Dr. Brittany Pearl Battle is the 2021 SWS Feminist Activism Awardee
Photo of Brittany Pearl Battle
The SWS Feminist Activism Award, established in 1995, is presented annually to an SWS member who has notably and consistently used sociology to improve conditions for women in society. The award honors outstanding feminist advocacy efforts that embody the goal of service to women and that have identifiably improved women’s lives. This year’s Feminist Activism Award Subcommittee included Karine Lepillez (Subcommittee Chair), Amy Blackstone, LaToya Council, Ophra Leyser-Whalen, and Cierra Sorin. The Subcommittee selected Brittany Pearl Battle as the SWS 2021 Feminist Activism Award Winner.
Brittany Pearl Battle is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Wake Forest University and a passionate scholar-activist. Her research interests include social and family policy, courts, social justice, carceral logics, and culture and cognition. She teaches courses on social justice in the social sciences, criminology, and courts & criminal procedure, and is currently designing a course on abolition and reimagining justice. Brittany’s scholarship has been funded by the Ford Foundation, American Sociological Association, and Sociologists for Women in Society, and she recently won the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice Praxis Award.
She is currently working on a book manuscript (under contract with NYU Press), “They’re Stealing My Opportunity to Be a Father:” The Child Support System and State Intervention in the Family, which examines the experiences of parents involved in the child support system using courtroom observations and interviews. The project illuminates the ways that the child support system functions as a neoliberal construct at the intersection of the welfare and criminal justice systems. Brittany is currently collaborating on a research project examining evictions in North Carolina, in a partnership with a local grassroots organization focused on housing justice. She is also working on an interview project with activists examining the pathways to abolition. Her activism as a founding member of Triad Abolition Project in North Carolina included organizing a 49-day occupation during the summer of 2020 to demand policy changes in response to the murder of John Neville in the local jail. The organization also hosts direct protest actions, civic engagement actions, and community political education sessions.
Brittany is also a founding Board of Directors member of the Ocean City Juneteenth Organization, which honors Black elders and ancestors in her hometown, and began a donation drive to the local Coalition Against Rape and Abuse in the name of a Black woman community member murdered in an act of domestic violence. She has been recognized with a New Jersey Legislature Senate and General Assembly Citation for her work with the Ocean City Juneteenth Organization, as well as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Award from the City of Ocean City, New Jersey. Brittany regularly appears in local news media and engages in public scholarship on podcasts and community panels, and through her blog on her experiences as a Black woman on the tenure track.
Her work stands out for its timeliness, intensity, and the clear results and impact they have had in a short time on the lives of colleagues, students, and members of her community. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Brittany founded the Triad Abolition Project, mobilizing the organization for Occupy Winston Salem. Brittany worked with other organizers to put forth a set of demands to local government; they held educational events, community dinners, vigils, marches, and other actions that resulted in policy change at the county level. The county committed to notifying the public when an inmate dies in police custody and banned the use of “hogtie” restraints, among other changes. Brittany’s activism is also visible in her mentoring, particularly of first-generation, Black, and POC students. Noting her dedication and intersectional feminist work on issues of racial justice in her community and the demonstration of her exceptional commitment to intersectional feminist activism within her community, SWS is awarding Brittany Pearl Battle the SWS 2021 Feminist Activism Award.
Brittany’s nomination was submitted by Amanda M. Gengler, Andrea Gómez Cervantes, Victoria Reyes, Antonia Randolph, Bruce Jackson, Zawadi Rucks Ahidiana, and LaTonya J. Trotter. In her nomination package, it stated: “In the classroom, Dr. Battle also utilizes her scholar-activist framework to teach sociology and empower her students to work towards social change. In only her second year at Wake Forest, Dr. Battle has already created and taught four different classes, all utilizing a Black feminist framework to understand sociology. This is perhaps most visible in her Social Justice class, where she teaches students to question knowledge and power production in the pursuit of “justice.” Nonetheless, her most transformational acts of scholar-activism reveal themselves in the Teach-ins she organized during the Occupy Winston Salem work described earlier. Whether it was gathering on the sidewalk pavement in front of the local detention center, or sitting in a circle at a park, Dr. Battle broke the walls of the ivory tower bringing academia into the streets. With weekly, sometimes daily teach-ins, Dr. Battle brought together scholars, community organizations, and community members to talk about structural and local issues, on topics ranging from abolition to housing; the criminalization of Black youth, to immigration detention, and much more.”
