NewMexicoWomen.Org Visits The Center for Gender Equity at Western New Mexico University!
In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, NewMexicoWomen.Org (NMW.O) staff drove a very windy five hours to visit The Center for Gender Equity at Western New Mexico University (WNMU) in Silver City. Every year, The Center hosts a week-long series of events in order to raise awareness about gender equity issues. This year it was called F-WEEK – or feminist week. Along with other speakers and activists from around the state, NMW.O was invited to present the findings from our forthcoming research report, “The Heart of Gender Justice in New Mexico: Intersectionality, Economic Security, and Health Equity.”
Upon arrival at WNMU, we were greeted by the powerful co-directors of The Center, Dr. Lydia Huerta and Dr. Emma Bailey, along with a group of committed and enthusiastic students. Within a few minutes we were eating feminist themed cupcakes, wearing purple t-shirts printed with the message “Nevertheless, we persisted…”and discussing the structural inequalities affecting their campus and communities in southern New Mexico. Miguel Gutierrez and Don Jaramillo, two student coordinators working with The Center, led us on a campus tour. We were inspired by The Center’s beautiful, light filled building, along with their library walls covered with messages from intersectional feminist icons, and their sanctuary herb and flower garden.
In August 2016, NMW.O held a community dialogue in Silver City to inform our qualitative research report. F-WEEK 2017 was an opportunity to bring the findings from that dialogue back to the community. The context and experiences we captured in the report were echoed in the discussion following our presentation. For example, in August, a participant in Silver City described how, “You have the governor come down, and without any discrimination at all, say, ‘Everybody give up five percent of your budget.’ We were already in survival mode. Now we’re in survival mode minus five percent.” Last week, community members reiterated the lack of resources available in their region, with the latest example being Cobre School District’s recent decision to cut the school week down to four days with extended hours in order to save funds.
In the face of limited support and resources, the students and faculty leading The Center work diligently to create a restful sanctuary space and offer meaningful programming. Their work includes engaging folks both on the WNMU campus and in the broader Silver City community in conversations around feminist theory, gender studies, and social justice issues. NewMexicoWomen.Org was honored to be included in F-WEEK 2017. If you’re in Silver City, be sure to stop by The Center. If you’re lucky, you may even get a feminist cupcake!