Ohio University Women’s Center is preparing for a personal school year of events. In search of opportunities to get involved and educate yourself, the women’s center has published its calendar with this autumn’s events.
The SayHerName events are very important and will continue this year. The birth of the SayHerName events came after a meeting related to the Department of Diversity and Inclusion in response to the murder of Breonna Taylor. The women’s center has been working with other organizations, individuals and groups for a number of years to support SayHerName programming.
Geneva Murray, director of the OU Women’s Center, has worked with others to ensure that SayHerName events, designed to provide space to speak confidently on current and past topics, can be as impactful as possible.
“SayHerName events existed as a movement,” said Murray. “When we talk about police violence against black communities, we usually don’t always think of the black women who were killed by the police. It’s about making sure we reinforce their voices and names too, so it’s not in competition with Black Lives Matter, it’s an addition.
Murray said the reason for the events was to keep the increased conversation going for Black Lives Matter and SayHerName and to keep them from losing steam.
“We want there to be a conscious, action-oriented process for the remaining problems that are still very much in place,” said Murray.
The SayHerName events are designed not only to talk about police brutality, but also to highlight and commemorate the death rate of black women, especially black women, in the United States and more.
Diversity and Inclusion Psychologist Kristyn Neckles said the SayHerName events provide a space for bold, difficult conversations about race and the struggle of black women in relation to police brutality and all that exists in it.
“It provides a space to gain context from other people’s experiences,” said Neckles. “It is the impact, especially for women of color like me, to discuss the impact and see the inequalities and injustices.”
Neckles said the room provides a way to deal with this and gain perspective after seeing the news or experiencing something that causes distress. It is a way for those who are passionate to share and collect thoughts with others who are passionate.
The topics of the events are based on what is happening in the present and what the students consider necessary.
Three SayHerName events are planned for this fall. One was held on September 7th, when the focus was on realizing student needs, preparing for the school year, and thinking about the time.
The next event will take place on October 12th from 12pm to 1pm in Baker University Center room 403 or virtually. This session involves writing letters to women in prison and can focus on discussing interpersonal violence and drug use.
On November 9th, 12 noon to 1 p.m., in bakery room 403 or virtually, the meeting revolves around the needs and wishes of the participants. These events are very much about the participants and their needs. Everyone should be recognized what they have to tell or reflect on.
For some, such as Nadia Niamke, a psychology junior, these events have become an important way to share experiences and be with others who may be going through the same or something similar.
“I’m a black woman, so they talk about things that I understand and that I can relate to,” said Niamke. “It’s good to see that other people are interested, committed and want to learn more so that they can participate more in the understanding.”
Niamke thinks it is important to have these conversations and become aware, because understanding is difficult if you have not experienced the problems yourself.
Murray said it was important to be an ally and a co-conspirator. Murray encourages those who should watch a video linked on the women’s center website on how to be an ally and co-conspirator before attending the events. People are encouraged to come with an open mind and preparation to explore topics that may not have been discussed previously.
“SayHerName programs are for everyone,” said Murray. “We can also think: ‘What can I do as an individual now?’ and these changes, which we can make much earlier, and there is room for everyone. “