Herstory month honors women

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Author: Fiona Eustace

For March’s Herstory month, an annual celebration of women’s role in history, Intercultural Affairs (ICA) has planned numerous events and speakers to celebrate women and their stories of resilience on Occidental’s campus.

Herstory month’s keynote speaker is Latina transgender activist Bamby Salcedo, who advocates for transgender Latina immigrant women’s rights. Salcedo founded TransLatina Coalition. Salcedo will speak tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Choi Auditorium.

Amy Hill, assistant director of student organizations and leadership development, explained that Herstory month highlights the overshadowed female figures who have shaped historical events and contemporary society.

“It’s been a space for women to talk about their identities and other institutional barriers that don’t always get talked about,” Hill said.

Joel Gutierrez, assistant director of ICA, hopes Herstory month will encourage people to think critically about how multiple identities intersect with womanhood. He explained that Herstory month exposes the Occidental community to alternative perspectives on the experiences of women, or “womxn,” as the month’s coordinators suggest.

For ICA Programming Assistant Carolina Cardoza (senior), the student coordinator of Herstory month, the interchangeable “x” is vital.

“I feel that woman is rooted in patriarchy and in the shadows of man,” Cardoza said via email. “The x for me is for Malcolm X. He used the surname X because he felt that his last name was given to him by slave masters and he wanted to break free from that. The x means being aware, being conscious of the systems of oppression.”

Cardoza created the theme for this year’s Herstory month: Exist. Resist. Decolonize. She said she hopes the theme will help people understand women’s narratives and prompt discussions about the physical, mental and emotional violence that women face around the world.

Herstory month programming will conclude with a film screening of “Justice For My Sister” and discussion with Politics Professor Jennifer Piscopo March 31 at 7 p.m. in Dumke Commons.

According to Piscopo, the film follows one Guatemalan woman’s efforts to ensure that the man accused of murdering her sister goes to jail. Piscopo said Guatemala can be a dangerous country for women due to widespread violence and a weak criminal justice system. According to Piscopo, the film will provide an interesting perceptive on violence.

Beyond this month, Hill’s recent creation of Oxy Women in Leadership aims to support women leaders and encourage discussions around identity. Similar to Herstory month, Oxy Women in Leadership promotes an open space for women to reflect on their individual, social and cultural identities, Hill said.

Students interested in getting involved in Oxy Women in Leadership can contact Hill at ahill@oxy.edu.

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