Crossing the Next Bridge was a retreat, organized by Vic Muñoz who is a professor of Psychology and the coordinator of First Nation Indigenous studies at Wells College. The goal of the retreat was to bring alums, educators, faculty and students together to plan the next steps for the Women and Gender Studies program and department. This department has given Wells a space in the classroom dedicated to discussing and learning the truths of the individuals on the margins. Women and Gender Studies creates a model for activism and social justice. Whether it is for women, POC, black lives, Indigenous rights, accessibility or mental health awareness, WGS dedicates its energy to justice, equality, resistance and love.
It was important to have this retreat in order to confirm the department’s persistence, strength and passion for WGS classes and major. This is a major that is interdisciplinary, in other words, is relevant and can be connected to the majority of other departments. WGS produces methodologies, theories and experiences that highlight lives in the world that have been silenced, oppressed, discriminated against or systematically disadvantaged. Wells College WGS majors have 100% retention rates and employment rates. Alums continue to be involved and care about the program. Reorganizing, reaffirming and collectively getting together to action plan for the future WGS department is a powerful act. This is what the department teaches you? to do; educate to create action, collaboration and transformation.
I wanted to highlight the dedication and different hands that went into making this retreat happen. Guest speakers included Freida Jacques (Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation), Jamila Walida Simon and Laura Nayibi Arias. These workshops helped get everyone to think critically and deeply about leadership, responsibility and activism in relation to WGS at Wells College. There was a chance for brainstorming and then finally putting our minds together to create a plan of action for the program’s future.
Here are some photos from the day, that include brainstorming, collaboration, discussion, listening and planning.
In the future…
“WGS is primary,”
“WGS is vital.”
“La luche para los deroches de la mujer y todas los genenos vive en WGS!”
“Every Wells Student engages with WGS.”
“Help the WRC relocate to an accessible space on campus.”
“Broad faculty support of WGS, & collaboration.”