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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Alternative Thanksgiving Events

This upcoming Thursday is, of course, when people all over the United States will be celebrating Thanksgiving with their friends and families. However, not everyone is so quick to uphold this traditional holiday – for many years now protests have been held on the fourth Thursday of November in opposition to Thanksgiving. Two major protests that happen every year are the “National Day of Mourning” on the East Coast and “Unthanksgiving Day” on the West Coast.

The first of these two began forty years ago, organized by the United American Indians of New England, as a way of protesting the continued celebration of a group of immigrants whom they viewed as bringing severe issues like racism, sexism, and homophobia along with them to land that was already occupied by indigenous peoples. The event is described as one in which, “We are mourning our ancestors and the genocide of our peoples and the theft of our lands. NDOM is a day when we mourn, but we also feel our strength in political action.” Actions that have occurred on the National Day of Mourning include burying Plymouth Rock, boarding a replica of the Mayflower, and putting Ku Klux Klan robes on statues of those who played a part in the oppression of native peoples of this country.

The second of these protests was inspired by the occupation of Alcatraz Island by the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement in 1969. This occupation occurred due to an 1868 treaty which stated that any out-of-use or surplus government land that was taken from the indigenous peoples of America must be returned to them; thus, when Alcatraz ceased to be used as a prison, it qualified as reclaimable by the indigenous population. What ensued was a year-and-a-half long occupation that ended with the United States government forcibly removing those who remained on the island. Since 1975, people have gathered there as a remembrance of this historic protest and to continue to fight for their rights and honor their heritage.

So for all of those who celebrate this holiday, take a moment to think of those whose pasts were greatly and horribly affected by the people who are so often celebrated during Thanksgiving.

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