Here is the direct link to share this news: https://socwomen.org/congratulations-to-dr-brittany-pearl-battle-the-2021-sws-feminist-activism-award-winner/
Dr. Mary Romero is the 2021 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Awardee
The 2021 SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Award Winner is Mary Romero. Thank you to the SWS Distinguished Feminist Lecturer Subcommittee that was comprised of Kimberly Kelly (Chair), Katie Acosta and Morgan Matthews. The SWS Distinguished Feminist Lectureship was founded in 1985 as a way of recognizing members whose scholarship employs a feminist perspective, and of making this feminist scholar available to campuses that are isolated, rural, located away from major metropolitan areas, bereft of the resources needed to invite guest speakers, and/or characterized by hostility to feminist scholarship. A key goal of the program is to provide a feminist voice on campuses where such a perspective is unusual and/or unwelcome. Please note that the Lectureship originally carried the name of Cheryl Allyn Miller, but now there is a separate Cheryl Allyn Miller Award.
Mary Romero is Professor Emerita, Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. She served as the 110th President of the American Sociological Association. She is the 2017 recipient of the Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, 2015 Latina/o Sociology Section Founders Award, 2012 Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award, the Section on Race and Ethnic Minorities 2009 Founder’s Award, and the 2004 Study of Social Problems Lee Founders Award. She is the author of Introducing Intersectionality (Polity Press, 2018), The Maid’s Daughter: Inside and Outside the American Dream (NYU, 2011), Maid in the U.S.A. (NYU, 1992), co-editor of eight books, and numerous social science journals and law review articles.
As noted in her nomination materials submitted by Bandana Purkayastha, Josephine Beoku-Betts, Melanie Heath, Georgiann Davis, Shobha Hamal Gurung, Vrushali Patil, and Ranita Ray:
“Dr. Romero’s work in Maid in America and The Maid’s Daughter remains pertinent to the immigration landscape in the U.S. today. The earlier book, not surprisingly, has remained in print for over 20 years. These books tap into a key theme—the need for decent work conditions. As the number of female workers have grown in the U.S., often, women and men in upper-level white collar jobs have used the labor of poor immigrant women to manage “family responsibilities.” This story needs to be told repeatedly if we are truly striving for equity, and Professor Romero has done so with great sensitivity. Importantly, Professor Romero has produced her analysis from her location in the state of Arizona where anti-immigration politicians have created a state of fear and hate for immigrants and people of color.”
The nominators also noted: “Professor Romero’s work with faculty and graduate students of color at Arizona State University is legendary. However, we have seen her quiet activism within SWS as she supported so many junior and senior faculty by lending an ear when they needed it, including them in programs she was involved in, and travelling to their universities to give lectures to show the strength of sociologists on campuses that had very few feminist scholars.”
Here is the direct link to share this news: https://socwomen.org/maryromero2021swsfemlecturer/
Dr. Heather Laube is the 2021 SWS Feminist Mentoring Awardee
The SWS Feminist Mentoring Award was established in 1990 to honor an SWS Member who is an outstanding feminist mentor. While the word “mentoring” is commonly used to describe a faculty-student relationship, this award has shown the breadth of ways that feminists do mentoring. In establishing the award, SWS recognized that feminist mentoring is an important and concrete way to encourage feminist scholarship.
This year’s Feminist Mentoring Award Subcommittee included Corinne Castro (Subcommittee Chair,) Manisha Desai, Rebecca P, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, Bandana Purkayastha, and Ashley Kim. The Subcommittee selected Heather Laube as the SWS 2021 Feminist Mentoring Award Winner.
