Celebrating women

Celebrating women

UMBC hosted several events to commemorate Women’s History Month.

The library studied the past and the Women’s Center looked into the present. Groups at UMBC observed Women’s History Month in March.

Throughout March, UMBC celebrated women’s contributions to society for Women’s History Month. Student activities highlighted important women in history as well as the modern female experience. The Women’s Center hosted the bulk of events, including guest lectures, documentary screenings and a fair. Other organizations on campus also got involved, even the library.

Simmona Simmons, UMBC services development librarian, hosted a Read-A-Thon at the library with the theme of “Telling Our Stories.” The event was a nonthreatening way for students to read, relax and join in a discussion about important women. A selection of books about significant women in history was on display for students to peruse.

Simmons, who was enthusiastic about the event, felt it was important for people to study women’s history because many historical women are overlooked.

“It’s the same women who get highlighted,” she said. “Books about women get overlooked unless there is a term paper.”

Tucked away in the instruction room on the second floor of the library, the event only saw four visitors. This was perhaps due to the obscured location coupled with it being the Friday before spring break. Still, it resulted in a lively discussion amongst attendees. Emily Silver, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, echoed the need to study women’s history.

“Women typically get shafted history-wise and women of color even more so,” Silver said, as she watched a slideshow of significant women in America. A photo of Hillary Clinton flashed across the screen highlighting her as the first female senator for the state of New York.

While the library focused on women’s history, the Women of Color Coalition covered the modern female experience. Throughout the month, they set up the Telling Our Stories Photobooth on Main Street in The Commons. It presented an opportunity for women of color to have a voice and speak against stereotypes by writing what they were not. Some examples included “I’m not exotic,” and “I’m not sassy.” Posters from the event were shared on social media and hung around campus.

Bree Best, a senior English major, worked at the booth, encouraging all women to participate. Best became involved in the Women of Color Coalition in 2014, which is a student-run organization supported by the Women’s Center. Being in the organization allowed Best to meet women from a variety of backgrounds and learn about different things going on globally.

Best feels that the Women’s Center is an important organization on campus because it gives women a safe space to tell their stories. She encouraged both men and women to get involved and hear women’s stories as well as learn about women’s history.

“You create history alongside each other,” Best said, as she straightened a stack of fliers. “You’re not in a vacuum.”