Category Archives

Gender Equality

What will it take for Women to Come Together to End Oppression and Patriarchy?

  • February 22, 2021
  • Lis Williams

Our February Film Festival concludes this Wednesday, February 24th @ 7:00 p.m. CST.  Our screening this week is... Continue Reading

Our February Film Festival concludes this Wednesday, February 24th @ 7:00 p.m. CST.  Our screening this week is “Rising Power:  Building an intersectional justice movement in the United States.”  

In an increasingly polarized and racially segregated United States, we see the impact of patriarchy through the eyes of Black and Southeast Asian activists living in Madison, Wisconsin. Against a backdrop of anti-Blackness, violence against women, and increasing social and political polarization, we meet M Adams and Kabzuag Vaj, community organizers and co-directors of Freedom, Inc.

What began as a sexual assault support group has grown into a community organization at the forefront of battles over education reform, police brutality, land access and ownership, women’s safety and security, and mental health. In this Fundamental episode, Kabzuag says “Freedom, Inc. exists because there were no organizations serving women like me.”

With Freedom, Inc. Kabzuag and M have cultivated a movement that invites women of color—in particular, Black, Hmong, and Khmer women, girls, queer, and trans people—to tie their own rights to one another. Freedom, Inc. works to equip the communities they serve with the tools and resources they need to uproot our broken system and ultimately build a roadmap toward shared liberation.

Most Americans say it’s now more common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views. Additionally, 2019 saw the most deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were Black transgender women.

In this Fundamental episode, we learn about grassroots movements led by women and gender non-conforming people of color who confront oppression and patriarchy in the U.S. It highlights the ways people from different backgrounds experience discrimination and focuses our attention on the importance of not placing issues in silos, but instead recognizing how systems of oppression intersect and overlap.

Movements addressing one form of oppression must take others into account. For example, efforts to fight racism must include addressing homophobia, classism, and anti-Semitism, and work to eliminate gender disparities must acknowledge how women of color experience inequality and prejudice differently from white women.

INTERSECTIONALITY: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. The term “intersectionality” was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a civil rights activist and legal scholar.

Nothing changes if we don’t talk about it.  

Be bold.  Be Daring.  Be AWE-dacious!

Have You Ever Felt Out of Place or Unwelcome?

  • February 8, 2021
  • Lis Williams

Have you ever felt out of place or unwelcome? Sadly, this is a daily experience for members of... Continue Reading

Have you ever felt out of place or unwelcome?

Sadly, this is a daily experience for members of the LGBTQI community.  And for many, it’s worse.  They live in fear.

LGBTQI+ discrimination is rampant around the globe. As of March 2019, there are 70 United Nations Member States (35%) that criminalize consensual same-sex sexual acts, with imprisonment as the most common penalty. Indeed, in 37% of these countries, consensual same-sex acts can be punished by life imprisonment. In six countries, a person can receive the death penalty for being found “guilty” of consensual same-sex sexual acts, with three in Asia (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) and three in Africa (Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia).

In 30 states in the United States, LGBTQI+ people are at risk of being fired, refused housing, or denied social services simply because of identifying as LGBTQI+.

Our February Film Festival continues tomorrow, February 10th, at 7:00 p.m. CST as we feature “Living Out Loud:  LGBTQI rights in Georgia.”

In this episode, we meet feminist activist Ekaterine Aghdgomelashvili, a trailblazer for LGBTQI+ rights in Georgia and co-founder of Women’s Initiative Supporting Group (WISG). Eka and the other leaders at WISG focus their work on empowering women and LGBTQI+ people in Georgia and working to advance their rights through political participation, economic empowerment, and cultural exchange.

We also meet Eka T., an aspiring young artist and fellow community activist, in the tense days leading up to a rally for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Through the eyes of Eka A., Eka T., and others, we see how anti-rights and anti-gender movements are endangering the lives of LGBTQI+ people and seeking to rollback rights gained by the gender justice movement in Georgia.

A 2018 study on hate crimes and discrimination in Georgia found that the majority of Georgians generally think it’s important to protect the rights of minorities—with the exception of LGBTQI+ people.

While officially a secular country, church and state are far from separate in Georgia. LGBTQI+ people in Georgia are the targets of violence and state-sanctioned oppression because of the undue influence of the Georgian Orthodox Church on social and political life in the country. Anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric, led by religious and political leaders, has resulted in homophobic and transphobic violence, discrimination, hate crimes, and murders throughout the country, as well as state-ordered threats against LGBTQI+ individuals and activists. At the same time, LGBTQI+ and feminist movements in Georgia have made gains and have grown stronger over the years.

Don’t miss this eye-opening documentary and discussion.  You are needed and Now is our time!

Be bold.  Be Daring.  Be AWE-dacious!!

P.S.  We will be hosting the Fundamental film series on Wednesdays in February.  It is a joint production from Academy Award-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and the non-profit Global Fund for Women. At a time of unprecedented political uprisings around the globe, Fundamental introduces global audiences to grassroots movements and community leaders who are standing up for our fundamental human rights and working to hold governments accountable for healthier and more just societies for all.