Several on-campus and community organizations will host the fourth annual UC-wide Womyn of Color Conference this weekend, where attendees will discuss topics ranging from sexism to poverty.
Joanna Thomas, A.S. off-campus representative and an organizer for the conference, said she expects about 700 UC and high school students, community members and UCSB alumni will attend the event. This year marks the first time the conference will be hosted by UCSB, said Janett Cardiel, co-chair of the A.S. Women’s Commission and another conference organizer. She said participants will address local and statewide issues affecting UCSB and Isla Vista.
“You see a lot of poverty, gender discrimination, sexual harassment in the communities of Isla Vista and on campus,” Cardiel said. “We need to learn how we can hold our universities and communities responsible for these issues.”
Chicana feminist author Cherrie Moraga will kick off the conference with a book reading tonight at 8 p.m. in Corwin Pavilion. Feminist speaker Margarita Alcantara-Tan, who is a co-keynote speaker along with Moraga, is scheduled to give a lecture Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Storke Plaza. Later that night, Los Angeles-based hip hop artist Medusa will perform at 10:30 in the UCen Hub. An estimated 60 workshops, five panels and various caucuses are also planned for today through Sunday, Thomas said. Immigration, “rape culture,” the media and education are a few of the issues these groups will explore.
“Education is the key to our conference,” Thomas said. “It’s what motivates us to work as tirelessly as we’ve been working. We know our issues and want to share that with so many other people. We want to provide a space for people to learn.”
Thomas said many caucuses will focus on the various social and ethnic identity issues that women of color face. This allows participants to learn more about the cultures and backgrounds of their peers, she said.
“There are a lot of people here who are going to be in the conference that have a lot of different views,” Thomas said. “It’s one of the conferences where you can learn so much about other cultures. That’s what is so great about coalitions – you learn from each other and get ideas to bounce off each other.”
Adriana Gomez, a Mujeres Unidas por Justicia Educaci