UG gender institute, talk show partner to create space for campus-based activism

A partnership between the Gender Studies Institute of the University of Guyana (UG) and social media talk show Women’s Wednesdays will see the creation of a space for campus and community activism on issues of race, class, gender and sexuality.

Akola Thompson, founder of Women’s Wednesdays, a live Facebook talk show, explained that the partnership, which came into being in March, 2018, will focus on the creation of a space for campus and community activism.

Coming out of this partnership are proposed monthly campus conversations or community groundings, which Thompson emphasised are being conducted in an effort to ensure that messages are delivered to those on the ground.

This, she said, is aimed at connecting a wide and diverse audience within the spaces often most accessible to them.

In addition, Thompson said it would help to combat the sense of isolation that women and girls often feel, especially in relation to issues of abuse, lack of information about their bodies/sexual issues and health.

Sharing a bit about Women’s Wednesdays, she described the forum as one that is 

committed to women’s empowerment and development.

“Women’s Wednesdays Guyana is aimed towards bridging the gaps between race, class, gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on the Guyanese experience. We are a women’s group but we recognise that one cannot speak about women if we do not also speak about the differences that affect them. If you’re not dealing with class, you’re ignoring poor people. If you’re not dealing with race, you’re ignoring black/brown people. If you’re not dealing with imperialism, you’re ignoring the thing that serves to disempower all of us regardless of differences,” Thompson said. 

This however, cannot be done without partnerships, as she believes, “We have a deeply individualistic culture in which everyone attempts to do everything themselves and while this is their choice, we have to examine how this can be dangerous and counter-productive to movement building. It makes no sense to have several different factions all working on the same thing with no sort of cohesive plan amongst us. Numbers and concerted effort is what gets the work done. We have to be careful not to fall in a trend of the “Spectacular individual,” where we promote the individual and ignore community partnerships,” Thompson stated.

“So, through conversations and concerted community activism, we try to bridge these gaps. These conversations take different forms from our monthly Facebook live show, Women in View articles, Channel 9 co-hosting, and our now launched partnership with the Institute of Gender Studies. These are all done in an effort to expand the voice of women, children, LGBT and other marginalised communities… and to help combat the sense of isolation that women and girls often have, especially in relation to issues of abuse, lack of information about their bodies/sexual issues and health. In a nutshell, we are anti-oppression and pro-equality and actively seeking the ways in which we can do our part in the achievement of a safer, equitable and just society for all,” she added.

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