When prospective students go on tours of the College of William and Mary, their tour guides tend to boast about our hundreds of student-run organizations. If there isn’t a club on campus that matches up with your interests, you can start one. After the outcome of the presidential election, Mari Nemec and I sought out a bipartisan feminist organization that we could be part of to stay engaged in politics and get involved in activism. We discovered that there used to be a branch of the National Organization for Women on campus that had since dissolved, so we decided to revive it. Now, three months later, William and Mary recognizes our branch of NOW as a new student-run organization on campus, and we have lots of plans.
Founded in 1966, the national organization focuses on women’s issues and promoting activism for the equal rights of women. This grassroots movement that has spread across the United States concentrates on six core intersectional issues: reproductive rights, ending violence against women, economic justice, LGBTQ rights, racial justice and constitutional equality. More than that, the organization looks at all issues as women’s issues because any given issue, whether it be the economy or the environment, is a woman’s issue.
As a campus branch, we are working to become a bipartisan activist group that has a broad focus on women’s issues.
As a campus branch, we are working to become a bipartisan activist group (though many issues we focus on tend to lean in a liberal direction) that has a broad focus on women’s issues. We plan to educate ourselves on specific legislation, not just on the national level, but on a local and state level, so that we can stay engaged and keep the campus community at large educated. We recognize that the first step to staying active and getting involved is to know what’s going on. We also aim to promote women’s involvement in government. The most direct way for women’s interests to be protected is to have women protecting them.
As the newest activist group coming to campus, we hope to partner with other groups, like the Young Democrats and VOX, on projects like calling and writing letters to our representatives. Some of our other concrete plans include talkbacks, fundraising for organizations like Emily’s List and Avalon and putting on events to inform the campus community about candidates in the 2017 and 2018 elections and their views on women’s issues. With lots of elections coming up for Virginia representatives in the midterm elections, we will emphasize the importance of voting.
In a time when people appear to be turning away from politics in the news and in our larger communities because of their dissatisfaction, young people in our country aren’t finished.
On a final note, it matters that NOW dissolved but has since returned. It’s a sign that a new wave of feminism is on the rise as people realize the many inequalities women still face, as well as the need to take action. In a time when people appear to be turning away from politics in the news and in our larger communities because of their dissatisfaction, young people in our country aren’t finished. We’re staying engaged, we’re staying involved, and we’re ready to work to make our country reflect the values we believe in.
Email Abigail Russo at [email protected].