Heart and Hearth: Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project Film Series

We’re so excited that the Unity Fellowship Church of Rochester is partnering with the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (based out of San Francisco, CA) to present the December film screening: Heart and Hearth, a focus on family at the Mocha Center. We hope you’ll take a couple of hours next Saturday to head out to the lovely Mocha Center to watch these great films and meet more folks from the Rochester community!

Saturday, December 13, 2014
The Mocha Center
189 Water St, Rochester
Doors at 6:30 pm, films at 7:00 pm
Free and Open to the Public (donations encouraged!)

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More about the short films:

A young lesbian discovers the strength to be herself after FINDING HOPE in an accepting community.
Even a STRAIGHT JACKET is no match for the gale force voice of a young tomboy.
A queer Mexicana couple journey through online dating and across borders to find their CORAZON DE MELON.
• The support of GIRLS YOU KNOW inspires a young girl to mold her environment.
For a Chinese-Vietnamese queer refugee, CASEY’S HOPE is found in starting a family of her own.
OBACHAN journeys from Tokyo to Little Rock where she is showered with the love of her chosen queer family.
•Black lesbians raising children reveal THE GIFT OF FAMILY

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Tonight: “What Rights? Police Brutality in Rochester” panel hosted by Students for a Democratic Society

what rights police brutality in roc flyer final 12-3-14

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University of Rochester: Student protesters in Rush Rhees Library

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SBAI Awarded Grant from LGBT Fund for Greater Rochester!

Post by Sara Lewis ’15

For the third consecutive year, the Susan B. Anthony Institute has been awarded the LGBT Giving Circle Grant! The mission of the LGBT Giving Circle at the Community Foundation is to unite donors to support organizations that serve, are inclusive of, or are allied with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community to enhance and strengthen the Rochester area.

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The Institute received this support for the “Out At Work” project, which was developed by the SBAI and a representative from the Gay Straight Alliance at the Simon Business School.  “Out at Work” will be a great opportunity for undergraduate students, graduate students, staff and faculty at the University that will include panel discussions, workshops, a keynote lecture, and a networking breakfast. The events will be aimed at addressing a variety of issues that LGBTQI individuals encounter in applying to and working in professional jobs, as well as in choosing, applying to and attending graduate school.

Jane Bryant, SBAI Program Assistant and Angela Clark-Taylor, SBAI Program Manager

Jane Bryant, SBAI Program Assistant and Angela Clark-Taylor, SBAI Program Manager at the Award Ceremony on November 17, 2014

Thank you to Nora Rubel, Angela Clark-Taylor, and Jane Bryant for all of the hard work you put into creating a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQI students at the University of Rochester!

Stay tuned as we release information about the panels, workshops, speakers for the “Out at Work” event which we plan to hold in the late spring of 2015.

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Remembering Leslie Feinberg

Post by Sara Lewis ’15

The November 17th passing of renowned social justice activist and theorist, Leslie Feinberg, comes as a tragedy for communities served by her depth of knowledge, passion for truth, and devotion to radical liberation of the oppressed. Feinberg, who believed strongly in the necessity of self-determination, identified as an “anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist.” Her written works on the fluidity of gender, most notably the pioneering Stone Butch Blues published in 1993, and her revolutionary Marxist view of organizing for transgender liberation, remain foundational for Gender Studies and Human Rights Studies curricula across the world.

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Leslie Feinberg

Feinberg’s partner of 22 years, activist and poet Minnie Bruce Pratt writes in Feinberg’s obituary,

[Feinberg] said she had “never been in search of a common umbrella identity, or even an umbrella term, that brings together people of oppressed sexes, gender expressions, and sexualities” and… believed in the right of self-determination of oppressed individuals, communities, groups, and nations. She preferred to use the pronouns she/zie and her/hir for herself, but also said: “I care which pronoun is used, but people have been disrespectful to me with the right pronoun and respectful with the wrong one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect.”

