Gorret Namuli of Uganda and Zohra Safi of Afghanistan, sophomore Htar Htar Yu of Burma, and seniors Assia Elgouacem of Algeria and Darcel Williams of Alaska. The panelists will compare the different ways in which they experience life as women in their respective countries, and will examine the intersection of politics, economics and women's status. A question and answer session will follow.

After the panel, at 7:30 p.m. in McCullogh Student Center, slam poet Alix Olson will perform. Olson is an internationally touring folk poet and progressive artist-activist, and symposium organizers describe her performances as one part peace vigil, one part protest rally and one part joyful raucous concert. Her innumerable stage, broadcast, radio and print appearances include headlining HBO's "Def Poetry Jam." She has been featured in Utne Magazine, which referred to her as "the spoken word diva everyone's talking about," and she has graced the cover of Ms. Magazine, which described her as a "road-poet-on-a-mission." She has appeared on the Oxygen Network, CNN and HBO. In June 2003, Olson was one of three artists to receive the "Visionary Award" from the Washington, D.C.-based Rape Crisis Center for exceptional commitment to the promotion of social justice. Historian and activist Howard Zinn called Olson "an ingenious poet, a brilliant performer, a funny person, a serious thinker. Quite simply, extraordinary." Olson tours more than 200 days a year and has headlined national conferences for the National Organization for Women, GenderPac and the Lesbian Summit.

On Saturday, April 15, Jennifer Gaboury, a former assistant executive at Human Rights Watch (HRW) who currently serves on its Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights, will deliver a lecture titled "Women's Rights are Human Rights." The lecture will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Robert A. Jones '59 House, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125). Gaboury has been featured in numerous newspapers for her decision to abstain from marriage in reaction to the laws surrounding same-sex marriage. She is an adjunct political science professor at Hunter College in New York City, where she teaches classes focusing primarily on feminist politics, women and the law, and women and gender in Western political thought.

At 7:30 p.m. in McCullough Student Center, the Middlebury College student organization Alianza Latinoamericana y Caribeña (ALC) will present a cultural show, including a segment on building bridges between women of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

At 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 16, the documentary "Four Women of Egypt" will be shown in Warner Hemicycle on College Street (Route 125). The 1997 film explores a decades-long friendship between four women of diametrically opposed beliefs. Their common background of families, personal tragedy, political upheaval and shared prison cells reflects the diverse and complex history of modern Egyptian politics. By interweaving scenes of the women's daily lives with documentary footage of Egypt during the 1952 revolution, the film becomes a tapestry of Egypt's evolution and illustrates the intricacy of Middle Eastern issues.

To follow is a schedule of events:

Middlebury College Symposium: "Global Feminism"
April 12-16

Wednesday, April 12
4:30 p.m.
Lecture: "Have Justice, Will Travel"
Wynona Ward of Have Justice, Will Travel, Inc., will speak about founding anational organization that provides legal services to victims of domestic violence in Vermont.
Warner Hemicycle, College Street (Route 125)

6 p.m.
Healing Fire Ceremony and LoveFest 2006
A healing fire ceremony to recognize women who have suffered at the hands of sexual violence, followed by a 7 p.m. candlelight vigil outside Mead Chapel in which members of the community are invited to speak out against sexual violence.
Healing Ceremony: Chellis House, Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125)
Candlelight Vigil: Mead Chapel, Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125)

Thursday, April 13
4:30 p.m.
Una Aya Osata's One-Woman Show: "Keep it Movin'"

Osato is a New York City performer, educator and political activist. "Keep It Movin'" is a play about women of color in the United States developing their own identities.
McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

7 p.m.
Staceyann Chin, Slam Poet

Chin, a New York City resident and Jamaican national, is a full-time artist and political activist. She has performed in London, Denmark, Germany and throughout Africa and Australia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on "60 Minutes."
Grille Stage, McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

Friday, April 14
4:30 p.m.
Student Panel Discussion: "Creating Sustainable Dialogue"

Middlebury College student panelists include first-year students Gorret Namuli of Uganda and Zohra Safi of Afghanistan, sophomore Htar Htar Yu of Burma, and seniors Assia Elgouacem of Algeria and Darcel Williams of Alaska. They will discuss the ways in which they experience life as women in their respective countries, examining the intersection of politics, economics and women's status. A question and answer session will follow.
McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

7:30 p.m.
Alix Olson, Slam Poet

Olson is an internationally touring folk poet and progressive artist-activist. Her performances have been described as one part peace vigil, one part protest rally, and one part joyful raucous concert.
McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

Saturday, April 15
4:30 p.m.
Lecture: "Women's Rights are Human Rights"

Jennifer Gaboury, former executive at Human Rights Watch (HRW and professor of women's studies, Hunter College
Gaboury has been featured in numerous newspapers for her decision to abstain from marriage in reaction to the laws surrounding same-sex marriage. She is an adjunct political science professor at Hunter College in New York City, where she teaches classes focusing primarily on feminist politics, women and the law, and women and gender in Western political thought.
Robert A. Jones '59 House, Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125)

7:30 p.m.
Cultural Show sponsored by Middlebury College's student organization Alianza Latinoamericana y Caribeña (ALC)

ALC will present a cultural show, including a segment on building bridges between women from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
McCullough Student Center, Old Chapel Road off College Street (Route 125)

Sunday, April 16
4:30 p.m.
Screening: "Four Women of Egypt"

The 1997 film explores a decades-long friendship between four women of diametrically opposed beliefs. Their common background of families, personal tragedy, political upheaval and shared prison cells reflects the diverse and complex history of modern Egyptian politics.
Warner Hemicycle, College Street (Route 125)

All events are free and open to the public. For more information contact symposium co-chair Lauren Curatolo at lcuratol@middlebury.edu or 802-443-6230.