Clothesline Project Display: Sexual Assault Awareness Month (4/8)

clothesline projectOn Wednesday, April 8th on the Commons Main Street AND the RAC from 10-4pm, the Women’s Center will be displaying the Clothesline Project in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This display includes t-shirts with messages from UMBC community members over the years related to their experiences of sexual assault or relationship violence. This can be a powerful experience for passersby.

The display in the RAC will be part of the Retriever Heath and Wellness Expo.

Opportunities to contribute a t-shirt to the Project will be available in the Women’s Center prior to the 8th. For more information on dates and times, visit the Women’s Center’s myUMBC group page.

The UMBC student community is invited to join the Women’s Center staff for a workshop from 12-1pm on the same day on how to support survivors of sexual violence and work together as a community to cultivate a survivor-responsive campus. For more details on this workshop, visit the myUMBC event page.

For additional information, feel free to contact the Women’s Center at 410.455.2714 or email Information regarding the event, including an event flyer, can be found on myUMBC.

Take Back the Night 2015 (4/16)

In recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, join the Women’s Center, UHS Health Education and Voices Against Violence on Commons Main Street on April 16th at 6pm and let’s take back the night!

Events and activities include:

  • Community Resource Fair (beginning at 6pm)
  • The Clothesline Project
  • Survivor Speak Out Forum (begins at 6:30pm)
  • March Against Sexual Violence (begins approx around 7:20pm)
  • Art Activism and Community Building (post march)

Community members are encouraged to make rally signs prior to TBTN to show your solidarity with survivors. You can make signs in the Women’s Center between 12-3pm on April 13, 14 and 15.

#UMBCtbtn is the official Twitter event hashtag, so follow us there and post your pictures from the evening. Want to learn more about what Take Back The Night is? Visit for more information.

This event is co-sponsored by: The Women’s Center, UHS Health Education, and Voices Against Violence. For more information, contact the Women’s Center at or 410-455-2714.

Critical Social Justice: Franchesca Ramsey on “Your Powerful Online Voice: Social Media for Social Change” (2/17)

franchesca-ramseyThe second annual Critical Social Justice campaign will be held February 16th-20th, 2015! This year’s theme is “Creating Brave Spaces,” inspired by the essay “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces” by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens.

Our keynote speaker will be comedian and social justice blogger Franchesca Ramsey (a.k.a. Chescaleigh). Best known for her viral parody video of racial microaggressions, Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls, comedian and vlogger Franchesca Ramsey discusses her approach to harnessing the power of social media across multiple platforms in order to engage in meaningful dialogues about social justice. Inspired by her interactions with other prominent social justice bloggers, Ramsey critiques the toxic “call-out culture” that pervades many social justice communities and explores alternative approaches to demanding accountability in online spaces. Her poignant video, How Slut Shaming Becomes Victim Blaming, which centers on her analysis of rape culture and its impact on the literal and metaphorical safe space for women and sexual assault survivors, provides the touch point for examining the role of vulnerability and raw affect in social justice work. Ramsey furthe r explores the possibilities and challenges presented by using new media to talk about contentious issues like race, feminism, and body politics.

Franchesca Ramsey is a popular comedian who uses a humorous and accessible approach to engage in social justice dialogues via social media. She’s best known for her viral parody video on racial microaggressions, Shit White Girls Say…to Black Girls, which garnered 11 million views and national media attention. As a video blogger and social media consultant, she speaks on a variety of subjects including YouTube, blogging, viral marketing, using social media responsibly, and more.

Critical Social Justice is an interdisciplinary initiative coordinated by the Women’s Center with Student Life’s Mosaic Center. For a full list of the keynote event co-sponsors, visit the CSJ website at

Announcing Critical Social Justice 2015 (2/16-2/20)

CSJ-2015-General-Flyer-e1418248437290Departments, student groups, and individuals from across the UMBC campus and community have organized a week full of exciting programming for the 2nd annual Critical Social Justice campaign. This year’s theme is “Creating Brave Spaces,” inspired by the essay “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces” by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens.

Our keynote speaker will be comedian and social justice blogger Franchesca Ramsey (a.k.a. Chescaleigh), who’s perhaps best known for her viral parody video on racial microaggressions “Sh*t White Girls Say…To Black Girls.” Franchesca Ramsey’s keynote lecture “Your Powerful Online Voice: Social Media for Social Change” will be Tuesday, February 17th at 7:30pm in the UC Ballroom.

