OSU Women’s Center Group Oral History Interview

Women’s Center Staff: Amelia, Shelby, Soreth, & Nicthé (left to right)

This spring term four OSU Women’s Center staff members gathered for an oral history interview to reflect upon their experiences working at the center, and the video interview and transcript are available online!

The Women Center, established in 1973, has a mission to be an “open community of feminist leaders inspiring change through advocacy, support and education toward the growth and success of all” and values Inclusivity, Diversity, Collaboration, and Accountability. To learn more, check out the Women’s Center website.

Last year, the APCC staff shared their stories and the year before NAL students participated. Below is the Women’s Center interview:

Interview Video and Interview Transcript

Interview Information:

Date: May 5, 2015
Location: Oregon State University’s Women’s Center
Length: 00:27:04
Interviewees: Amelia Allee, Shelby Baisden, Soreth Dahri, Nicthé Verdugo         
Interviewer: Amelia Allee

Interview Summary:

The interview begins by introducing four staff members of Oregon State University’s women’s center–Amelia Allee, Shelby Baisden, Soreth Dahri, and Nicthé Verdugo. After discussing their backgrounds, majors, and positions at the women’s center, they discuss the challenges of their jobs. These challenges include white privilege and misunderstandings of feminism. They recommend sexual assault awareness and expanded definitions of feminism for future event topics. The interview then chronicles their ideas and advice for the future of the women’s center. For this, the interviewees recognize open mindedness, good and purposeful intentions, non-generalizations, and challenging barriers. On a more personal level, they describe several experiences in which their identities have caused them to have both negative and positive interactions. The interview ends with an acknowledgement of the family-like environment of the staff and of the center.

Interviewee Bios: 

Amelia Allee: Amelia Allee grew up in Denver, but calls Portland, Oregon her home. Allee is 20 years old, and self-identifies as French, English, and Huron (a Native American Tribe). This is her first year at Oregon State University as a transfer student from Portland Community College. As a junior, she is majoring in public health with a focus in health management and policy. Allee is also working towards her certificate of food and culture and social justice. Previously a student advocate at PCC’s women’s center, Allee began working at OSU’s women’s center in 2014. She is currently a peer facilitator, but will soon become the leadership liaison. 

Shelby Baisden: Shelby Baisden recognizes Gresham, Oregon as her hometown, but calls Portland and Corvallis her home. Baisden is 22, self-identifies as white, and is a senior at Oregon State University. She is studying human development and family sciences in the school of public health and human sciences. This is her first year working for the women’s center, although she had previously collaborated with the center. She serves as the communications representative. 

Soreth Dahri: Soreth Dahri’s hometown is Karachi, Pakistan. She self-identifies as Muslim and Pakistani. She is 21 and in her second year at Oregon State University. She is majoring in finance in the college of business. Dahri is currently a peer facilitator at the women’s center, and this is her first year working for the center. 

Nicthé Verdugo: While Nicthé Verdugo lives in Corvallis, Oregon, her hometown is Chandler, Arizona. Verdugo is 22, self-identifies as Chicana, and is a senior at Oregon State University. She is majoring in ethnic studies with a minor in women, gender, and sexuality studies within the college of liberal arts. This is Verdugo’s second year working at the women’s center. During her first year, she served as the program coordinator, creating and organizing events. Currently she is the leadership liaison. One of her duties is to serve as a mentor for the staff of the women’s center.

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OSQA ~ The OSU Queer Archives

OSU Queer Archives

It’s OSQA, the OSU Queer Archives! This past year the OMA has been in the process of assisting the OSU LGBTQ+ community establish a community archives to document and celebrate its diverse history (be sure to “like” OSQA’s recently created Facebook Page!), and this past week, OSQA was featured in two great events as part of OSU’s Pride Week 2015

But first, what is the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA)?

The mission of the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) is to preserve and share the stories, histories, and experiences of LGBTQ+ people within the OSU and Corvallis communities. This mission is rooted in three central commitments:

  • fostering intersectional community activism across and providing opportunities for students engagement and activism
  • resisting erasure of queer and trans narratives
  • positioning the collection as a space to imagine alternative futures for LGBTQ+ communities and people

And now, the events!

The Unfurling: Everyone Has A Story
Monday, May 4 11am-1pm at the OSU Memorial Quad

In collaboration with Rainbow Continuum and the Pride Planning Committee, OSQA invited all to a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) stories and experiences. Guests brought blankets and items that represented significant memories and moments in their lives. It was an informal storytelling event and a time for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and share meaningful experiences with each other and with other members of the OSU campus community. The event took place alongside the annual Pride Week Opening BBQ. 

