As we embark on a new year, we want to reflect on our Fall semester accomplishments as a springboard to an even more active Spring!
From October 1 through October 11, which was International Day of the Girl (#IDG2016) we invited the Truman community to participate in #11DaysOfAction to amplify the voices, concerns, and needs of girls worldwide. We did so in classrooms, in the halls, on our social media platforms, and at the United Nations for the IDG 2016 Girls Speak Out summit. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton, girls and women’s rights are human rights!
On October 20, Truman staff joined RAPP and buildOn Peer Leaders by donning purple for #SpiritDay to show support for the LGBT community and to take a stand against bullying, bias and harassment. It was about promoting peace and respect. Our gentle challenge to the Truman community was, and IS, to find ways to be an Upstander.
From November 25, which was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through December 10, International Human Rights Day, we invited the Truman community to take part in#16DaysofActivism to raise awareness of intimate partner violence, community violence, and state violence while promoting healthy relationships,
On December 1, for #WorldAIDSDay I was happy to collaborate with buildOn Coordinator Belita Nguluwe and the service leaders as we hosted an informational table in the student cafeteria. Students were invited to play a round of “Jeopardy” to gauge their knowledge about HIV and AIDS, as well as to take a selfie with a fact they learned. We also engaged in discussion with students and distributed flyers.
On December 9, to commemorate International Human Rights Day, we held our 2nd Annual “Wear Your Advocacy on Your Sleeve/Heart” school wide campaign. Peer Leaders and some staff participated, choosing from articles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a range of awareness campaigns, engaged their peers in conversation about human rights, and shared via @stepstoendfv what they were advocating for.
On December 20, we again collaborated with the wonderful folks of buildOn on Truman’s 2nd Annual Young Men’s Empowerment Assembly. Taking place from 12 – 2:20 PM in the Planetarium, we welcomed guest speakers Marlon Peterson (#beprecedential), Wade A. Davis, and alumni from the Men of Strength (MOST) Club/Truman Class of 2016, who engaged the young men in discussion defining masculinity, violence, vulnerability and brotherhood. MOST alumni not only shared what they’ve gained from MOST, but also about their experiences as first year college students. Here are some snippets from participants who shared what they learned from the assembly –
- “What I learned today is that we have to live life and accept who we are, and there is no reason for us to try to be someone we are not.”
- “A strength is to be yourself.”
- “I learned how to accept people for who they are.”
- “Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness.”
- “That ignorance is very dangerous.”
- “It helped me become a better man.”
We hope to continue engaging in dialogue about a healthier, non-violent model of manhood. We will continue to explore ways to minimize, and ultimately end, interpersonal violence, while uplifting our sense of self worth. We invite you to keep the conversation going on social media by using the hashtag #TruBrothersInStrength
On December 21, RAPP and buildOn presented Truman’s 2nd Annual Young Women’s Empowerment Assembly, taking place from 12 – 2:20 PM in the Planetarium. We welcomed Sharene Roig from CONNECT NYC and Actress/Model Fatima Ptacek, who engaged the young women in discussion about relationships, self-esteem, self-love, sisterhood, and resect. Sharene emphasized that #VoicesHavePower and Fatima shared about her work with buildOn and the United Nations #HeForShe campaign. The student leaders, who facilitated the opening of the program and transitions between speakers, also closed with a powerful “women’s circle,” where they discussed with their peers obstacles to sustaining sisterhood and challenges in intimate relationships.
buildOn leader and GSA member Jheivonnia shared that she “loved the fact” that the youth leaders facilitated the closing, and that “one thing that stood out for me was when Sharene pointed out how the common cartoon ‘The Little Mermaid’ depicts how a female had to change herself to be accepted by the prince, losing her voice which is the most important thing to youth. We can use our voice to change the world.” Freshman Kadidia shared that she learned that “women need to stand up with each other instead of bringing each other down.” RAPP Peer Leader Britney learned that “it’s important for girls to have a voice, and not to let anyone hinder that.” buildOn leader and GSA member Mahalia shared what stood out for her was a poem by RAPP/buildOn leader Akira, touching on issues experienced in communities of color.
From the “Stand Up If You Ever” icebreaker, to the “Word Association” activity, to the closing, it was indeed an empowering afternoon. We invite you to keep the conversation going on social media by using the hashtag #TruSistersInStrength
Here we are, January 2017. Here’s a look at what’s on deck for our activist community:
- January is National Stalking Awareness Month #NSAM
- January 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
- January 16, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day
- February is Black History Month
- February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month
- February 6, International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
- February 13 – 7, Respect For All Week
- February 13 – 17, Teen Dating / Respect Week
- February 14, V-Day, One Billion Rising #1billionrising #riseinsolidarity
- February 20, World Day for Social Justice
- March is Women’s History Month
- March 8, International Women’s Day
- March 10, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
- March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- March 22, World Water Day (Flint still doesn’t have clean drinking water!)
- March 28, Earth Hour
- April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
- April is Poetry Month
- April is Autism Awareness Month
- April is Animal Cruelty Awareness and Prevention Month (we know, April is a BUSY month)
- April 2, World Autism Day, Wear Blue, #LIUB
- April 12, International Day for Street Children
- April 12, Equal Pay Day
- April 2 – 8, International Anti-Street Harassment Week
- April 21, National Day of Silence
- April 22, Earth Day
- April 26, Denim Day, #DenimDayNYC
- May is Mental Health Awareness Month
- May 1, International Worker’s Day, #MayDay
- May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia
- May 21, AIDS Walk NY (Central Park, NYC)
- June is LGBT Pride Month
- June 5, World Environment Day
- June 20, World Refugee Day
- June 21, International Yoga Day (self care, y’all)
If you’d like to participate in any of these events, have thoughts and ideas to share, or just want to learn more, visit your RAPP Coordinator, Erika Miller, in room 425A, or buildOn Coordinator, Belita Nguluwe, in room 425B. It truly takes a village to affect change, and we are glad to serve the Truman community.