WAC events embrace intersectionality on campus

Rebecca Cole
Contributing Writer

As student organizations rethink how to engage the student body under COVID, Wick Activist Coalition has introduced a lineup of creative events for the semester. The goal of the WAC, the non-residential arm of the Bairnwick Women’s Center, is to encourage intersectionality and spread awareness of many social issues through activist events and fundraisers.

For Women’s History Month in March, the WAC screened feminist-themed movies in the Student Union Theater every Thursday night. Showings included 9 to 5, The Color Purple, and A League of Their Own.

The WAC also hosts listening sessions in the Ralston Room on Wednesdays. The sessions, titled “Listening to Women’s Voices,” promote the music of influential women in the music industry. Each session featured two women of similar musical style and highlighted their impactful careers.

Nellie Bowers (C’23), the WAC member who spearheaded this project, said, “these sessions have been really empowering for me to host.” The women featured “had amazing contributions not only to the music industry but to society.” Some examples of featured artists are Lizzo and Dolly Parton, the former “a major advocate for female body positivity” and the latter “a great public ally to the LGBTQ+ community.”

Bowers also points out that many of these women’s contributions were not recognized until recently and we often discount how difficult it truly is for women to make an impact in this field. Even the Ralston Room, which holds many collections of records, contains a “majority…from male composers and artists,” she explains. This discrepancy highlights the need for female recognition in the music industry, and Women’s History Month was the perfect opportunity.

Recently, the WAC held their annual Equality Bake Sale which raises awareness for the pay gap not only between men and women, but across many different identities. Customers “pay what you make” compared to the earnings of a white, non-Hispanic man, which allows them to visualize the pay gap in action. Proceeds from the bake sale went to A Better Balance Nashville, a nonprofit advocacy organization that combats discrimination in the workplace.

The WAC is currently hosting an Intersectional Book Club that aims to bring the community together through the reading and discussion of books with themes of intersectionality.

The first book being read and discussed is The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, a play that recognizes different women’s stories. The play tries to destigmatize the discussion of the vagina and even the word itself, and addresses important topics that many women have been socialized to believe are taboo. The second book this semester will be Beloved by Toni Morrison. The Pulitzer-Prize winning novel explores motherhood, and the Black American experience through the story of a formerly enslaved woman.

Julia Pearce (C’23), the WAC member who is leading the project, says that the book club is “a really great way to engage women across campus in essential dialogues about women’s empowerment, racial inequality, and other relevant issues.”

Each meeting takes place at Stirling’s Coffee House, which provides a setting for people to come together and talk about these important issues in a comforting and casual space.

Pearce also states “I’m looking forward to engaging professors in our conversations as we move forward.” The addition of professors will provide new insight as well as engaging and scholarly discussion.

The WAC is an amazing group on this campus and continues to work hard to encourage intersectionality and activism. Though the pandemic reduced their ability to begin many projects last semester, the WAC is back and better than ever this semester.