OSU LGBTQ Community Film Screening
Friday, May 8 2-4pm at the PRIDE Center

OSQA hosted a screening of a short film which focused on the experiences and narratives of LGBT community members on the OSU campus. The stories shared in this film demonstrate the continued importance of LGBTQ resources such as the Pride Center, Sol (LGBT Multicultural Support Network), Rainbow Continuum, and the Queer Affairs Task Force, and add a piece of collective history to the Queer Archives for past, present, and future LGBTQ community members to benefit from. The film was created by Queer Archives intern Kiah McConnell for her Honors thesis project.

There will be more about OSQA later this year, especially during Fall term 2015 with Pride Month in October, so stay tuned!

OSU Pride Center Albums
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Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month ~ It’s the OSU APCC’s 25th Anniversary!

APCC Display

Join the OMA and the OSU Asian Pacific Cultural Center (APCC) in celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2015. This year, it’s the APCC’s 25th anniversary and its 21st year of celebrating heritage month. Plus, the center also celebrated its grand opening of its brand new building and location! So, the OMA curated a small display to showcase the APCC – come see the display in person at the Valley Library and check out photos of the items featured through the 2015 Digital Display in Flickr

Display Information:
When: May-June 2015
Where: Main Floor, OSU Valley Library, Display Case to the left of the Main Entrance 
Who: Display curated by Avery Sorensen, OMA student worker

Also, be sure to check out our previous heritage month displays…

Oregon Multicultural Archives Heritage Month Displays

Display Digital Collections in Flickr

And, if you what to learn more about the history of the APCC, check out the Asian & Pacific Cultural Center Records, 1987-2014 (RG 245) as well as the APCC 2014 staff oral history interviews!

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REFORMA Oregon at OLA

REFORMA OR Chapter – OLA Booth

The OMA was at OLA for the first time, but not as an attendee, as an exhibit booth staffer for the recently established REFORMA Oregon chapter…and it was a lot of fun!

As you may recall, the OMA attended and presented at the national REFORMA conference earlier this month. REFORMA is a national organization with over a dozen chapters in various states and cities across the country dedicated to carry out the organization’s mission to provide library services to Latino/a and Spanish-speaking communities.

For many years there was a Northwest chapter of REFORMA that included the states of Washington and Oregon, but in recent years, Oregon’s librarians began to discuss the possibility of a separate Oregon chapter. And this past year it became official! So, the chapter members decided to staff a booth at the Oregon Library Association (OLA) conference to spread the word. The booth was a great success with dozens of people stopping by to learn more and we left with a long list of sign ups for the chapter’s listserv. The booth included a lot of information about the chapter and local services and programs, and it also featured the newly created chapter website. Be sure to check it out!

REFORMA Oregon Chapter Website

Here are a few more booth photos…

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Milagro Workshop and Performance at OSU

The OMA was incredibly excited to collaborate with OSU’s Centro Cultural César Chávez for its Tribute Month celebrations to host Teatro Milagro for a workshop and performance!

The pre-performance workshop asked attendees to think about the connections between  art and social justice - a connection especially important in the Chicano Movement. We learned about Luis Valdez and his creation of El Teatro Campesino, and the Teatro’s roots in Commedia dell’arte dating back to in Italy in the 16th century. The workshop involved participants creating still images to express emotions and concepts to get us in the theatre mindset and help us better understand the context to the evening’s performance.

Searching for Aztlán, written & directed by Lakin Valdez (following in his father’s footsteps), chronicles one high school teacher’s journey to re-energize her support of the Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program in Tucson, Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) which was dismantled in 2012. After an opening scene in which the teacher, Dolores Huelga, defends the MAS program to a very conservative school board, she is left discouraged and considers giving up the fight. She is then swept up in a dust storm and is taken to an alternate reality where she “searches for Aztlán” – the play very much references and follows the basic plot of Dorothy’s journey in The Wizard of Oz. Like the film, the play includes musical numbers and is a satire. The play is self-described by the theatre group as “a metaphorical yellow brick road of discovery about what it means to be Chicano in contemporary society.”

Along her journey Dolores encounters various characters (all essentially following the plot of the Wizard of Oz): the Madre of the Aztecas (the “good” witch), Jan Bruja “La Lechuza” (the “bad” witch who represents Arizona’s ex-Governor Jan Brewer), and three companions she meets along the way, all exaggerated characterizations of Chicanos 1) a 1970s militant Chicano 2) a 1980s “High-Spanic” who shuns her Latina roots 3) a 2000s “Dreamer.” In the beginning of the play the four companions are lost and alone and represent differing types of Chicano/as. By the end of the play, the characters reflect upon the idea that they are all Latino/a, and when they work together in a united cause, they are stronger.

In the end, Dolores is more committed than ever to continue with the cause in support of the MAS program. For example, the closing scene includes a voice over of news excerpts along with Dolores holding an American flag while another character carries a Mexican flag and two other characters hold signs that state: “Education is Not a Crime” and “Save Ethnic Studies” – the play ends with the characters chanting “¡Sí se puede!”

