Race and the Women’s Movement

I had the challenge of discussing white feminism, bridgework, and intersectionality in ten minutes for a panel on “Race and the Women’s Movement” as part of my community’s celebration of Women’s History Month.

The panel was moderated by Mariel Fiori of La Voz and La Voz en la Radio. Panelists included:

  • Susan Lewis, Professor Emerita in the Department of History at SUNY New Paltz, will discuss race in the suffrage movement.
  • Evelyn Clarke is the former Ulster County Human Rights Commissioner and Youth Bureau Director. Evelyn is a voice-over artist and also serves as an ordained minister at New Progressive Baptist Church, Kingston, NY. She will reveal the “Unsung Sheroes of the Civil Rights and Black Nationalist Movement.”
  • Rashida Tyler, Citizen Action of New York Board of Directors Member for the Hudson Valley, will speak about her experience in organizing and local government.
  • Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón, Assistant Professor at SUNY New Paltz, will speak about teaching and applying the feminist-of-color concepts, “bridgework” and “intersectionality.”
  • Diane Harriford is a Professor at Vassar College and the current Vice President of the National Women’s Studies Association. She has also been the Chair of the Sociology Department and Director of the Women’s Studies Program at Vassar.

I have two videos: the first one is the official video of the entire event including Q&A. I begin speaking around minute 40. The second video was taken by a person in the audience, is a little shaky, but is a clip of just my ten minutes. Thanks for watching and please share!

Here are the texts I mention:

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga (Editor), Gloria Anzaldúa (Editor)

On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberlé Crenshaw

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life by Sara Ahmed

Ruby Bridges Walks, a Public Art Series by Miss163 in the Bronx.

Just thought you outta know about Miss163’s latest project, funded by the DOT’s Urban Arts Program. You can peep it on Hunts Point ave, passing the Bruckner Expressway. 

I’ve been working with the image of Ruby Bridges because I feel that communities of color  need to analyze and take note of how she was used as a community organizing tool. She was a young black girl, who knew nothing about this grand plot to desegregate the South; she was a tool for this amazing life and nation changing event. She could not be a “he” because a black man is not “easy” on the eye. By that I mean, a girl had to be the one to desegregate the South because it had to be as smooth of a transition as possible and women (as objects of desire) are the perfect choice. If communities of color learn about the civil rights movement from a feminist perspective, I think that we would have stronger women of color but most importantly stronger communities. It is important to understand dynamics and learn from them. I don’t think it is a coincidence that we don’t learn our history in that matter, I believe the way we are taught empowerment, organizing, and the beauty (or lack there of) is very intentional.  

I wanted to place Ruby in Hunts Point because I want her in a place where they the community could celebrate their ability to keep walking, surviving, and thriving…

even when the odds are not on their favor.

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