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May 2, 2007

Nikki Giovanni's Truth-telling

February 28th I attended Nikki Giovanni’s “Truth-telling and the Need for Poetry: from the Harlem Renaissance to hip hop. She was announced as being a woman who has been presenting truth on issues of racism for 40 years. The introduction was quite impressive, and since I had only read a few of her poems in the past, I was excited to learn more about her.
What Nikki Giovanni says about…

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May 1, 2007

Animating Revolt - Envisioning the Alternative

For my scholarly event, I attended a lecture by Jack Halberstam, a transgendered professor of English and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California and a critic of gender representation in the media and their importance to our society. The talk was held in the Nollte Center for Continuing Education on campus on April 26th, and was put together by the Global Sexualities Research Collaborative of the Institute for Advanced Study and the Transgender Commission.
In the talk, Halberstam explained his theory that alternatives to our cultures harmful dichotomies (male vs. female, heterosexual vs. homosexual, family vs. individual) have already been envisioned and are able to be seen in some of our popular media. The media that Halberstam examines for gender alternatives are forms of animation, both in kid’s movies and horror films. Halberstam describes children’s films as alternatives to our dichotomies because children tend to think in terms of the collective instead of the individual like our adult culture encourages. They see themselves as part of a whole and the films targeted towards them, such as ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Over the Hedge,’ reflect the inspiring idea of strength in numbers and unity over the individuals.

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Race Is Not a Card: White Privilege, Racism, and the Culture of Denial

Who: Tim Wise (lecturer)
What: Race Is Not a Card: White Privilege, Racism, and the Culture of Denial (on-campus lecture)
When: Friday, April 27th 2007 from 7-9pm
Where: Walter Mondale Law Center
Sponsor: Sponsored by the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Social Work, The Social Justice Minor, the Cultural Competency Advisory Board, The Office of the Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity, The Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice, and SW-Act!
Web Link: ww.timwise.org

I went to see the anti-racist activist Tim Wise last Thursday, and by the time the two hour lecture and Q&A had finished, I left the auditorium feeling quite pensive and somewhat encouraged to continue the fight against racism. I say “somewhat,? because I can’t really afford to be burned out and I don’t have the luxury of taking some time off to have a vacation from fighting for social justice. Wise talked about the use of “the N word? in hip hop and of (White) critics who say that hip hop is to fault for it’s prevalence in present day society. In response to those critics, Wise talked about the numerous underground hip hop artists who attack the use of the N word in mainstream media, but considering that a majority of Caucasians are not exposed to underground artists that fight against derogatory terms, I am not surprised that hardly anyone considers that fact.
Wise also spoke of the term “stereotyping threat? or “stereotyping vulnerability,? it is when a targeted identity (People of Color) become so anxious of disproving the stereotype that the agent identity (White people) has of them, that the very stereotype they work had to disprove is evidenced. For example, students of color, who become anxious of testing against the majority of White students, will do worse on a standardized test of intelligence, thereby their anxiety actually affecting their score. He also spoke about results of a test that pitted a Black American basketball team against a White basketball team in a test of “natural talent,? where the outcome was that the Black American team beat the White team in a huge win.

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Race Exhibit

For my scholarly event assignment, I went to the Race Exhibit on Thursday, April 5, 2007 at the Science Museum in St. Paul. Though I had wanted to go for awhile, I ended going with the kids from my work. I work as a tutor for the Ginew Golden Eagles after school program at the Minnesota American Indian Center in Minneapolis. The kids that I work with range from ages 10-18 and are taught things about their native culture through this after school program. I did not realize going into this particular field trip that I would learn as much from the actual exhibit as I would from the kids reactions to what we saw.

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The Race Exhibit in the Minnesota Science Museum

The ways people define race in the Unites States has changed multiple times in the past and continue changing and evolving today. The definition of who is Asian, African, Native American and White changed at times quite rapidly, but the saddest and most persistent discrimination, according to the “Race exhibit? in the Minnesota Science Museum, is the fact race still matters today in the United States.
One’s ability to receive loans, health insurance, adequate treatment in the hospital and even a job is till influenced by race, even if it so less than before. The most persistent discrimination seems to be against Native Americans and Afro-Americans, which does not come to say that people of Asian or Latin-American descent have exactly easy lives in the United States. It does seem, however, that Latin-American people and Asian-Americans are more likely to pass as “white? (sometimes) than Native Americans or African Americans.

