Schedule - all times central
1:00 Gather & Land Acknowledgment
1:15 Opening Remarks
Introduction by: Njoki Kamau
1:40 Plenary Conversation
Led by: Eliza Gonring
Introduction by: Melisa Stephen
3:00 Panel Discussion
Sarah Peko Spicer
Moderated by: Aaliyah Berryman & Sarah Brown
Introduction by: Cailtin McGlone & Andrene Wright
Speakers (In order of appearance)
Welcome. Northwestern Undergraduate & WC Research Assistant.
she / her
Isabelle is a fourth year at Northwestern studying social policy and religious studies. She joined the Women’s Center in the fall of 2020 as a research assistant. Isabelle’s passion for intersectional research and policymaking has led to her to multiple research assistantships at Northwestern, including the Institute for Policy Research and Religious Studies departments, as well as policy internships at Kids First Chicago and Women4Change Indiana. She is a member of Political Union and Camp Kesem at Northwestern and spends her free time caring for her many houseplants.
Welcome & Panel Moderator. Women's Center Program Manager
Sarah Brown is the Program Manager for Northwestern’s Women Centers on both campuses. In this role she organizes events and services that range from intimate peer support groups to an Annual Women’s History Month Symposium. The Women’s Center supports all those affected by gender oppression within Northwestern’s staff, faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. Sarah also lectures in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, offering courses such as Depression and Its Discontents and a forthcoming participatory course on feminist activism in Chicago. She joined Northwestern in July of 2019 upon completion of her doctorate in American Studies from Brown University where she researched the conflicting narratives of emotional life and mental health in pop culture, literature, film, and the behavioral sciences between 1968 and 1995 and worked at the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender.
Introduction to Opening Remarks. Associate Director, Women's Center.
Njoki Kamau joined the Women’s Center at Northwestern University in September 1991 as the Associate Director. She previously served as the Director of the Evanston/North Shore YWCA’s Domestic Violence Services program.
Njoki earned her MBA from Southern Methodist University, and she holds a Master’s in international management from the American Graduate School of International Management (AGSIM). She attended Nairobi University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in business administration. In 2007, Njoki was honored by Mayor Richard Daley as the recipient of the Chicago Distinguished Immigrant Award. Also in 2007, Njoki received the Greg Kindle Ally Award by the Northwestern University LGBT Resource Center. She has also been honored by the Organization of Women Faculty for her contributions to women at Northwestern.
Her article, “From Kenya to North America: One Woman’s Journey,” was published in Issue: A Journal of Opinion in 1996 and has been reprinted in No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000. A life-long community activist, Njoki works regularly with United to End Racism and other social justice organizations.
Opening Remarks. Director of Northwestern Women's Center
Sekile Nzinga, PhD, MSW received her PhD from the University of Maryland in Human Development (2001), her Masters of Social Work from Ohio State University (1994), and her Bachelor's of Science in Social Work from Morgan State University (1993).
Nzinga previously was a tenured Associate Professor of Social Work and is the founding director of Nazareth College’s Women and Gender Studies Bachelor of Arts program. Her scholarship and prior teaching have centered on the intersections of race, class, and gender in reproduction and parenting; critical feminist university studies; and child welfare & family policy. She is the editor of Laboring Positions: Black Women, Mothering and the Academy (Demeter, 2013) and author of Lean Semesters: How Higher Education Reproduces Inequity (Johns Hopkins, 2020).
In addition to her academic career, Nzinga's social work practice and community engaged work have focused on Black women’s and girls’ health and mental health, reproductive justice, healing from sexual trauma, program development & evaluation, and intersectional feminist leadership. She also serves as a board member for the Chicago Abortion Fund and is a member of the Illinois’ statewide Women’s Justice Taskforce.
Introduction to Plenary. Program Coordinator, Women's Center
melisa is a Weinberg alum who majored in Gender and Sexuality Studies. They were a member of SHAPE as well as an organizer of NU Divest and Sex Week during their time as an undergraduate student. melisa has returned to Northwestern as a staff member after working as a community organizer with a focus on gender and racial justice.
melisa is passionate about transformative justice and the abolition of police and prisons. They have worked to build social justice movement spaces that are more trans-centered and that uplift the leadership of Black and brown youth in Chicago. melisa is a founding member of For the People Artists Collective and is a core organizer of the Chicago Dyke March. Their work in community has received recognition such as the Grassroots Collaborative's Bold Campaign award (#NoCopAcademy), the Crossroads Fund's Ron Sable Award for Activism, and Chicago Freedom School's Champion of Justice award.
Eliza is a student organizer with NU Community Not Cops, an abolitionist campaign to abolish NUPD and redirect the fund towards life affirming structures. Outside of campus organizing she does inside-outside organizing with prisoners and works on various forms of prisoner support and community building.
Plenary Moderator. Northwestern Student.
she / her
Kelly Hayes is a direct action trainer and a co-founder of the Lifted Voices collective and the Chicago Light Brigade. She is also the host of the Truthout podcast Movement Memos. Kelly’s written work can be found in Truthout, Teen Vogue, Bustle, Yes! Magazine, Pacific Standard, NBC Think, her blog Transformative Spaces, The Appeal, and multiple anthologies, including Truthout's Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Kelly also co-authored two essays with Mariame Kaba which are featured in Kaba's new book, "We Do This Til We Free Us." Kelly was honored for her organizing and education work in 2014 with the Solidarity to Celebrate award in Chicago, and in 2018 with the Chicago Freedom School's Champions of Justice Award. Kelly's movement photography is featured in the “Freedom and Resistance” exhibit of the DuSable Museum of African American History. In her online projects, Kelly has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years to support various forms of mutual aid and community care, and helped to launch coordinated mutual aid efforts in Chicago at the onset of the pandemic. Kelly has also been involved with numerous defense committees, including the campaign to free Bresha Meadows, and has organized fundraisers that have helped secure the release of incarcerated people, including #FreedomDay, a Twitter fundraiser that freed 22 people from immigration detention in the summer of 2019.
