Women Take Their Spot in the Limelight

El Vaquero Staff Writer

During the final week of Women’s History Month in March, the humanities and social science department held several presentations.

The presentations were meant to educate students about the involvement of women throughout historical struggles and enlighten them on the accomplishments and progress made by women and their potential for social change.

The week began on March 24 with a lecture titled, “Against the Grain: Writing Wives in Spain.”

The event was presented by Dr. Lisa Vollendorf, sponsored by the English Division’s Graves-Merkel Endowment, and featured guest speaker Mary Jane Atkins, who is an instructor of English.

On March 25, the events were doubled with both a presentation in the morning and a documentary film in the evening by GCC’s own Associate Professor of Philosophy Dr. Lina Gupta.

While the morning session was greeted by J.C. Moore, associate professor of sociology and graduate of Ewha Women’s University, in a lecture aptly named “Sexism in Language,” the evening “movie-goers” paid witness to a stark film titled “Celebrate the Living Goddess.”

The events, both of which were held in the San Raphael building, addressed issues of both social and sexual indoctrination as well as the potential for growth and individual value of each person.

“I went to the movie to get extra credit for a class,” Maria Valdez, 24, English major, said of Gupta’s documentary, “but walked away with a lot more than I expected. It was really, really well done, and I learned a lot from the movie.”

On March 26, in the Administration building, Dr. Lisa Lubow from the social sciences department held a three-and-a-half-hour lecture on the historical aspects of women in their attempt to be heard during the earlier years of our nation.

“Unquiet Women: Voices of Dissent in Early America” examined the limited role of women at the time and their attempts and successes toward positive social change in the U.S.

“I thought it was going to be a `man-bashing’ thing, but it wasn’t at all,” said Ray Segovia, 22. “It really is pretty incredible what some of those women went through.”

Sera Crust, 27, a psychology major, agreed, saying, “The amount of willpower and belief these women had is amazing. To speak up once is one thing, but they just kept going no matter what.”

Finally, on March 27 in Kreider Hall, GCC welcomed Maria Elena Durazo for her lecture, “The Long Ride to Freedom: Women as Immigrant Workers in America.”

Durazo, who has served on the governing boards of both the Department of Airports and the Department of Recreation and Parks, as well as being the first Latina woman to head a major local union, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, spoke of the importance of migrant workers and their crucial role in the structure of society.

After a short 45-minute speech about the power of unity in the workforce, Durazo showed a film about a group of undocumented female workers who were arrested and fired for starting a union.

Through the power of protest, the women were allowed to stay in America and were offered their jobs back.

Durazo, who stressed the importance of social progress and the power that each individual possesses “within themselves,” opened the floor to questions afterward to the audience of more than 100 students and staff and faculty members.

Dr. Robert Newcomb, who died in May, had dedicated the week’s events, lectures and movie to two former graduates of GCC, Karen Hale Newcomb and Donna Clare Gerken.

In addition to the lecture series Newcomb had donated the Geography Lab in the Science Center and had left to the college a gift that will endow the Geographic Information Systems instructional program.