Heather is an associate professor of sociology and core faculty in the Women’s and Gender Studies program at the University of Michigan-Flint. She served as the UM-Flint Thompson Center for Learning and Teaching Faculty Fellow for Mentoring and continues to work with a team of people on her campus to build and strengthen mentoring programs for faculty and staff. In 2015, she taught and researched at Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria, as a Fulbright scholar. Heather has long been interested in how feminist academics find ways to remain true to their feminist ideals while also attending to the reality and goals of their professional lives. Her work explores how scholars’ feminist and sociological identities intersect with their institutional locations to offer opportunities to transform the academy. She has explored how innovative faculty mentoring programs might contribute to institutional change in higher education. Heather has served in a number of leadership roles in SWS. The organization and its members have been central to her development as a feminist sociologist, teacher, scholar, and colleague.
The nominators for Heather Laube were Jennifer Alvey, Sharon Bird, Tristan Bridges, Krista Brumley, Kris De Welde, Sasha Drummond-Lewis, Angie Hattery, and Sarah Sobieraj. In the collectively penned nomination letter, the writers enthusiastically describe how Professor Laube “takes feminist mentoring to an entirely other level.” Her work with individuals as well as organizations, such as SWS and the University of Michigan-Flint, to transform mentoring highlights Laube’s personal and scholarly commitments to this work. Speaking as her colleague at UM-Flint, Jennifer Alvey states the following: “her sustained and highly successful work revitalizing and re-envisioning the Faculty Mentor Program is a direct result of her research driven approach to identifying and solving problems, as well as to her ability to think creatively and foster the implementation of evidenced based best practices tailored to our unique circumstances. Heather’s mentoring in the department constitutes what I can only call a sea change.” The nominators also highlight Laube’s transformational work in re-envisioning the SWS Professional Needs Mentoring Program through adopting cutting edge best practices such as Mutual Mentoring models. Nominators also consider Laube a “holistic mentor” that “upends traditional expectations of mentoring as a senior-to-junior activity and instead approaches mentoring as a way of being, a way of caring, of advancing others regardless of their career stage.” Laube is also described as a “scout” for new feminist leaders on her campus and across SWS who need just a little bit of encouragement. However, the nominators make clear that “Professor Laube doesn’t just scout people. She also mentors by preparing organizations for the leadership they sometimes don’t know they need. While she is simultaneously mentoring a novice to take on their first leadership position, she is also preparing the organization for a leader who may be unconventional, someone who may not look like previous leaders, or who may work at an institution that is not typically at the table.” Sarah Sobieraj clearly conveys one of the many reasons why Heather Laube has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Feminist Mentoring Award: “Over decades of SWS summer and winter meetings, Heather has made a point of finding those who are at the literal margins — of the conversation, of the table, of the dancefloor– and working to welcome them in.”
Here is the direct link to share this news: https://socwomen.org/hlaubefemmentoringsws2021/
Congratulations to Laura Adler, the 2021 SWS Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner,
and to Sidra Kamran, the 2021 Cheryl Allyn Miller Honorable Mention Awardee!
Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) established The Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for graduate students and recent PhDs. working in the area of women and paid work: employment and self-employment, informal market work, illegal work. The award honors the late Cheryl Allyn Miller, a sociologist and feminist who studied women and paid work.
The 2021 Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Winner is Laura Adler.
(Photo of Laura Adler on Right)
Laura Adler is a PhD candidate in sociology at Harvard University, where she works on topics at the intersection of economic sociology, organizations, gender, and cultural sociology. Her dissertation, “What’s a Job Candidate Worth? Pay-Setting, Gender Inequality, and the Changing Understanding of Fair Pay,” investigates how employers set pay and how organizations respond to pay equity laws. She uses multiple methods including in-depth interviews, archival research, and survey experiments to provide insight into pay-setting as an organizational practice and site for the reproduction of inequality. In new work, she is looking at the phenomenon of retaliation, proposing that instances of discrimination and harassment are only the beginning of a longer struggle over whether, when, and how to respond to the abuse of power.
