Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind August 28th, 1963

Little is known about Bayard Rustin, an African-American civil rights activist who was an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement. A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American Civil Rights Movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay.

My initial response after hearing Bayard’s story was anger because here was this awesome African-American who orchestrated one of the most historical marches in America’s history and he was never given just recognition all because of his sexual orientation and decision not to disassociate himself away from his sexual orientation just he additionally fight for the civil rights of African-American. I believe that for that time Bayard was the face of INTERSECTIONALITY. As a gay African-American civil rights activist he was also influential in earlier Gay Rights Movements.

I loved the fact that despite it cost him being a mainstream leader he still maintained ties to both marginalized populations, while advocating for changes in policies that created harsh environments for both groups. This is because Bayard understood the concept of oppressions being linked and facilitated by the same patriarchal and hegemonic powers. He understood that through the many distinctions of the Gay Rights Movements and the Civil Rights Movements, there were just as many similarities. Therefore, instead of focusing on how different we were and trying to compare whose struggles was greater, he believed that we should all work together to challenge the institutionalized powers that repress our civil liberties. I appreciate Bayard for his revolutionary thinking during this time and wish more people did not have to go on scavenger hunts in history books to find out more information about him.


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