The Women's Center at Western Illinois University is proud to usher in the March 2020 Women's History Month. The theme of this year's WIU recognition is "Women em(POWER)ed."
A theme selected by the staff of the Women's Center and its campus and community allies for its positive message of strength, resilience and the right to self-determination. Workshops, films and discussions, fitness and health through yoga, a women in business conference and the legacy event, the Clothesline Project, are among the rich diversity of activities designed to inform, inspire and empower.
Although WHM begins in March, the center is excited to get an early start on the commemoration with a joint Black History Month and Women's History Month empowerment workshop facilitated by WIU alum Tristen Johnson at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in the Multicultural Center. The workshop is titled "Worth It: Guiding Principles for Women of Color at Predominately White Institutions and Beyond."
"March is the month designated for Women's History Month, but the focus on respect, equality, inclusion and empowerment is one that we promote year round," said Carl Ervin, program coordinator at the Multicultural Center.
The national theme for this year's celebration of Women's History Month is "Valiant Women of the Vote." The theme honors "the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others."
In 1980, a consortium of women's groups and historians—led by the National Women's History Project (now the National Women's History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women's History Week.
Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women's History Week in March until 1987, when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as "Women's History Month." Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women's History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamation designating the month of March as Women's History Month.
All members of the WIU and Macomb communities are invited and welcomed to help celebrate Women's history Month.
"Our focus for the Women's History Month programs is to celebrate and empower women," said Megan Counter, a graduate assistant in the WIU Women's Center. "We strive to focus on a multitude of intersecting identities and interests to engage the WIU campus and the community. Women's History Month is important to help highlight the incredible work women have done and are doing for the world."
The event surrounding this year's celebration include:
• Thursday, Feb. 27 – 6 p.m. Multicultural Center
"Worth It Workshop: Guiding Principles for Women of Color at PWIs and Beyond, sponsored by the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and the office of WIU Interim President Martin Abraham. WIU alumna, diversity and inclusion trainer and successful entrepreneur Tristen Johnson, who serves as assistant director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, returns to her alma mater to facilitate an interactive workshop and share her strategies for success and achievement for women of color at Predominately White Institutions.
• Tuesday, March 3 – 5-6 p.m., University Union Sandburg Lounge
The student organization, Latin American Student Organization, invites members of the community to join them in writing thank you cards to the women in their lives in thanks for all that they do to for them and others. The event is sponsored by LASO.
• Wednesday, March 4 – 12:30-1:30 p.m., second floor of the Multicultural Center
Select Wednesdays this semester there will be opportunities to hang out at the Women's Center and learn more about self-care, which is all about taking charge of your own health and happiness. As a relaxation project, attendees can create friendship bracelets. The event is sponsored by the WIU Women's Center.
• Wednesday, March 4 – 6:30 p.m., first floor of the Multicultural Center
A screening and discussion of the movie "Harriet," which was in movie theaters earlier this year, is planned. Following the film, there will be a discussion moderated by WIU English Professor Patricia Young. Free popcorn and soda will be available. The event is sponsored by the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and the University Union Board.
• Thursday, March 5 – 1:30-2:30 p.m., Multicultural Center
Empowerment Yoga Hour will offer an opportunity for understanding and improving women's mental and physical health. Mats will be provided. The event is sponsored by the WIU Peace Corps Program and the Multicultural Center.
• Tuesday, March 17 – 3:30 p.m., University Union's Sandburg Theatre
"Girl Rising," an eye-opening and inspiring documentary on the movement inspired by Malala Yousafzai, shows the pursuit of education and the right to become teachers by young women around the world. The event is sponsored by LASO.
• Wednesday, March 18 – 12:30-1:30 p.m., second floor of the Multicultural Center
Wednesdays with the Women's Center – On select Wednesdays this semester, there will be opportunities to hang out at the Women's Center and learn more about self-care. As a relaxation project, attendees will be planting pots. The event is sponsored by the WIU Women's Center.
• Wednesday, March 18 – 4:30-5:30 p.m., Malpass Library's Garden Lounge
"Valiant Women of the Vote" Panel Discussion – Four panelists will give short presentations related to the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment from various current and historical perspectives, followed by a brief discussion. The event is sponsored by the WIU departments of history and political science and WIU Libraries.
• Thursday, March 19 – 6 p.m., Multicultural Center
Women leaders of student organizations across campus come together for an evening of networking, socializing and learning. The event is sponsored by the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs (NACWC).
• Saturday, March 21 – 8 a.m., University Union
Midwest Women in Business Conference – This year's conference will support women in the workplace and diversity among women. The mission is to promote equality among females and bridge the gap to meet women's needs and achieve success no matter the starting point. Doors open at 8 a.m. and conference begins at 9 p.m. For additional information, contact Kinsey Tiemann at [email protected].
• Sunday, March 22 – 8:30 a.m., WIU Campus Recreation Center
"Women on Weights," is an opportunity for women to learn more about the facility and equipment in a comfortable, women only event. There will be a guest speaker, tour of the weight room, a brief weight lifting class and information on fitness and wellness. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. and the event begins at 9 a.m. The event is sponsored by Campus Recreation.
• Monday, March 23 – 11 a.m.-1 p.m., DeRenzy Boardroom, second floor of the Multicultural Center
Clothesline Project t-shirt making – This is the first opportunity in the month of March to create the t-shirts to be used in the upcoming Clothesline Project.
• Tuesday, March 24 – 6:30 p.m., Multicultural Center
"I Bleed…and it's Normal: Women in Prison," – An educational presentation on women's bodies and the struggles faced within prison walls. The event is sponsored by Gamma Phi Omega sorority and the WIU Women's Center.
• Wednesday, March 25 – 2 p.m., Casa Latina Lounge, first floor of the Multicultural Center
"Comadreando" – A discussion group will be facilitated by the Casa Latina Cultural Center and the WIU Women's Center. The event is sponsored by Casa Latina.
• Thursday, March 26 – 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Multicultural Center
This is the second opportunity in the month of March to create the t-shirts to be used in the upcoming Clothesline Project.
• Thursday, March 26 – 5:30 p.m., Multicultural Center
Financial Literacy and Empowerment is a look at the myths, facts and tips for managing your money. What you should know about credit, debt, loans, credit cards and more. The event is sponsored by Julie Ann Pickett from Edward Jones and the WIU Women's Center.
• Monday, March 30 – 6 p.m., Multicultural Center
"Society is Ugly Not You: A Conversation about Women's Body Positivity" – An exploration and discussion of body image. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. The event is sponsored by Gamma Phi Omega sorority and the WIU Women's Center.
• Tuesday, March 31, 6 p.m. Multicultural Center
Selena Trivia Night – The opportunity to win prizes as knowledge is shared on Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who was an American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, model, actress and fashion designer. The event is sponsored by Casa Latina and the WIU Women's Center.
For more information about the national celebration of Women's History Month, visit nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org/2020-theme. For additional information on the Women's History Month commemoration at Western Illinois University contact the Women's Center at (309) 298-2242 and [email protected].