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Race Exhibit

Last Thursday I visited the Race Exhibit at the Science Museum in Saint Paul. Ever since reading Peggy McIntosh’s essay in our Feminist Frontiers book, I’ve thought a lot about the privileges that I have because I am (actually half) Caucasian (I look more white than I do Asian). The other day in downtown Minneapolis I saw a black woman about my age, maybe younger, holding the hand of a four-year-old black girl and I thought, “I bet most people who don’t know her think that it’s her child and she’s a single mother struggling to make ends meet, whereas if I had a young child by my side, more people might think I was just babysitting.? Situations like this really have been running through my head ever since we began discussing white privilege. Where I come from, in Milwaukee, segregation of races is especially apparent. Like in most cities, there are freeways that divide neighborhoods; cross under one and you can be in a completely different income neighborhood. Driving through Milwaukee one can see the gross inequalities of segregated living, where whites and further north, white suburbanites live in gated houses along the lake, while blacks and Mexicans live in run down housing. Driving through Whitefish Bay, an affluent suburb right outside of the city, one can get pulled over in an instant for being black, or even driving a “junky? car. Police brutality against Mexicans and blacks is another serious issue where I live – and it seems that police are still getting away with it. A lot has to change.

So I visited the Race Exhibit to further understand inequalities between races and genders, and I was so surprised at how much I still had to learn.

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Lisa Duggan and the Revolting Queers

Lisa Duggan from Beyond Marriage gave a lecture at the Loft Literary Center Saturday March 31st. Lisa is a part of the April Working group which formed last year to present a new vision for LGBT activism. Lisa talked about how the focus on gay marriage has stalled the LGBT movement and lead to a backlash that has produced major set backs.

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Jack Halberstam's Animation Talk

As the semester came to a close I found myself pressed for time when selecting a scholarly event to attend. Walking into the Nolte Center last Thursday I was in a new environment, surrounded by a different population of people participating in an event that was completely different than anything I have participated in the past. At the end of the night I feel my lack of knowledge and experience kept me from gathering all the information I possibly could

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April 30, 2007

Jack Halberstam's lecture

I also attended the scholarly lecture given by Jack Halberstam on Thursday evening, April 26th in the Nolte Center.
After awkwardly making my way to a chair nearly touching the podium in the small lecture room in Nolte (too late to get an inconspicuous seat!), introductions to scholar and author Jack Halberstam were made. Maybe I’m sucked into grand introductions (usually not the case), but just by listening to the person describing both their own relationship with and the personal achievements of Jack, I could tell that he was special, and important. I learned that this influential transgendered author had done a lot of work at the U of M, but is currently a professor at the Center for Feminist Research at USC.

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Race Exhibit

For my scholarly event I attended the Minnesota Science Museum Race Exhibit. When I was there, I noticed a few specific portions of the exhibit that I was really taken back by. I never realized how much I personally have created racial images and stereotypes in my own mind. I also was able to experience firsthand the amount of privilege I have as a white male. There was a wall full of pictures of people from various ethnic backgrounds, and I tried to determine what background each came from before I looked at where they really came from, and I was wrong with nearly every single one. I thought that I had a pretty good sense of where peoples’ ancestry lied based on how they looked. I was very surprised at how little I actually knew.

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Race is Not a Card!

For my scholarly event I attended a talk called “Race is not a card? by Tim Wise at Mondale Hall from 7-9pm. The talk was witty and compelling. Tim Wise used statistics and personal anecdotes to portray the national problem of white privilege. The most important part of Tim Wise giving the lecture is that he is a white man, a white man that grew up in the south. He spoke about how colored people have been bringing up the same issues of racism for years, but until the white majority accepts it as an institutionalized problem, the battle will continue unsolved. The problem back when the civil rights movement was in progress was not that the whites were uncaring or unsympathetic, it was that they really believed what they said, such as 87% of white people thought that black children had equal education opportunities. This is obviously untrue only to the people who have been educated about the inequalities in the United States and elsewhere. If we are never told, how are we supposed to know? There needs to be a widespread dispersal of this knowledge. This is why we are so thankful to have Tim Wise come and speak. He has spoken in 48 states and over 400 colleges. This is a profound statistic, so why is racism still institutionalized?

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April 29, 2007

Science Museum: Race Exhibit

I attended the Race Exhibit this weekend at the Minnesota Science Museum. I was really impressed on the variety of areas of race that were covered. They had little exhibits explaining the science part of race to psychological part to the historical parts. Because I am a science major, I was really fascinated on learning about race and the human body, but also liked how it reflected much of what we have been learning in class and the issues with race today.

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April 23, 2007

Bodies of Characters

A few weeks ago Kevin and I went to the screening of a documentary entitled, “Ferry Tales?. Cutely named for sure, this film explored the unmentionable realm of one powder room shared by many-a-woman. The viewer is able to witness a miraculous bond that has been developed between these women. Leaving the age-old divides of race and class at the door, there is a force that can only be defined as absolute unity.

