Thank you, 2019-2020 Executive Board!
Following the 2020-2021 EBoard elections, we want to take a moment to send a big thank you to our prior Executive Board members.
First, we want to thank our Past President who has led our group for two years and developed our advocacy committee, and served as its inaugural chair. Her leadership has grown GWiSE’s visibility and respect throughout the university, including faculty, staff, and students. Her friendship has fostered a welcoming atmosphere within the Executive Board and continued to grow GWiSE’s role in student life. She is continuing to serve graduate women in STEM on the executive board of New England GWiSE (a consortium of GWiSE groups in New England) while finishing up her Ph.D. Thank you for your enduring commitment to making GWiSE as great as it can be!
Elena Gonzalez Sosto has served as our Media and Communications Chair as well as our Treasurer, two roles key to GWiSE’s success. As Media Chair, she managed communication with GWiSE members with effective advertising that helped make our events a success! As Treasurer, she managed GWiSE’s finances and helped us secure $3,600 in funding for our group’s events. In these roles, Elena provided critical support to GWiSE’s events for the last two years. We want to congratulate Elena on finishing her Master’s in Engineering and Public Policy. Check out her new blog, The Green Tica!
Katie Vilardi, a Ph.D. student in Civil and Environmental Engineering, has served as the GWiSE Vice President and Co-President. Katie’s inclusive leadership has helped to grow GWiSE and support Executive Board members as we plan events. She was particularly instrumental in managing logistics for several of our Resume Lightning Round events, which bring local professionals to campus to meet our members and review their resumes. She also leads the NU student group Students of Environmental and Water Resources Engineering, Research & Sustainability (SEWERS).
Chinenye Tassie, a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering, served as the Community committee co-chair, she organized community-building events and helped shape how GWiSE creates and retains our community. Chinenye brought a fresh perspective to our community hours to improve attendance and foster engagement by refocusing them around fun themes and activities.
Emily Day joined the Executive Board to help organize and run events. She organized the summer 2020 Book Club along with Jordie Kamuene, discussing The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The book club helped us gain momentum with virtual events, and thoughtfully consider the influence of our decisions as scientists and engineers. Emily graduated with her Master’s in Civil Engineering with a Concentration in Water, Environmental, and Coastal Systems and is starting a position as a Coastal Engineer at Woods Hole Group, Inc.
Thank you all for your contributions and commitment to GWiSE and to those who are graduating, we look forward to engaging with you as an alumna!
All the best,
We hope you have found time and space to celebrate and support one another.
On June 15th the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination based on sex. While we recognize that this ruling should have happened long ago, and more is needed to achieve equity for all people, we want to recognize and celebrate this crucial step. This is particularly momentous given the current context of American politics.
As we celebrate Pride month and support the Black Lives Matter movement, it is critical that we remember the leadership and efforts of the Black queer and transgender community.
Life is particularly difficult for Black transgender people. For example, they experience disproportionately high rates of experience homelessness, poverty, assault, and erasure from history. Meanwhile, the very concept of Pride Month is inextricably linked to the Stonewall riots of June 1969, and the work done by numerous transgender women of color, namely Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. These protests, which began in response to police brutality and the use of excessive force against the LGBTQ+ community in Manhattan, led to the gay liberation movement and brought it to national attention in the United States. While Marsha and Sylvia were among the first to show support for their community in the wake of the protests, they were also dedicated to fighting the marginalization of trans people of color within the queer community. Together they founded STAR, opened the first homeless shelter for LGBT youth (the first in the country at the time), got heavily involved in city policy, and of course, participated in protests and Pride. Despite the efforts made by Marsha, Sylvia, and their fellow transwomen of color, their contributions to the modern Pride movement and the LGBTQ+ community are relatively unknown.
Learn more about Black and other transwomen of color activists, including Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera…
And while New York City is erecting a statue in their honor, these statues are only meaningful if we recognize their faces, know their stories, and understand why they are being memorialized. So, learn more about Marsha here and here! Explore Sylvia’s legacy here and listen to an interview with her here!
…and Reverend Irene Monroe…
We also want to highlight prominent local black LGBTQ+ activists such as Reverend Irene Monroe, who was also at the Stonewall riots. She explores the intersection of religion, LGBTQ+ people and discrimination in a lively, vivid WGBH podcast called All Rev’d Up. Give it a listen here! Her work has been recognized by Oprah, The United Nations International School and Harvard University (the last for being a great teaching fellow- something all of us can aspire to as TAs).