While Feinberg was especially widely known and respected within the academy, she most strongly identified with working-class people. Growing up in a working-class Jewish family in Buffalo, Feinberg encountered oppression in nearly every sphere of her life. She struggled to find steady work and eventually removed herself from her hostile and intolerant biological family. She became active in the Workers World Party and joined countless additional anti-war, pro-labor organizing campaigns throughout the course of her life. According to Pratt, Feinberg’s final words were “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Feinberg was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2008, but sustained her political work and grassroots organizing in Syracuse, where she lived with her partner and taught at Syracuse University. When Feinberg could no longer speak, she turned to art and visual representation as a medium through which she could advocate for her beliefs. In her final years, up until the final days before her death at age 65, Feinberg blogged about the worsening of her illness as a result of healthcare disparities and inaccessibility of quality care for trans people. Feinberg’s passion and dedication to the liberation of the oppressed will be respected and remembered eternally.

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Undergraduate Conference Friday 11/14

We are hosting the 2014 Undergraduate Research Conference for Gender and Women’s studies this Friday, November 14 in the Gamble room of Rush Rhees Library.

The conference will feature a keynote address at 12:00pm discussing religion, gender and food in America, “What we talk about when we talk about food” with Nora Rubel, Director of SBAI and Associate Professor of Religion and Classics. Lunch will be provided, and the conference is free and open to the UR Community.

For a schedule of presentations, please see the poster below this information or visit the events page of our website.

SBAI Undergrad Research Conference



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Two Icons Lecture with Jennifer Harvey

Each year, the Susan B. Anthony Institute and the Frederick Douglas Institute honor the legacy of the two remarkable Rochester revolutionaries by bringing in a guest lecturer to explore the intersection of race and gender. This year, Jennifer Harvey, Associate Professor of Religion at Drake University, will deliver the annual Two Icons lecture. On Wednesday, October 29th at 5:00 pm in the Hawkins Carlson Reading Room, we invite you to join for hors d’oeuvres us as Harvey presents “Framing Ferguson: Religious Faith, Righteous Feminists and Holy Fire.”


Jennifer Harvey, Drake University

Harvey will engage us in a stimulating dialogue where she will draw similarities between the 1950s and today with regard to the Civil Rights Movement and the current unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. She will use the perspectives of lesser known righteous feminists and religious leaders during the Civil Rights Movement to reveal why Ferguson should have shocked none of us. Join us as we hear Harvey’s insight and analysis in which she will ultimately ask the most important question: where do we go from here?

The lecture is free and open to the public, no RSVP is required to attend!

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Kafka award ceremony and reading with Ru Freeman

SBAI is pleased to announce that author and activist Ru Freeman is the 2014 recipient of our annual Kafka Prize for Fiction for her novel, On Sal Mal Lane!

Join us for the award ceremony in the Welles-Brown room on Thursday, October 23rd at 5:00 pm. No RSVP is necessary for the event which is free and open to the public.

A reading from the novel, book signing, and hors d’oeuvres reception will follow the ceremony. Copies of the award-winning novel will be available for purchase.

Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman

Freeman’s novel was selected from over 120 works of fiction by this year’s Kafka Prize committee. “In this haunting novel of a Sri Lankan neighborhood in the years leading up to the country’s civil war, Ru Freeman explores the interactions, small events and increasing national tensions that gradually transform life on Sal Mal Lane,” writes Kathy McGowan, chair of the Kafka Prize committee of the winning novel. Read more about Freeman and her novel here.

We hope to see you on Thursday!

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Title IX, Higher Education and the University of Rochester

Post by Sara Lewis ’15

Just a few weeks ago, a Columbia University student, Emma Sulkowicz, launched an unusual act of protest as a way to raise awareness and spread an important message to campus administrators and fellow students: rapes and sexual assaults happen, and it’s time for the University to stop hiding from it. This student has vowed to carry a mattress around campus until her rapist is expelled from the University. The student has received an outpour of support from fellow CU students as well as from other campuses around the country. Columbia University is not the only institution of higher education facing the challenge of combating rape and sexual assault. The University of Rochester is actively working to address this issue to ensure the security and justice of all its students, staff, and faculty.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05:  Emma Sulkowicz (L),  a senior visual arts student at Columbia University, carries a mattress, with the help of three strangers who met her moments before, in protest of the university's lack of action after she reported being raped during her sophomore year on September 5, 2014 in New York City.  Sulkowicz has said she is committed to carrying the mattress everywhere she goes until the university expels the rapist or he leaves. The protest is also doubling as her senior thesis project.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Emma Sulkowicz (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)


Morgan Levy, Title IX Coordinator at the University of Rochester

Morgan Levy (Photo courtesy of the University of Rochester)

Morgan Levy, Title IX Coordinator at the University of Rochester, delivered a presentation last week at the Warner School of Education on the complexities of the legal obligations that the University has regarding sexual assault, and then outlined several ways in which the University is working to implement procedural and policy change. Levy and her colleagues aim to create policies that will not only provide support and access to care for survivors, but that will address the more deep-seated issue of violence against women as a way to prevent further violations.