Several other programs will be held throughout the week which will support interdisciplinary learning and active engagement with social justice, including:

  • CSJ 101 roundtable – Mon. 2/16, 12-1pm in Commons 329
  • Invisible Privilege (Made Visible) activity & discussion – Tues. 2/17, 1-3pm on Main Street (event sponsored by: Mosaic Center)
  • Women’s Center Occupies Main Street interactive exhibit & activities – Wed. 2/18, 11-2pm on Main Street (event sponsored by: Women’s Center)
  • Social Justice Pedagogy: Tensions, Triggers & Teachable Moments faculty panel discussion – Wed. 2/18, 3-4pm in Sherman B-wing 220 (event sponsored by: Women’s Center)
  • CSJ Reflection discussion – Thurs. 2/19, 3-4pm in the Mosaic Center
  • Making Queer Spaces Safe Spaces roundtable – Thurs. 2/19, 7:30-9pm in the Women’s Center
  • Feminist Art Gallery – Mon. 2/16 through Fri. 2/27 in the Commons Mezzanine Gallery

CSJ aims to support ongoing engagement with social justice across campus and we encourage all members of the UMBC community to get involved. Check out the CSJ website to find out more about the discussions, workshops, and other activities planned for February 16-20, 2015.

More details and events will be announced leading up to CSJ 2015, so like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and use the hashtag #CSJ2015 to keep up-to-date with the latest news!

Critical Social Justice is an interdisciplinary initiative coordinated by the Women’s Center with Student Life’s Mosaic Center.

Rebuilding Manhood Applications Available for Spring 2015 (Due 2/6)

What does it mean to be a man? When and how did you learn to become a man? What do you enjoy about being a man? What do you wish was different?

Explore these questions and more through Rebuilding Manhood. In a safe and brave space you will discuss gender roles, norms/variations, and build a healthy, multifaceted masculinity with other UMBC men. Through the primary facilitation of UMBC staff members, you will discuss topics related to being a man parallel to other important social identities and explore ways you can be an effective ally for yourself, women, and others.

Rebuilding Manhood is an 11-week commitment for interested undergraduate men. The group will meet once a week on Fridays from 2-3:15pm beginning Friday, February 13th. Group members are expected to make all meetings and are asked to commit to some outside reading (15-30 minutes a week).

Applications can be found here.

Spring 2015 Application Deadline: Friday, February 6, 2015. Students will be accepted on a rolling basis and are encouraged to apply early.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to nominate students they think would contribute to the Rebuilding Manhood experience. Nominations can be submitted here.

To lead up to the kick-off of Rebuilding Manhood this semester, all UMBC community members are invited to attend the first Women’s Center roundtable discuss of the semester on the topic of Masculinity and Race on Tuesday, February 3rd from 4:30-5:30pm in the Women’s Center.

For questions, contact the Women’s Center at

Cultivating a Survivor-Responsive Campus Workshop (1/20)

“Survival is testament to someone’s strength. Healing is testament to the community surrounding her.” –Lisa Factora-Borchers

As a University community, we are expected to report incidents of sexual assault and interpersonal violence. But what else can faculty and staff members do to best support students who have experienced this kind of violence? What do we say? What do we not say? Most importantly, how can we build trust and help empower survivors?

This workshop will provide learning space for UMBC’s faculty and staff to become familiar with the scope of the problem of sexual assault and other forms of interpersonal violence on college campuses, challenges related to healing for survivors, and tools for personal self-care. The majority of the workshop will focus on best practices for responding sensitively and effectively to student survivors who are experiencing an immediate crisis or ongoing trauma.

Workshop material will be covered from 12-1pm on Tuesday, January 20th. Presenters have blocked an additional 30 minutes afterwards to be available for further questions and support. Click here to RSVP.

Presenters: Jess Myers and Megan Tagle Adams, Women’s Center staff

Questions? Contact: Jess Myers, or x5-2714

This workshop is open only to UMBC faculty and staff. A student workshop will be offered again in April as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Please note: This workshop does not cover specifics related to UMBC’s reporting requirements and procedures for sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. Faculty and staff who are interested in the VAV Responding to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence training can attend an upcoming training in the spring.