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April 18, 2007

RACE

race_header.jpg

Today, Wednesday, April 18, 2007 I attended the RACE exhibit at the Science Museum in St. Paul. One of the main things that stuck out in my mind was the many billboards that showed the history of whites and how whites are endowed with an “invisible backpack? of unearned privilege. I think that the unearned privilege of whites is extremely prevalent in our society, as exemplified by these billboards. It made me think more about how many aspects of my life are made easier for me just because I am a white female, and then I tried to imagine what life would be like if I were a white male or a person of color. As McIntosh states in her essay White Privilege and Male Privilege (Feminist Frontiers 9-15), “I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious? (10). We are taught to recognize the disadvantages of people of color, but we are never taught to recognize our unearned advantages due to the color of our skin. Maybe we need to start recognizing those privileges in order to better appreciate all that is available to us in our society, and it will help us address and hopefully change the situation of people of color.

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April 17, 2007

"Women, Health, and Family Planning"

For my second event post I heard of a talk that was happening in St. Cloud. My sister and most of my friend go to St. Cloud state where they have a house up there. Almost every Wednesday from noon to one St. Cloud offers free lectures which they call “Women on Wednesday.? So I took a trip up there a few weeks ago to see a seminar titled “Women, Health, and Family Planning.? I had a couple of my friends join me for this hour and it turned out to be a learning experience for them.

When I first got there I realized that these seminars build off each other. St. Cloud put together a series of lectures, titled “Global Women, Transforming the World,? that would build upon the fall semester program of addressing women’s lives form a global viewpoint, with a clearer focus on international women’s perspectives and issues. The St. Cloud women’s center put together this series of lectures to show how international women have organized together to prove that anyone can help to improve lives of women and to fight the multiple forms of oppression.

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Filipino Female Masculinity in Global Shipping

On Monday, 4/16, I attended the Feminist Colloquium which was presented by Kale Batingue Fajardo.

Kale B. Fajardo is a core faculty member in the Department of American Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the Asian American Studies Program. Fajardo completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz in spring 2004 and joined the Department of American Studies in the fall of 2005. Fajardo's research interests include Filipino/Filipino American and Asian/Asian American seafaring; port cities (including for example, Manila, Oakland, Acapulco, and New Orleans); masculinities; globalizations; and queer of color cultural productions.
He read his article that will soon be publishsed in the GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. His essay was titled “Transportation: Translating Filipino Female Masculinity In and Through Global Shipping.

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April 11, 2007

"Race: Are We So Different?"

20070109_racecomposite_3.jpg

I attended the Race Exhibit in St. Paul on February 20th and I found it very interesting. It had many different displays which made it appropriate for many ages. There was a little play area with dolls with different ethnicities for the kids, a locker display created by high school students from St. Paul’s Central High School, and also different displays for adults. A particular part of the exhibit that I found rather intriguing was a mosaic of skin tones that guests to the museum made by taking a picture of there skin and comparing it to the pictures.

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April 7, 2007

Reel Dames Film Series

On Thursday March 29th, the Office for University Women continued their series of documentaries of and by women with Ferry Tails. This movie was played in Walter Library on the University of Minnesota’s east bank campus. The event was free and a directed discussion was held afterwards with Joanna O’Connell, a professor from the University.

The documentary covers the lives of a diverse group of women in their daily commutes from Staten Island to Manhattan. The entire documentary takes place on the ferry in the women’s restroom (was known in the video as the “Powder room?). The ferry trip is quite short, only lasting about 30 minutes, but in this short time a group of women meet up in the powder room and experience something unusual. The women that meet up in the powder room are from all different backgrounds and social classes. Some are very wealthy while others are not. The women are from all different ethnicities and it seems they have been given a rare opportunity to come together in this tiny little room for 30 minutes a day.

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March 11, 2007

dean spade talk

On January 22, I attended the Dean Spade talk sponsored by the GWSS department in the Monday afternoon time slot. This particular colloquium, titled “Consolidating the Gendered Citizen: Trans Survival, Bureaucratic Power, and the War on Terror?, addressed the issues of transrights and transidentity in the United States for transgender individuals and stressed the role that administrative law plays as a specific tool for oppression. The three most prominent components of the fight are identity classification and documentation, sex segregation, and medical care.

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What do I think of when I think race??