The amount of media attention and political interest on this important issue is certainly creating necessary visibility, which subsequently has precipitated legislative action. Title IX, enacted in 1972, makes educational institutions that receive federal funding obligated to prevent and address harassment against students. Over the course of several years, additional legislative proposals have been passed requiring schools to take action on this issue:

  • The Clery Act requires colleges to explicitly disclose information and statistics about sexual assault and crime on campus and in surrounding areas.
  • The Dear Colleague Letter, enacted in 2011, mandates schools to pursue prompt, fair, and equitable investigations of assault allegations even if the student does not want the investigation.
  • The Campus SAVE Act (part of the Violence Against Women Act) adds to the Cleary Act by requiring colleges to include information on dating violence and stalking and requires the school to include a policy statement in the Cleary report about disciplinary procedures and training.
  • The Campus Accountability and Safety Act introduced this summer by Senator Gillibrand would require schools to have confidential advisors for survivors of sexual assault, in addition to expanding the Clery report, and implementing campus climate surveys and trainings.

The University of Rochester has responded to these federal regulations by implementing several new policies and procedures.

First, the University grants students who have been sexually assaulted and who want to take legal action the right to be accompanied by an advisor at any meeting. The University has created a New Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, which has been made more transparent and accessible to students. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator role has been created. Additionally, the training for students and employees has been updated and improved. The school has designated Responsible Employees, individuals who are obligated to report the basic facts when an incident has occurred and must provide written notification of options.

While the University of Rochester administration is certainly taking significant strides to ensure safety, security, and support for survivors of sexual assault, there is still more to be done. It is notable that the University community is working to address the root of the issue through student initiatives like SEGway (Survivor Empowerment Group) and MOVE (Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere), but we need the students, faculty, and administration to work together to enact sustainable change in order to eliminate rape culture and sexual violence on our campus and others across the country. Visit http://knowyourix.org to learn more about how you can help in the fight to end sexual violence. Additionally, take a look at the local resources available.

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Rochester ’64 and Ferguson ’14

Post by Sara Lewis ’15

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By now the American public is likely quite familiar with the urban unrest occurring in Ferguson, Missouri. The city has become infamous following the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. The tragedy incited community protests, and as a result, police stepped in to occupy citizens’ lawful space. News stories erupted across the globe raising questions about racial inequality, urban space, police force and militarization, and the role of media in shaping political protest. Just 50 years ago, similar unrest took place in Rochester. Riots of rebellion escalated following the arrest of an innocent African American teenager.

The Humanities Project at the University of Rochester, in conjunction with the Frederick Douglas Institute for African and African-American Studies, and the Department of Anthropology, will be holding symposium Inequality, Race and Rebellion: Rochester ’64 and Ferguson ’14 to investigate similarities and differences between the two contexts.

Verdis Robinson, MCC

Robinson, Panelist

The panel of community experts will discuss how reflections on Rochester on 1964 can aid in our understanding of the unfolding situation in Ferguson in 2014.

Panelists include Carvin Eison, SUNY Brockport, Jim Lawrence, Democrat & Chronicle, and Verdis Robinson, Monroe Community College.

The dialogue will address themes including the role of media in portraying these types of events and how we can think about the increasingly militarized police force, mass incarceration, and the prison industrial complex with particular analysis regarding race, class, and other marginalized identities.

Join us on Monday, September 15th from 6:00 to 8:00pm for this important and insightful discussion. The event will take place in the Hawkins-Carlson Room of Rush Rhees Library.

Learn more about the event on Facebook or contact rosemarie.ferreri@rochester.edu for additional information. Hope to see you there!


Eison, Panelist

Jim Lawrence, D&C

Lawrence, Panelist

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