For more about Milagro’s history, be sure to check out the archival collection!
Milagro (Miracle Theatre Group) Records, 1966-2014

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The OMA at REFORMA 2015

The OMA’s REFORMA Presentation

Established in the early 1970s, REFORMA is a national organization with the mission to “promote library and information services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking.” In its 45 year history, it has only hosted 5 conferences, so the OMA was delighted to attend and give a presentation at RNC V, REFORMA’s 2015 national conference, this past week!

The presentation focused on OMA projects with OSU’s Cultural Resource Centers (CRCs) including the creation of a shared CRC library system, the development of archival collections including oral histories, and the curation of small exhibits in the library to showcase the CRCs’ histories.

“Oregon State University’s Centro Cultural César Chávez: Connecting Latino/a students to other campus cultural resource centers through shared library and archival projects” click here for a copy of the presentation

The conference took place in San Diego, CA, a city that boasts the beautiful Balboa Park which includes the Centro Cultural de la Raza

Centro Cultural de la Raza

And, rumor has it that we may not need to wait another 5 years until the next conference; there may be one in 2017 which means another opportunity for the OMA to share its work!

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Minorities in the Barometer, the 1980s

 

Back in 2012 the OMA began a project to search through The Daily Barometer (day-by-day) to find as many minority issues/multicultural related articles as possible, scan them, and make them available online. We started with the 1970s, completed the 1960s in April of 2013, and now the 1980s are complete!

Minorities in the Barometer Online Collection

The Daily Barometer, OSU’s student newspaper is a fantastic source of information regarding special events and campus controversies as well as a great way to get a sense of the general atmosphere on campus from the student perspective. The archives has copies of the Barometer dating back to the early 1900s both in print, in large bound editions, as well as on microfilm, which can be viewed via specialized equipment.

This project will continue, decade by decade, and we will be sure to post about it when we make another decade worth of articles available!

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Celebrate Women’s Herstory Month ~ The OSU Women’s Center

Women’s Center Display

Join the OMA and the OSU Women’s Center in celebrating Women’s Herstory Month and International Women’s Day 2015! This year, the Women’s center has great programming planned and student staff members, Kali Mickelson and Nicthe Verdugo, curated a display for the library showcasing the mission and services the center has to offer. Come see the display in person at the Valley Library and check out photos of the items featured through the 2015 Digital Display in Flickr

Display Information:
When: March-April 2015
Where: Main Floor, OSU Valley Library, Display Case to the left of the Main Entrance 
Who: Display curated by Kali Mickelson and Nicthe Verdugo, Women’s Center student staff

Also, Be sure to check out our previous heritage month displays…

Oregon Multicultural Archives Heritage Month Displays

Display Digital Collections in Flickr

 And, if you what to learn more about the history of the Women’s Center, check out the Women’s Center Records, 1971-2011 (RG 243)!

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Oregon’s Black History ~ Authors Forum

As part of Black History Month the Oregon Black Pioneers hosted a authors forum featuring five scholars who have written books about the histories of African Americans in Oregon. The authors shared information about their research, answered audience questions, and made their books available for purchase. All of the authors commented on these five books being written within the last few years and noted the significance of archives and libraries in their facilitating their research process!

The 5 Authors and Books Featured Were:

  • Red, White, and Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo by Rick Steber
  • Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory by Gregory Nokes
  • A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick
  • Images of America: African Americans of Portland by Kimberly Moreland
  • Perseverance: A History of African Americans in Oregon’s Marion and Polk Counties by Gwen Carr

Be sure to check these out and learn about Oregon’s diverse history!

Authors (left to right): Rick Steber, Gregory Nokes, Jane Kirkpatrick, Kimberly Moreland, & Gwen Carr with Willie Richardson (standing)
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Obo Addy Legacy Project Panel Discussion and Concert

This week the OMA collaborated with OSU’s Lonnie B Harris Black Cultural Center to host the Obo Addy Legacy Project for a panel discussion and concert. Needless to say, both events were informative and incredibly fun!

International Panel Discussion

The panel discussion on the 17th showcased storytelling, dancing, and drumming. The panelists included: Yingwana Khosa, who spoke about his life in South Africa; Alex Addy, who share his Ghanaian experiences; Kenel Pierre, who discussed his childhood in Haiti; and Prudence Eca-Mizose, who expressed his thoughts on his home country of Congo. Special features included Khosa performing the Gum Boot and Toyi dances, and Addy demonstrating the kpanlogo drum. Susan Addy & Michael Sweeney of the Obo Addy Legacy Project introduced and facilitated the discussion.

Kenel Pierre, Yingwana Khosa, Michael Sweeney, Susan Addy, Prudence Eca-Mizose, & Alex Addy

Cross Cultural Rhythms Concert

Two days later, on February 19th, the OALP group Okropong performed an incredibly dynamic concert featuring Ghanaian music and dance!

Okropong Concert in the MU Lounge

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Okropong Dancers

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Okropong Concert

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Okropong Dancers

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Okropong Concert

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Okropong Concert

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