Summer School of Women’s Activism 2015

From our comrades at AF3IRM –

NEW YORK–SSOWA’s final session on August 1st features the study and discussion of commonality and differences in women’s struggles in five cultural contexts.

With a panel featuring human rights lawyer and activist Suzanne Adely of  Al-Awda New York, Palestine Right to Return Coalition and Arab-American Movement of Women Rising for Justice;  clinical psychologist Dr. Mayowa Obasaju of Black Women’s Blueprint, Radical Social Work Group and Standing In Our Power;  transmedia storyteller Thenmozhi Soundarajan of the Dalit Nation; psychologist Michelle Cervantes of  the Educational Assistance and Resources for the Latin-American Youth;  and a video presentation from Eastern Band Cherokee descent  Roslyn Dotson of the Tapwe Production, this session affirms AF3IRM’s commitment to transnational feminism.

AF3IRM NYC Chapter Coordinator Olivia Canlas, law graduate working with Foreclosure Prevention and with the weekly radio hour Asia Pacific Forum, will facilitate the session.  The intent is to establish commonality in difference, to recognize the specificity of how colonialism and imperialism have impacted women in different cultures and yet understand the common trend of struggle for liberation that underlies women’s histories in varying cultural contests.

For four Saturdays, starting on July 11 until August 1st, the Summer School of Women’s Activism will be holding sessions on the history, theory and practice of the women’s liberation struggle.  Registration is still being accepted at www.ssowa2015.eventbrite.com and fees remain at the standard $40 for professionals, $35 for students and unemployed;  $80 for institutional representatives and scholarships for those who’re truly down and out but enthusiastic.  All fees include reading materials and a light lunch for four Saturdays of SSOWA 2015.

Preceding this session, participants will tackle the issue of  Militarism and the Assault on Democratic Processes with War Resisters League National Organizer Tara Tabassi and AF3IRM NYC members Joan Ariete and Leani Auxilio who have first-hand knowledge of militarization.  The July 25th class will look at how militarism runs through relations between the US and other countries but also between the US government and transnational communities within its borders.  It will discuss the militarization of the policing of communities and local application of the so-called “war on terror” and the gun lobby.  Most significantly, the class will look at the impact on women, particularly transnational women, of this odious policy.

The July 18th class on Imperialism, Globalization and the Re-feudalization of Women will be led by Patricia Ramirez and Nicole Salcedo.  Ms. Ramirez holds a BA in Political Science from Hunter College and has worked for the Peruvian government in New York City.  Ms. Salcedo has grown up virtually in activism and women’s organizing in the Philippines.  The class will look into the re-definition of “work” or “jobs” for women under the intensifying class/race/gender division of humanity caused by imperialist globalization.  The class will look into the bifurcation of “traditional” slavery into labor and sex trafficking, and its separation from labor export and legalized prostitution which institutionalize historic women’s oppression.

The SSOWA opens on July 11th with  three activist-writers – Ninotchka Rosca, Justine Calma and Veronica Agard —  leading a comprehensive study of interlocking systems of oppressions against women which have made possible the continuing “vanish-ment” of women’s issues from public discourse.  The class will look into class, gender and race and how the concept of intersectionality functions in the tri-helix of women’s oppression.

Ninotchka Rosca is a multi-awarded writer and activist, a survivor of human rights violations under a dictatorship, and a pioneer of major advocacy concerns for women.  She brought the slogan “women’s rights are human rights” to the US in 1987 and has constantly engaged in creating space for the voices and presence of women of color in the global women’s movement.  Justine Calma holds degrees from Columbia University and UC Irvine and worked with Filipino-American and South Asian youth in California for seven years.  Veronica Agard is co-founder of the Sister Circle Collective and holds a degree in international studies and history from the City College of New York.  She did her research for her undergraduate thesis at the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamerica, in La Antigua, Guatemala.  She writes for The Grio, Let Your Voice be Heard, Mic and For Harriet.

Integrated into each class is an hour of practical skills training on how to recognize, document and respond to daily sexism.  A special workshop on pod casting will be conducted by Charlene Sayo of Ms. Represent.  Ms. Sayo is a Montreal-born, Vancouver-based blogger, commentator and activist.  She is the co-author of Canada: The New Frontier for Filipino Mail-Order Brides.  She  sits on the editorial committee of the Vancouver-based magazine, The Mainlander and blogs at The Huffington Post, and Open Salon. Her work has appeared in Accent Magazine, the Manila Times, the Globe & Mail, the Feminist Current, the Philippine Chronicle, BlackHeart Magazine, and Dessert for Breakfast, and in 2012, she was featured in the award-winning documentary Status Quo: The Unfinished Business of Feminism.

Scholarships are available for volunteers and the down and out.  The SSOWA compresses almost four years of gender studies into four Saturday four-hour sessions, starting at noon with a light lunch and ending at 4 pm.  Transnational women and the woman-identified are welcome. SSOWA administrators are also open to helping those in other locations create such a pop-up school.   For more information, please contact nynj@af3irm.org.

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