ChiFems Action Network
Event: Feminism in the Midwest BYOB Panel & Networking
Date: Saturday, June 8th
Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Chicago Glass Collective - 1770 W. Berteau Ave. 203B Chicago, IL, 60613
It often seems that the hub of modern feminism lies on the East Coast. New York City and its surrounding areas are home to feminists such as Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart, Feministing’s Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Feministe’s Jill Fillipovic, Change.org’s Shelby Knox, and many more. But the more liberal coasts are not the only source of innovation or energy of the movement, so why does feminism in the Midwest—a more traditionally conservative region—seem invisible to the general public?
Since the day of the pioneer woman, Midwestern values have been centered around domesticity and the home, and as such, Midwestern feminists experience deeply held assumptions about how women should live - from marriage and children to career and current politics about reproductive freedoms and labor disputes. Women may often be afraid to identify as feminist or to find a feminist community because of what their family, coworkers and peers will think of them if they are too outspoken or independent. Our panel will discuss the various issues we have seen as individuals and as members of various feminist groups as women who live in the heartland of this country.
We hope you can join us in the discussion.
Veronica I. Arreola is a professional feminist, a writer, and mother. She is the director of the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender’s Women in Science and Engineering program. Her blog, Viva la Feminista, has been named a top political blog by Blogher, Women’s Media Center and Latinos in Social Media (LATISM). Veronica’s work on behalf of women and girls has been recognized by her coworkers with a UIC Woman of the Year award, the community with a Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award and the White House with an organizational Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and
Engineering Mentoring. Veronica’s writing has appeared in Bitch Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor and Ms. magazine. Media appearances include WGN-TV News, NBC Nightly News, and MSNBC. She’s currently working on a PhD in public administration. Veronica lives on the far north side with her husband and daughter. And she always root root roots for the Cubbies.
Claudia is a writer, speaker, and consultant. She provides expert strategy on issues of gender, media, and culture. She has thirteen years of professional experience working as an anti-racism and anti-gender-based violence speaker, activist, organizer. She was educated in the departments of Philosophy and Women and Gender studies at DePaul University. Awarded a Teaching Assistantship Grant to Nantes, France in 2006, she worked as a public relations intern for Le Lieu Unique’s Estuaire 2007 Project. Claudia has also lived in Germany, Mexico, and spent extensive time in Tunisia before the uprising. She is fluent in French and Spanish, and has working knowledge of Modern Standard and Classical Arabic. In 2008, Claudia was chosen as Amnesty International’s “Stop the Violence Against Women” campaign coordinator for the Midwest. She is co-author and editor of the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women’s media toolkit for journalists to better media coverage of gender-based violence.
Claudia is also a music journalist for Gozamos, a contributing writer at Chicago Indy Media, and former editor of AREA Chicago. A guest commentator on WBEZ’s Vocalo programming - The Morning AMp! and the Barber Shop Show - where she provides cultural criticism on issues relating to race, gender and sexuality. Claudia was named a 2012 Fulbright Alternate to Morocco. She continues to pursue her interests as the social media fellow at The OpEd Project and as founding member of Liberation Education and Facilitation (LEAF) in Chicago. In the Fall of 2013, she begins graduate studies at Northwestern University. You can reach her via twitter: @ClaudiaStellar
Ashley Lauren Samsa
Ashley Lauren Samsa is a high school English teacher and freelance writer in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. She graduated with her BA in English and Creative Writing in 2006 and her MA in English Studies in 2012. Her work has appeared numerous places including The Guardian, The Huffington Post, In These Times, the Ms. Magazine blog, the Bitch blog, Care2.com and the Teaching Tolerance blog. She also writes at her own site, smallstrokesbigoaks.com, about gender roles, education, and lifestyle issues. She currently lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Tim, and their adopted dogs, Penny and Bailey. You can follow her on twitter @samsanator.
Deborah is Midwest Regional Leader at the OpEd Project. She is an expert on gender, politics, and the unfinished business of feminism across generations. She is the author of Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild, co-editor of the literary anthology Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo, founder of the group blog Girl w/Pen, and co-founder of the webjournal The Scholar & Feminist Online. She is a Founding Partner of She Writes, the largest online community for women who write, with over 14,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Deborah’s writings on women, feminism, contemporary families, sex, and popular culture have appeared in venues including The Washington Post, The Guardian, Slate’s The Big Money, The Huffington Post, The American Prospect, Ms., More, and she has been featured on tv and radio including The Today Show, CBS This Morning, WNBC, WCBS, New York 1, Good Morning America Radio, Pacifica Radio, The Wendy Williams Experience, The Judith Warner Show, and The Joey Reynolds Show. She serves on the Board of the Council on Contemporary Families and has been a Visiting Fellow at Barnard College and the University of Michigan. Deborah lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their toddler twins and lives online at The Pink and Blue Diaries, where she blogs about gender, parenthood, writing, and life.
Many thanks to Leslie Speicher, owner of the Chicago Glass Collective, for hosting our panel. There will be information available about various class offerings as well as glass artwork for sale, and Leslie will be on hand to answer any questions.