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Abby Palko

March 18, 2021

a word from the women's center

In the wake of the shootings at three massage parlors in Atlanta on Tuesday evening, the Women’s Center stands in solidarity with the Asian American community and honors the lives of those killed. We reiterate our commitment to the needed collective action to ensure justice and safety for all. Among the many painful elements of the coronavirus pandemic is the rise in racialized violence against Asian Americans, and we denounce this violence.

February 03, 2021

Here in Charlottesville, the violence at the US Capitol in early January was especially painful to watch, challenging beyond what our usual messages about self-care could 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.

February 03, 2021

collage of social media images

For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

from “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

January 28, 2021

girl wearing olympic gold medal with Leah Smith

Last January, I had the joy of welcoming many of you to JPJ for our annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration, where alumna Jennifer Langton was honored for her athletic accomplishments on UVA’s lacrosse team and her off-the-field contributions to the NFL as Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Innovation. 

In my welcome, I shared a little-known personal fact:

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

view of women's center from the corner

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

memorial to enslaved laborers at UVA

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

shadows of lambeth columns

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.

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