CWC Flash Mob did a flash mob?  No way...

Center for Women & Community
Providing Leadership & Advocacy since 1972
Issue 2, April 2014

Upcoming Events

Have a wonderful summer!

Summer Events and Happenings will be posted on our website soon.

CWC Flash Mob

Celebrating our work, our community, and all that we have collectively accomplished this year, CWC hosted a celebratory flash mob!  Dancers and supporters waved streamers and held up signs as we started a spontaneous, pre-organized dance to the song "The World is Ours" by David Correy. The participants in the flash mob wore CWC black t-shirts with the words "Empower, Transform, Lead, Educate and Support" on them, and some held up signs bearing the same words. This message is indicative of what CWC is working to do in our community.  Originally scheduled last month for International Women's Day, the flash mob was rescheduled due to weather, but there was no shortage of enthusiasm!  

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness month, CWC hosted a day of awareness.  On April 10, Take Back the Night, a speak-out & march designed to empower our community to act towards eliminating rape & other forms of sexual violence, was held along with a display of the 5 College Clothesline Project.

The day began with the clothesline project, an annual outdoor display, held outside the student union. At this display, t-shirts hung on a clothesline, with messages written on them from survivors of sexual violence and the people close to them. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., students walking by could stop to read the powerful messages written on these shirts, and also add their own statement to a collage of post-it notes on a black cut-out, saying what they will do to combat rape culture.  Later that same day, Center for Women & Community hosted its annual Take Back the Night speak-out and march, which started outside the student union. Students got the chance to tell their stories, and then everyone marched as a group to the New Africa House, holding signs and saying various chants. The purpose of these events is to empower the community to work towards eliminating rape and other forms of sexual violence.  A big thank you goes out to ROTC for help setting up this year's display. 

CWC's New Career Services Liaison

The Center for Women & Community is grateful to have Caroline Gould, Assistant Director of Career Planning at Career Services, as our new Career Services Liaison. 

In addition to providing professional development training to our volunteer and work study staff, Caroline will be also offering one-to- one assistance with resume's, interview skills, and more on-site at CWC.  She will serve as a direct link between Career Services and the students who volunteer and work with CWC as well as those students we offer services to.  Thank you Caroline for your willingness to assist our students as they develop their skills at UMass, graduate and look for their future employment!

Ms. Loren Fields

After graduating from UMass, Loren received her Masters in Women's Health Nursing from Yale University.  Loren now works as a nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.  

In this role, Loren provides gynecologic care for women, performs clinical research, and implements healthcare guidelines and policy changes.  In addition to her clinical work, Loren also teaches Advanced Concepts in Women's Health to nursing students at Yale.

Loren took on many roles during her time at the CWC, including recruitment coordinator and public relations coordinator.  When asked how the CWC impacted her the most, Loren responded that working here helped her immensely in the professional world. More specifically, the skills she learned while on staff were an asset to her when applying to nursing school. In addition to the professional benefits, Loren highlighted that the guidance she received while on I&R staff helped her refine useful life skills. These skills include how to speak up for yourself, take responsibility for your own comfort and enjoyment, invest in your future, and many others.  Thank you Loren!

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Body Politics

The Women of Color Leadership Network, a program of the Center for Women & Community at the University of Massachusetts Amherst proudly presented Body Politics, an award winning original production by and about women of color.

Body Politics explores a range of contemporary issues including: the intersectionality of social identities, cultural appropriation, discrimination and racism, manifestations of internalized oppression, sexuality, violence, as well as feelings around body image, hair texture, skin color and self esteem. 

Body Politics 2014 featured a new format. After 10 amazing years of the Body Politics (BP) production, WOCLN has changed the format of the final product of this important project. BP has been an original production by and about Women of Color that explores a diverse number of topics, ranging from body image, mental or physical health, intimate relationships, family and oppression (racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ableism, etc. as well as intersections of oppressions). It is intended as an integrative experience to provide awareness, empowerment and grounding for Women of Color. This process, where women meet for dialogues and writing workshops on different topics, has been invaluable to the group in building sisterhood and solidarity. The process also serves as an outlet for the group to discuss their lived experiences, and voice their opinion on important issues. Participants both teach and learn from each other and the facilitator.
Last fall during writing workshops, participants reflected upon and explored in detail their experiences with privilege and oppression. They dedicated time to refining their writing and submissions. In the spring semester, the process of transforming writing into digital storytelling began, and the weekly workshops continued. Six of the seven participants in this year’s project were able to produce digital stories that were featured at a public screening with a panel talk back. The women’s writings will be published in an anthology and their final product will be posted online in order to reach a wider audience.


Roundtable Discussion for Law Enforcement

The Hampshire County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), coordinated by Center for Women & Community, offered a free Roundtable Discussion and training on  April 2, 2014, at the UMass Police Department  in which 38  law enforcement officers from Hampshire and Franklin County as well as victim advocates participated.

The discussion focused on identifying critical areas for investigation and documentation in cases of sexual assault which involve drug or alcohol use by the victim, suspect or both. The western Ma Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, Mary Walz-Watson,  provided information about the medical collection of evidence in sexual assault cases. Jen Suhl, Chief of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence unit of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office discussed best practices in interviewing survivors, interviewing suspects and evidence collection. Participants  were able to ask questions regarding different types of evidence collection, police reports and the role of victim advocates in supporting survivors filing criminal complaints. Lt Ron Young, an experienced Detective from the Amherst Police Department shared some of the common challenges in investigating these cases.  
The Hampshire County SART is a coordinated, multi-disciplinary team of people who respond to sexual assault. SART includes representatives of Law Enforcement, Health Care, Forensic Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, Prosecutors, and Victim/Survivor Advocates. The Hampshire County SART reviews best practice models in responding to sexual assault that are victim centered and increase the chances of effective prosecution.
CWC's mission is to provide innovative and informed education, leadership opportunities, advocacy and support services that address the cause and impact of sexism and recognize the multiple oppressions experienced by women. We serve people of all gender identities within the diverse communities of Hampshire County, the Five Colleges and the University of Massachusetts.     


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