February 25, 2021
Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) will celebrate Women’s HerStory Month (WHM) throughout March. This year’s theme —”Empowering Women in the New Normal: Body, Mind and Soul”—focuses on the plethora of issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic such as distance learning, working remotely, wearing a mask, job loss, racial injustice, social distancing and other issues associated with the shutdown.
WHM at BMCC will include a series of workshops, panel discussions and seminars that explore issues and experiences facing women, especially Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) women as well as other marginalized communities.
This year’s opening ceremony on March 2 from 2 until 4 p.m. features three keynote speakers including the Brujas of Brooklyn—Dr. Griselda Rodriguez-Solomon and Dr. Miguelina Rodriguez, Afro-Latina identical twins and CUNY professors—who say on their website that they “believe in the power and magic of collective wellness. ”Lyla June, an Indigenous musician, artist, poet, scholar and community organizer who describes herself as working toward collective and ecological healing is also a featured guest.
“Empowering Women in the New Normal: Body, Mind and Soul” will dive into a wide range of topics including healthcare access, childcare, technology and also, the availability of resources for distance learning as well as working from home. Discussions, films and workshops will focus on unemployment and the vastly disproportionate representation of women among the essential frontline workforce. Events will also examine socio-economic and class inequality, racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Covid-19 was a huge factor in this ‘new normal’, but we knew it was not the only contributor to the current reality,” said Tammie Velasquez, BMCC Women’s Resource Center Manager. “For many, the pandemic, and the so-called ‘new normal’ has shed light on issues that had been alive and prevalent in their lives well before Covid-19.”
Velasquez said the goal of this year’s Women’s HerStory Month was to not only recognize those and other issues and experiences, but to take a more radical approach to how women are caring and empowering themselves during this time.
“We hope this year’s theme and our events will enable BMCC women-identified students, faculty and staff to use the events as a moment for themselves; to be their holistic-self; and to take time to care, identify, heal, empower and uplift the many aspects of their identities,” said Velasquez. “We hope they are able to connect and ground all their intersecting identities as women, as mothers, as partners, as professionals, as students, as daughter, as sexual beings, as creatives, as scholars, as healers, and so on to empower themselves and each other mind, body and soul.”
This year’s organizing committee includes Vice President of Student Affairs Marva Craig, cabinet chair.
The committee co-chairs Victoria Apostol-Marius, Women’s Resource Center; Joanna Giza, Science Professor; Anita Tarnai, ASAP; Tammie Velasquez, Women’s Resource Center Manager; Kristen Bennett, ASAP; Alfonso Bravo, Internships and Experiential Learning; Melanie Lewis, BMCC Express; Alexis Pistone, BMCC Learning Academy; Anika Thrower, Health Education Department and Christina Waszak, Office of Student Activities.
This year’s WHM artists are Hali “Preston” Huang, BMCC student and Ambria Safford, a Pratt Institute student.
For more information about this month’s events, please visit the BMCC Women’s HerStory page.
- Opening event features Brujas of Brooklyn and Lyla June
- WHM organizers say pandemic has shed light of many issues impacting women
- Events include workshops, panel discussions and film screenings