…and Black queer activists Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza.
Two of the three co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza are Black queer women. Along with Opal Tometi, the Black Lives Matter co-founders have impressive experience in activism and movement building. They have brought national attention to many issues that disproportionately affect Black and queer communities, including state-sanctioned violence, racial injustice and oppression, mass incarceration, and more. Learn about their backgrounds and important contributions, and the Black Lives Matter movement, in the links above!
Join GWiSE for upcoming events and discussions.
We are committed to working toward tangible improvements in the representation and advancement of all women in STEM. In order to achieve this, we must support underrepresented communities of all genders. As a first step, we have provided resources below to help all of us learn more and identify ways to get involved and support the local LGTBQA+ community. Join us tomorrow evening at 6 pm Eastern for The 2020 State of QTPOC Affairs — a forum that addresses LGBTQIA+ POC inequities (on Zoom).
We look forward to continuing our work with you to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.
The GWiSE EBoard
- Serious Trans Vibes is a hilarious webcomic that follows the adventures of Stéphie and Ciel, two queer and transgender teenagers, as they find pride and empowerment in their daily lives. If you want to learn more about what it means to be transgender, here’s a place to start!
- Trans 101 – The Basics – video from Minus 18
- Transgender Basics – video from The Gender Identity Project, by LGBT Center NYC
- Understanding the Transgender Community – information from the Human Rights Campaign
- “Ask me”: What LGBTQ Students Want their Professors to Know – video from The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2020 – article from the Human Rights Campaign
- Some Very Basic Tips for Making Higher Education More Accessible for Trans Students – an article by Dan Spade
- Human Sexuality is complicated – a video by the vlogbrothers
- The Library of Congress has compiled a collection of “books, posters, sound recordings, manuscripts and other material produced by, about and for the LGBTQ community”
- Celebrate #PrideInside with resources developed by the Human Resources Campaign, including Pride inspired music playlists, Pride inspired recipes and beverages, and Pride inspired Zoom backgrounds and many more!
- Netflix has complied a collection of shows and documentaries to celebrate Pride month. We strongly recommend Disclosure!
- Education and Training resources from the NU LGBTQA+ Resources Center
Get Involved in the Boston Area and Massachusetts:
- There are many opportunities to get involved and volunteer with BAGLY: the Boston Alliance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Queer Youth.
- If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and interested in volunteering just a little time each day to help out fellow community members looking for a shoulder to lean on, you can participate in the peer LGBTQ+ Listening Line with Fenway Health!
- If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and have a bit more extra time to volunteer, you can participate in the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS) program in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline. You do not need to be Jewish to get involved, just passionate about helping younger LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Find even more opportunities to volunteer within the Massachusetts LGBTQ+ community.
BLACK LIVES MATTER. WE MUST END RACISM.
We condemn all acts of racism, including silence. Racism is not a political issue; it is a humanitarian one. Therefore, to stand against racism, we must break the silence.
We call on Northeastern University to release a specific plan of action to address systemic racism and its impacts on the education and well-being of Black students, faculty, and staff in our community.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community at Northeastern University and beyond. Please know that you will always have a home in GWiSE. To those protesting police brutality and systemic racism, we support you. Please take care of yourselves and others.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is and has been dominated by white faces and voices. Black scientists and engineers, are subjected to racial bias and microaggressions while conducting research in the lab and field, teaching and learning in classrooms, and their day-to-day life. Our GWiSE community can and must stand up and speak out when we see racial injustice impacting our peers in the STEM community or the Black community at large.
The conversations and actions we will need to take to dismantle systemic racism might be uncomfortable and unfamiliar. But, they are essential. The GWiSE EBoard is committed to amplifying Black voices, taking time for reflection, and improving our role as active allies to the Black community. Our next message will include resources for further learning on anti-racism and active allyship in support of Black Lives Matter. We are looking forward to maintaining this on-going, long-term commitment.
June is Pride month. We also want to acknowledge and uplift the critical efforts of the Black queer community in advancing both LGBTQ+ rights and racial justice.
The GWiSE EBoard