The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rudimentary 2019-2020 school year, with no ability for clubs to meet at their pre-pandemic capacity. Seattle University Gender justice center embraces the new year with a spirit of renewal after a trying year.
Gender Justice Center leader Isabella Maffei, a third-year public affairs and political science student, is delighted to reopen the office on the ground floor of Chardin Hall, which was not accessible to year-round students. last.
“We’re definitely in a year of restarting, just because we weren’t very active last year due to the pandemic. Our goal is to create a safe space for everyone on campus and to organize good events that promote the center, ”Maffei said.
The Gender Justice Center organizes conversations on gender justice issues and promotes gender equality through various forms of event programming.
“We are planning to do a clothes swap later in the year, we are organizing hygiene product drives and we are having community discussions on different gender issues,” Maffei said.
Gender Justice Center leader Keira Cruickshank, a fourth year student in Sociology, Creative Writing and Spanish, emphasized the importance of overcoming gender disparities in a holistic and inclusive manner.
“We ask students what they need from the Gender Justice Center, because as a resource center for transgender, nonconforming, female and diverse students, having resources that support what they need is one of our goals, ”Cruickshank said. .
The center, which was renewed in Seattle U in 2017, promotes trans inclusiveness and liberation from gender marginalization by creating a physical space for students to find community.
Club participant Audrey Graves, a fourth year psychology student, described how the creation of gender inclusive spaces happens.
“Being around very open-minded people and taking the time to support each other,” Graves said.
Inter-community dialogue and support has been a constant ethic of the center, which has held students poetry shows, sex education workshops and hosted advocates, including the current Seattle City Council candidate Nikkita Olivier.
“Having the physical space is wonderful for us to achieve because it’s a place where we can meet regularly and try to build community,” Graves said.
Maffei stressed the importance for the center to promote growth this year as a key to the club’s future success.
“We are definitely looking for new voices and leaders to join the club, as well as new members,” Maffei said.
The club plans to hold an event on November 10, in addition to visiting C-Street and Campion, to promote the visibility of the center.
Cruickshank hopes to attract new first and second year participants.
“Making connections and reaching people is a challenge. Basically everyone is new to campus or hasn’t been there in the last year or so, ”Cruickshank said.
There are no prior skills or experiences needed to be a part of the center, and people from all backgrounds and gender identities are welcome to participate. The management of the center considers this to be essential to the success of the organization.
“Anyone can get involved… and we’re also looking to have more people involved to attend and run events, so everyone is welcome,” said Cruickshank.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the club plans to host hybrid events and in-person programming. Maffei described the accessibility and resources of the center and stressed the importance of community access.
“We try to make it as accessible as possible and keep it open as much as possible, and provide free hygiene products and even have a pantry for people, so that your needs can be met here, which is awesome, ”Maffei mentioned.
Cruickshank stressed that the center is not just a collection of public programs, but a place where students can seek support and lobby for greater change in the community.
“We talked about working on mutual aid projects, that’s what interests a lot of people, both in creating a strong community here and in finding ways to get involved in the wider community,” Cruickshank said.
As the campus community reopens its doors to physical interactions and offices are dusted off after a year of inactivity, the Gender Justice Center reappears as a space for support, dialogue and advocacy. Their campus presence will continue to serve as an integral resource for transgender, non-conforming and female students as the campus, community and country continue to grapple with institutional inequalities.