view of hallway in art building

Photo courtesy of Evan Prunty

From left to right: Annie Krol of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Abby Hanley of the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center, Molly Marvar of Proclaim Your A, Dr. Elizabeth Bly from CSU Women's studies and Maria Miranda of New Voices Cleveland speak at a panel on Oct. 8.


October 26, 2015

Feminist panel reviews issues that affect students

By Carissa Woytach

The Student Feminist Coalition (SFC) and Cleveland State Unite for Gender Reproductive Equality (CSURGE), both relatively new feminist organizations on campus, invited various panelists from local organizations to speak on women’s issues Thursday, Oct. 8 in the Main Classroom Auditorium.

The event was organized and hosted by Marissa Pappas, president of CSURGE, and Zoe Jones, SFC president.

This was the first event for CSURGE and included representatives from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center, Proclaim Your A, New Voices Cleveland and the Cleveland State Women’s Studies department.

Panelists spoke about their work in promoting reproductive rights, specifically abortion and the legislation against it.

Most of their organizations work to promote legislation to provide access to women’s health clinics and contraceptives as well as create safe for victims of violence against women.

Topics included the feminist movement and how it has changed, abortion rights and intersectional feminism.

The impact of mainstream media — including Hollywood and music industries — was also discussed.

“I try not to critique people who call themselves feminists and even when I do, I question their activities [and] their endgame objectives,” Maria Miranda, director of development at New Voices Cleveland, said.

Miranda continued, stating that an activist should strive to create change and dismantle the current patriarchal system rather than make friends within it.

Panelists also spoke about their individual stories, including how they became reproductive rights advocates.

Molly Marvar, founder of Proclaim Your A, spoke about her own experience with having an abortion after coming from a strict Catholic family and later on finding support through social media.

“I was raised strict Catholic. This [was] not something that you discuss at the dinner table, much less a public forum,” Marvar said. “So [my] decision to join in this conversation on a social media level was overwhelming, and freeing and relieving all at the same time.”

Later the panel moved to discussing how race was integrated into feminism.

Miranda addressed her role in society as a woman of color and how it factored into her feminism.

She brought the discussion full circle by including intersectional activism, which includes how racism, classism and other outside forms of oppression or social injustice tie into the feminist movement.

“It’s stressful to be black in America. It’s stressful to be a woman in this society, because people hate you,” Miranda said. “Part of that hatred can’t be changed but what you can do is establish dignity of yourself and other people.”

To watch a video of the full panel discussion, visit CSURGE’s Facebook page.

Return to The Cleveland Stater Home Page.


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