The Fayetteville chapter has partnered with the Office of Civic Engagement and Serving Learning at Fayetteville State University. Recently, members of NOW presented to students enrolled in SOC 400, the Sociology of Gender Roles. This is part of NOW reaching and working together with the next generation. This includes opening dialogue during class, and will include outside events, including at least one the students designed themselves.
On February 1, NOW president Sharon Johnson, along with members Anne Smiley and Emily Chapman Grimes, facilitated dialogue with the students regarding empowerment. Working from the framework of an “empowered” life, members posed the question, “What do you want your life to look like?” Students talked about the importance of a quality education for their future families, stable and affordable housing, access to resources, equal opportunity, and being able to navigate systems that provide access to healthcare, employment, etc.
On February 22, two male members of the Fayetteville Chapter presented to the students from the viewpoints of “male feminists.” John Caldwell and Miguel Rodriguez shared powerful illustrations from their personal lives. Both men talked about their mothers and the impact these women had on their lives in reference to feminism.
Sharing stories from his childhood, Mr. Caldwell spoke about being the son of a feminist who taught him to be self-sufficient and to be respectful of women. He did not grow up with notions of what was considered “woman’s work.” His mother, a women’s rights activist, co- created a flyer of an alternative lady liberty, holding a broom in one hand and money in another. The flyer can be found in the Library of Congress. Mr. Caldwell encouraged the students to read two resources: “When God was a Woman,” and “Black women in white America.”
Mr. Rodriguez talked about growing up in the Southwest and having five sisters who worked alongside him in the fields. He recounted an incident wherein his mom, working for a verbally abusive male supervisor, quit a job after being degraded and called a “wetback.” He communicated his passion for equal rights, equal pay for equal work, and a woman’s right to choose. Additionally, touching upon the issue of domestic violence in our society, Mr. Rodriguez stated, “too many of our women are still being hurt.”
The students are working on a service learning project for NOW. They have created flyers for the upcoming Susan B. Anthony celebration. They also have planned a campus event entitled, “Let’s talk about Fayetteville NOW.”
-By Emily Chapman Grimes