RACE Exhibit
Science Museum
St. Paul, Minnesota
3/9/2007


I attended the RACE exhibit at the Science museum of Minnesota, I walked into the exhibit and the first activity that I came across was a booth that had the words The meaning of white; what is white privilege? on the top. I figured this would be a good starting point since this is a topic that both frustrates and enlightens me. It was a study done by Doug Hartmann to discover what people know and how they feel about white privilege. I have always taken the stance, since I am a suburban white girl, that I am no more privileged than the next person. However, white sitting at the booth I decided to actively participate in hopes that I would be able to understand this subject better. There was a phone receiver where you could learn more about the subject and I did just that. The biggest thing that I took away from the study was the following statement, “White people are more willing and able to talk about African American disadvantage than white privilege because they are forced to recognize inequality- however, say this is not ‘our’ problem.? After I heard this statement I immediately because conscious of the fact hat I choose not to see the despair that most minorities face and when I do recognize it, I always declare there is nothing that ‘I can do’ about it. I spend most of my time defending how hard my parents worked for what we have and that we haven’t been ‘given’ anything we didn’t deserve. In reality, I feel if we took the energy that we spend protecting our positions and put it towards change we could all truly begin to make a difference.

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Nikki G

Nikki Giovanni "Truth Telling and the Need for Poetry
Wednesday, February 28th, 2007 7:30 PM
Ted Mann Concert Hall


I’ll be honest; prior to February 28th I had never heard of Nikki Giovanni. I knew her face from a photo of a poster and I knew her name from the mouths of other people. Other than this she was a mystery to me. What did she do? What made her life important? Where is she from? What is her relevance to me? After listening to Nikki on that night, all my questions were answered. I now am glad to say I know Nikki Giovanni.

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March 7, 2007

The Jewish Experience

A few weeks ago, I believe the date was February 19th, I attended a University event entitled “Diversity Dialogue: The Jewish Experience.? This was held by a number of students, professors, and other Jewish University employees that have organized and are members of Hillel: The Jewish Student Center that is located right on University Avenue. They are a registered student organization and their mission is “To provide social, cultural, educational, social action and Israel related programs and opportunities to Jewish students at the University of Minnesota as well as provide educational opportunities about Judaism to the non-Jewish population.?
The group of students and professors that joined this discussion group was very diverse; there were people of different race, gender, and age. I wouldn’t want to even attempt to address the other societal differences in fear of assuming something incorrectly, and so I’ll leave it at that. About 30 people gathered in this small room in Piek Hall and everyone was very reserved at first, including myself.

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March 6, 2007

Transgendered rights - the War on Terror by Dean Spade

In late January, I attended a transgendered colloquium on campus held by the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies department in Ford Hall. The talk was lead by Dean Spade, a law teacher at the University of Calfornia – Los Angeles Law School. Before I went, I researched Dean's background to be sure that he was a credible source and would be a valid event to attend. I found that Dean graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College and was awarded the Jane S. Gould Prize for Best Women's Studies Senior Thesis. In 2002, he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a law collective which provides free legal help to low-income people and people of color facing gender identity or expression discrimination. I was very impressed with a few of his articles and decided it would be an interesting event to attend.

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Race Exhibit

The Race exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota is an informative and fun way to teach the community about race. The exhibit being free with admission is also a good way of getting people in that may otherwise not have been as interested in the exhibit. The last exhibit, Body Worlds, seemed more cut off and less accessible. The Race exhibit let’s families bring up the issue of race in our society something that parents might feel strangely bringing up with younger children.

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March 5, 2007

Race Exhibit

For the scholarly event, I attended the “Race Exhibit? at the Science Museum. I found this exhibit to be very interesting and educational. I thought it communicated the issue of race very effectively, using factual information and personal testimonies. There were also interactive demonstrations that allowed you to gather information about and create new understandings of race.

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Race Exhibit at the Science Museum

For my first event I decided to attend the Race Exhibit at the Science Museum of St. Paul. I knew beforehand that this exhibit was going to be about the different races of the world. All of us have learned about Rosa Parks and how she didnt give her seat up in the front of the bus because her feet hurt. People of different races and colors have been oppressed and discriminated throughout history. Even still to this day, people are looked at differently and treated differently because of their color/race. The race exhibit covered three themes throughout history 1) The Everyday Experiance of Race 2) The Contemporary Science that is Challenging Common Ideas About Race and 3) The History of This Idea In The United States. Race is involved in every aspect of our lives. In social and political issues, health care and education. It is common knowledge to us all that racism is not just inside our heads, we're not just necessarily told what to think, but racism is in fact built into the laws, traditions and institutions of our life. We as people need to also realize racism and the seperation of ethnicities are all man made. I dont like to think of myself as racist, but I do feel some things between races are divided. For example, I do not understand my african american people can call each other the "n" word, however, if any white person were to say that we would be called racist and could be cited for harrasment. I actually hate the "n" word and cringe when I hear people saying it, but its still curious to me that african american people use their "blackness" to essentialy use their power over white people. I do have a one sided opinion, my dad and brother are both, to an extent, racist, and I grew up with that around me. Also, I grew up in a city of about 30,000 people and we could count the african american people in the city on one hand. Thats why I decided to go to the Race Exhibit. I wanted to experiance the views of others, and to learn some history as well.