Plenary Speaker. Organizer. Writer
Dean Spade has been working to build queer and trans liberation based in racial and economic justice for the past two decades. He’s the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law, the director of the documentary “Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!,” and the creator of the mutual aid toolkit at BigDoorBrigade.com. His latest book, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), was published by Verso Press in October 2020.
Plenary Speaker. Associate Professor, Seattle University School of Law
Andrene Wright is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University, specializing in American politics, specifically, urban politics and political behavior at the intersection of race, gender, and class. As a scholar, Andrene is committed to espousing the voices of Black women through the production of academic work and especially through meaningful engagement within marginalized communities. At Northwestern, she also serves as a Buffet Institute fellow working with the Women’s center and a fellow for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Panelist Introductions. PhD Candidate, Graduate Fellow.
Caitlin McGlone is a Masters of Social Work student at Jane Addams College of Social Work at UIC and will be graduating in May. She is very fortunate to be interning at the Northwestern Women’s Center this year. The majority of her work is in survivor led sexual assault services, domestic and intimate partner violence, and LGBTQIA+ focused services within these arenas. She also loves plants. A lot.
Panelists Introductions. MSW Intern at the Women's Center
she / her
Panel Moderator. Northwestern Undergraduate Student.
Aaliyah Berryman is a third year student at Northwestern University studying Sociology and International Studies. She joined the Women’s Center during the Fall of 2018 as a work study student, and has been excited to return to the Center ever since. Additionally, she is involved as a Compass mentor for first year fgli students at Northwestern, and engaged with education in Chicago through her work with Neighbor2Neighbor and Supplies for Dreams. Her scholarly interests include Black transnationalism and the way that the perception of Blackness transforms along and across boundaries and borders. Specifically, her research hopes to bridge the understanding of the ways state violence affects Black communities and their struggle for liberation.
Atena O. Danner is a Black, queer creative, parent, educator, and organizer. She has facilitated learning for children and adults in classrooms, workshops, peer learning communities, and occasionally in the streets. Atena works professionally as a literacy learning facilitator; as an activist and organizer within the Lifted Voices and Team Sankofa collectives, she supports care and defense of Black and Brown women and femmes, as well as communal and spiritual connection for Black people’s liberation. She is an enemy of oppressive learning spaces, and is motivated by love for her people. Her core values are authenticity, creativity, and justice.
Panelist. Activist, Organizer, Literacy Learning Facilitator
Emma Yarger is a sophomore journalism major from St. Louis Park, Minnesota. She organizes with Fossil Free Northwestern and Students Organizing for Labor Rights (SOLR). Additionally she works as a Peer Inclusion Educator where she facilitates workshops on justice and equity for student groups on campus.
Panelist. Northwestern Undergraduate Student.
she / they
Erykah Nava is in her fifth year at Northwestern. She is a parent and organizer. She is part of Students Organized for Labor Rights and Dissenters at NU. Her work has mainly centered healthier parenting,mutual aid, supporting workers, and the abolition of policing and militarism. She hopes to continue growing as an abolitionist and becoming more involved in community building/healing.
Panelist. Northwestern Undergraduate Student
Sarah is a PhD candidate at Northwestern University in the Department of Statistics. She is a proud member of Northwestern University Graduate Workers (NUGW), an antiracist, feminist labor union fighting for better working and living conditions for all graduate workers. She organizes with NU Community Not Cops, a campaign to abolish NUPD and redirect funds towards life-affirming structures. She also organizes with CoalitionNU, a coalition of underrepresented and underserved graduate workers demanding material support from Northwestern University and The Graduate School. She envisions a learning community where Black people are given the space and resources to do more than survive and is committed to making that a reality.
Panelist. Doctoral Candidate
she / her
Paola Zamperini (she/they) has a Ph.D. in Chinese Literature and Women and Gender Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She came to Northwestern University in Summer 2013 as the founding chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at NU and Associate Professor of Chinese Literature, after a decade at Amherst College. She has been part of the GSS advisory board since 2014, and, as of Fall 2019, she began her duties as director of Graduate Studies for the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program, and in this role she serves on the GSS executive committee and its advisory board, leads the GSS graduate colloquium, and advises students in the GSS cluster and certificate program. Gender and sexuality studies are an integral part not only of Zamperini’s training and research, but also of her pedagogy, and she has consistently divided her teaching at Northwestern between Asian Languages and Cultures, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her pedagogical mission is to create learning environments imprinted by the methodologies and approaches of intersectional feminism and queer theory, whilst preserving and deepening engagement with Chinese and East Asian cultural traditions, past and present.
Closing Statement. Professor of Chinese Literature & Gender & Sexuality Studies
she / they
Artist & Organizer
All of the artwork for our annual theme on Mutual Aid & Community Engagement is original work, created for the Women's Center by Asha Edwards.
Asha A Edwards is currently an undergraduate student attending UIC. She's an virtual artist and community organizer. Asha engages in community-organizing, abolitionist rooted campaigns, and mutual aid as a member of a community-based grassroots organization in Chicago.
She hopes to help establish community gardens as well as free, sustainable, and Earth-based housing on the South Side of Chicago as part of the struggle for Black self determination, indigenous sovereignty, and the eradication of global oppression.