Second annual Free to [be] week

This week, besides hearing about adventures of your friends’ spring break trips and catching up on “House of Cards,” you may have noticed some other happenings around campus- Free to [be], a week of events to explore intersectional feminism on SLU’s campus.

Currently in its second annual week of events, Free to [be] looks at the ways in which our multiple social identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, ability and sexual orientation interact with one another. They form who we are, our experiences, and how we see the world, and Free to [be] seeks to talk about and celebrate those identity markers.

Monday, March 14 began with a kick-off event for The Clothesline Project, which is a national effort to tell peoples’ experiences of sexual violence. These will be displayed on the Quad throughout the week, and each t-shirt was written by someone on SLU’s campus.

Representatives from the YWCA and The Bridge were present for that event. The Bridge is a homeless shelter in St. Louis, and Free to [be] is also hosting a feminine hygiene drive throughout the week to donate to The Bridge, as feminine hygiene products are often lacking in homeless shelters around the country.

The day continued with a conversation on how to have healthy relationships and what that even means to both students and faculty.

The last event on Monday was a panel on the intersections of faith, race and justice. Panelists included Reverend Rebecca Ragland, Asst. Pastor at Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion; Aleidra Allen, Program Coordinator in the Cross Cultural Center on SLU’s campus; and Michelle Higgins of Faith for Justice, a Christian advocacy group in St. Louis.

March 15 showcased a different type of event – a workshop on Fear and Vulnerability based on Quaker-style discernment.

Though it seems like a strange concept, the activity was intended to talk about the ways in which fear and shame are within all of us, and many of us have the same fears, such as being alone, not falling in love or not succeeding in academics. Campus ministers Robby Francis and Cynthia Enghauser facilitated this conversation.

Wednesday, March 16th’s event was another Coffee and Conversation, this one on activism in the workplace, with different professors around SLU’s campus.

Students and faculty alike discussed what activism can be defined as – which can be different for everyone – and the different challenges that accompany working against the status quo while operating in systems that fight to perpetuate it.

If you haven’t heard of Free to [be] yet, there’s still time to check out the events for Thursday and Friday. Perhaps you too could snag one of those nifty “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” t-shirts.