RACE exhibit

For my scholarly event, I attended the RACE exhibit at the Science Museum in St. Paul. I thought that the exhibit was informative, leading off of topics that we have discussed in class. The main message behind the exhibit was that there is no scientific evidence behind “race?; in fact, all humans share a common ancestry. Rather, race is socially constructed by society. One quote that I liked, but I’m not sure who said it, “The separate physical traits used to mark one race from another aren’t linked to another nor to any aspect of human variation,? and it was basically restating that there is no biological/scientific reason for race. The exhibit also brought up white privilege, and the idea of the so-called “melting pot? that when it was first created, was extended to only white immigrants and not to people of color.
The exhibit focused on other “races? as well. There was a quote given by a Native American expressing how his people have felt racism too and how even though they aren’t given credit even though they were here long before the pilgrims, “We are dedicated to our country- the physical land…It makes no difference whose name is on the deed. We are the landlords?- George Horse Capture.
One aspect of the exhibit that I found especially interesting was the feature on the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux. I’m from Grand Forks, where UND is. It was interesting to see how differently the situation is portrayed here than in Grand Forks. I’m not saying that the Native Americans don’t have the right to be offended by the “mascot?, but I personally do not understand it. At all sporting events, every game begins with a five minute tribute to the tribe. Also, at games, there aren’t unruly fans mocking the tribe, and we don’t have a mascot dressing up in tribal garments dancing around in the audience. Also, one of the main causes for concern about having to change the mascot from the Sioux falls around the issue of what will happen to our hockey arena. Ralph Engeldstad donated 100 million dollars to the university to build a state of the art hockey arena. It’s absolutely gorgeous. However, in building the arena, he stated that it could only be used if we kept the name “Sioux?. He made sure of this by having the Sioux emblem embedded in the marble floors and walls and seats; if the name is changed, the arena is useless. I know that probably eventually the nickname will have to be changed. I know that it isn’t right to keep a name if it’s making a group of people uncomfortable, yet I wish that it didn’t have to be that way. The Fighting Sioux are a tradition in North Dakota. I just wanted to put this out there because I feel like other cities paint the wrong picture of Sioux fans as disrespectful and discriminatory towards Native Americans, and this is not the case.
In conclusion, I thought that the exhibit displayed a wide variety of topics concerning race. I liked all the different areas that represented racial topics: forensic science, medicine, schools, racial classification, etc. I’d recommend this exhibit to others in our class because it tied together a lot of the things that we have discussed in class.

March 4, 2007

race exhibit

For the scholarly event, I attended the Race Exhibit at the Science Museum Institute. I find the exhibit to be very interesting and informative. Obvious from the title, the exhibit’s main focus was to examine the issue of race. It brings forth many aspects as well as information about race. Through its wonderful technique of integrating modern technology and history facts, the exhibit really does provide its audience with the opportunity to examine themselves and how they view others.

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March 3, 2007

The 12th Annual International Women's Day Celebration

The 12th International Women Day’s celebration in the University of Minnesota was prepared by the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program in the University of Minnesota. The event focused on the global challenges that are facing human (and particularly women and children’s) rights around the globe and in the United States, especially as these challenges relate to immigrants in the United States. The day’s motto was “Crossing Borders, Connecting Cultures?, and it was not focused only on the negative side and the challenges which are still facing human rights, but also on reasons for optimism and celebration of recent achievements by women in the U.S. and across the globe.

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Fair Trade and Women's Power

The 12th Annual International Women’s Day Celebration was today at Coffman, presented by the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Human Rights Program at the U of M. I attended the workshop session entitled Empowering Women Around the World through Fair Trade. There were three speakers representing different organizations that support women workers internationally. According to their handout, some of the main ideas of fair trade are “creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers,? “dealing fairly and respectfully with trading partners,? “gender equity,? and “developing producers’ independence.? These goals have had enormous impacts on liberating women economically.

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January 29, 2007

Girl Power in Engineering

For my scholarly event I attended a guest lecture by Linda Curley, an engineer at General Mills. The reason that I choose this for my scholarly event is because I am a chemical engineering major. I was interested to hear what a women working in this historically male dominated field would have to say about her job.

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