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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day of Silence at Ramapo

First of all, YES we realize the National Day of Silence is tomorrow, April 20th.  Ramapo doesn't retain as many students on Fridays, so we chose to observe DOS today. After all, the important aspect of this campaign is the message being sent. Take a moment and listen to all the voices you are NOT hearing today. These people all stand with the effort to stop the silencing of the queer community.

Part of supporting a cause means understanding its roots. How is the queer community silenced? Funny thing about marginalization-it generally can't be traced down to one single cause. There are dozens and dozens of factors that contribute to the oppression of queer folks, and it is often easy to shrug them off individually. But, when combined, these instances of silencing create a massive force pressing down on a group of people. I have had oppression explained to me in terms of a bird cage: individually, the bars of a cage are harmless and cannot imprison a bird. But, when all the bars are put together, the bird is trapped. We need to broaden our minds and see one small instance of silencing as a serious threat to freedom because it contributes to the larger picture.

These individual instances of silencing can come in many forms. The most recognized and publicized form of oppression is bullying and harassment. This is what the Day of Silence officially rallies under. Millions of teens are harassed in schools for identifying as queer or being perceived as queer. Some are pushed to believe suicide is the only way out, and end their own lives as a direct result of bullying. Adults face oppression in the workplace-it is technically legal to refuse someone a job or terminate their position on the basis of sexual orientation. There are other legal barriers to equality; a lack of rights to marriage in most states brings along its own slew of injustices. The queer community is also silenced by lack of representation in the media.  Few stars are openly queer, limiting the number of successful role models for young people.  Television shows and movies severely under represent this population, and when a queer character is included, they are often constructed on stereotypes. This leads to a feeling of isolation and "otherness" in folks who have no visible media representations to identify with. In all these ways, as well as others, the queer population is marginalized and silenced. The Day of Silence brings this to national attention. Today you don't hear my voice-why? Because my voice MATTERS and I want you to MISS it. Our silence will be heard, and loudly at that.

Today is also National High Five Day. What a great silent display of love and appreciation! *high five!*

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