January 12, 2021
We've been eager for Austin Channing Brown to return since her presentations here last February. Join us in hearing more from her on January 20.
Here in Charlottesville, the violence at the US Capitol last week was especially painful to watch, challenging beyond what our usual messages about self-care can address. In the more than three years since August 11-12, 2017, we have seen so many of you engaged in working for equity and justice, and we know that seeing lessons not learned more widely since then makes this work more daunting.
December 04, 2020
Calendar pages keep flipping, moving us closer to the end of 2020. The trees have released all but the most tenacious leaves, and one morning soon, we will wake up to winter, the fourth season of our coronavirus world. One thing I know for sure is that 2020 will not end the way we might have imagined when it began.
November 04, 2020
It seems unlikely that any of you reading this have missed the highly contentious nature of this year’s elections. Many of my colleagues who know more about politics are writing insightful commentaries, and I defer to their political expertise as we wait for official results.
From our vantage point at the Women’s Center, however, I do have a few observations to share:
October 29, 2020
In my last post I mentioned our recent work on values and promised to return to talk more about them. Given that we’re the Women’s Center, in some ways our first value, social justice, seems self-evident. But in other, crucial ways, the traumas of 2020 remind us that it bears reflecting on it. It was important for us to explicitly articulate that “we work for social justice through anti-racist and feminist approaches.” I’d like to share a series of impressions and observations to help explain why.
October 08, 2020
I stare at the reminder on my calendar: draft due to Leigh Ann, and the only words that come to mind are “I have no more words.” It’s time to write my next column. But it’s also time to pause and absorb the fact that we are six months into living remotely in an effort to contain a global pandemic, and over 200,000 of my fellow citizens have died in those six months.
It has been a long six months.
There is a very good reason I feel like I have no more words – an intertwined set of very good reasons, actually.
August 15, 2020
Photo by Caltech Center for Diversity
Since the end of May when we originally published the below thoughts, we have witnessed growing engagement in activism, protests, and demonstrations here in our community, across the country, and even the globe, calling for justice for George Floyd and an end to racism and systemic oppression of Black Americans and all people of color. The building momentum gives us hope that desperately needed collective action will be taken to ensure justice and safety for all.
July 08, 2020
It’s not a secret that the Women’s Center embraces an ethos of trauma stewardship. In the past weeks, I have found myself turning to the epigraph from one of the field’s foundational texts: You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you're coming out the other side.
June 16, 2020
Claire Kaplan and the center's 2019-20 GVSC interns in front of the "Stronger at the Broken Places” mural. The project grew out of an annual Day of Healing and incorporates donated materials with design and labor contributions from survivors and volunteers who support them.
Claire Kaplan’s position with the Sexual Assault and Education Office here at the Women’s Center was established in 1991 after a student campaign demanding the addition of a full-time coordinator for this essential part of the fledgling center’s work. The students’ campaign included a candlelight vigil held for 134 hours – an hour for each sexual assault reported at UVA that year.
April 28, 2020
Like everyone else who is currently teaching, I needed to revise the syllabus for my course mid-semester. As I did that, I inserted this graphic at the top as a visual reminder for my students. If we focus on the “moon,” its light can help us see the meaning and good we can find in this moment. But, we need a sustainable schedule to do that.
March 31, 2020
Some of you know that my husband is disabled. I usually say he “has mobility challenges” or “health issues.” He says he’s crippled. The medical reality is that he has a C4-level spinal cord injury that he incurred in a swimming accident at the Jersey Shore eight years ago. In the immediate aftermath, he spent 8 weeks in the hospital. We sought a “new normal” and, silver lining to that experience, I learned some things that I’d like to share with you.