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Abby Palko

December 03, 2019

train info flip board at 30th street station

This fall, I’ve been visiting each of the center's eight different internship teams for one of their meetings, luxuriating in the opportunity to enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek at their work. It’s unsurprising but still fascinating to see the personality of each team reflected in the interns, most of whom are new to me each year, just as it is in the staff members mentoring them, most of whom I know quite well by now. 

August 29, 2019

reproductive justice books

In July of 2017, we were in the early stages of planning the event that the Women’s Center would host for the 2018 Community MLK Celebration. I knew that I wanted to bring Loretta Ross to UVA for a public lecture, and she and I were in conversation about the theme and goals for her talk. After August 11th and 12th, we pivoted directions.

June 06, 2019

young professionals shaking hands

Black feminist philosophy holds us to a high standard of solidarity. When we breach a barrier or achieve a success, we are obligated to turn back to help someone behind us. Michelle Obama articulates this responsibility as “when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity...you do not slam it shut behind you...you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” 

May 02, 2019

Girls League Baseball Player Hitting

"It's a hit and batter Dottie Schroeder, blonde pigtails and all, start[s] running for first. These girls really hit...and are lightning when running." (April 22, 1948)  Dorothy "Dottie" Schroeder became the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League's youngest player at age 15 and was the only girl who played all 12 seasons for the AAGPBL.

The past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about questions of representation. Spring is in full bloom, so I find myself wanting to quote baseball movies. “If you build it, they will come…” in my mind immediately segues into “There’s no crying in baseball!” Nostalgia aside, the juxtaposition of Field of Dreams and A League of their Own reminds us of the power of seeing people like yourself moving through spaces designed with you in mind – and the discouragement that can follow when you realize a space maybe wasn’t created for you.

March 29, 2019

students walking to class

Academia operates in the shadow of the ivory tower, a perception that studying can (should? does?) occur at a remove. Our students, however, are not content to withdraw from the world for four years while they pursue a degree (if such a withdrawal would even be possible). I have a front row seat for the multiple ways they deeply integrate learning and action. Learning about the detrimental impact of unhealthy cultural gender norms on our social interactions and other ways that gender influences our lived realities is not enough for them.

February 26, 2019

We relish the opportunity for the Women’s Center to be part of the Community MLK Celebration each year but the lecture we hosted for the 2019 celebration of Women in the Movement was an especially fitting one as students and colleagues crowded Minor Hall to hear Brittney Cooper on January 22. January 22 was the third national day of racial healing as a part of the W.K.

January 02, 2019

clover in woods

Sketching out the premise of Perfect Peace’s plot gives nothing away: when the seventh child of Emma Jean and Gus Peace is born a boy, like the preceding six, Emma Jean refuses to give up her dream of having a daughter to raise. She tells her midwife, “This is my daughter […] I know what it is, but it’s gon’ be a girl. From now on.” And so Perfect Peace is born in May 1940’s Swamp Creek, Arkansas. 

October 31, 2018

Staff members walking on path to South Wing at Monticello

Words matter.

Names matter.

October 11, 2018

Women's Center Announcement

It is a time of hyper-partisan politics and corresponding heightened tension around our everyday interactions, especially online. At the Women’s Center, we hear frequently from people looking for support as they seek to engage with the news in ways that are mindful of their personal resources.

October 05, 2018

Prince Edward Island cliffs edge

Every so often, my daughter tries to make me commit at dinner: “No, really, Mommy: what’s your favorite book?” I hedge: favorite 5 authors? Favorite series? Favorite book with yellow on the cover? To be fair, I was absurdly excited when I recently discovered the Japanese concept of tsundoku. “I tsundoku” explains so much of my life.

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