Laura is a 2020-21 American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellow. Prior to her time at Harvard, she worked as an urban planner in New York City. She holds a Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley and a BA in the Humanities from Yale University.
Laura’s article, “From the Job’s Worth to the Person’s Price: The Evolution of Pay-setting Practices since the 1950s” focuses on how the pay-setting process changed over time. She documents a major shift from the 1950s, when employers determined pay using precise measures of the internal value of each job, to today, when employers rely almost exclusively on data from the external labor market including the candidate’s own past salary, viewed as their individual market price.
Drawing on a new database of 982 pay-related articles from the Society of Human Resources Management and 75 interviews with people who set pay, she first describes these two pay-setting practices. She then provides a historical account of the shift, in which one period served as a catalyst. Between 1980 and 1985, American courts concluded that pay inequality arising in response to market conditions was not discriminatory, even if the market systematically undervalued women’s jobs. She shows that human resources practitioners strategically adopted market-based practices to reduce their legal liability. She uses the case to suggest a new pathway for the expansion of market processes: professional groups shift controversial responsibilities onto the impersonal market, using the market as a responsibility abdication machine to distance themselves from discriminatory outcomes.
(Photo of Sidra Kamran on Left)
Sidra Kamran, the 2021 Honorable Mention Awardee, is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at The New School for Social Research in New York. Her research and teaching interests include gender and sexuality, labor, economic sociology, social class, urban life, and global social theory. Her dissertation draws on interviews and ethnography in a women-only marketplace and a mixed-gender department store in Karachi to investigate why some occupations are associated with contradictory moral and economic statuses for women workers. She argues that working-class beauty and retail workers in Pakistan occupy a position of gendered status ambiguity and demonstrates how these workers leverage this ambiguity to maximize their economic and social status in different ways. Her other research uses digital ethnography and semi-structured interviews to explore emerging digital cultures among working-class women in Pakistan, with a special focus on TikTok. Her research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and The New School. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she was a Fulbright Scholar at The New School and researcher at the Collective for Social Science Research in Karachi. Sidra’s submitted article “A Patchwork of Femininities: Fluctuating Gender Performances in a Women-only Marketplace in Pakistan” is currently under revision at a peer- reviewed journal. In this article, Sidra examines gender performances in the context of social stratification and develops an account of working-class women’s gendered struggles for class distinction.
Special thanks to the Cheryl Allyn Miller Award Subcommittee Members: Tre Wentling (Chair), Suki Xiao, Rianka Roy, Sarah A. Robert, Lisa Dilks and Maria Cecilia Hwang.
Here is the link to share this news: https://socwomen.org/the-2021-cheryl-allyn-miller-award-winner-is-laura-adler-and-the-2021-honorable-mention-awardee-is-sidra-kamran//
Congratulations to the 2021 Winter SWS Social Actions Initiative Award Winners
Dr. Brittany P. Battle. Dr. Ziwei Qi. Dr. Kelly Grace.
In 2016, SWS Council approved the Social Action Committee’s (SAC) proposal to support more direct social action of SWS members. The Social Actions Initiative Awards provide a way for the SAC to directly support and encourage the social activism of SWS members. Awards are given out twice per year on a competitive basis until funds run out. The social actions represented by this initiative are central to advancing the mission of SWS. All three of the award winners this funding cycle will receive $1,000 to support their social activism projects. Special thanks go to the Social Actions Initiative Award Subcommittee: Dr. Ruth M. Hernández-Rios (Outgoing Chair), Rosalind Kichler, and Dr. Kristy Kelly.
Photo of Dr. Brittany P. Battle on Left
Dr. Brittany P. Battle is a scholar-activist and an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Her research interests include social and family policy, courts, social justice, and carceral logics. She teaches courses on social justice in the social sciences, reimagining the criminal legal system, and courts & criminal procedure. She is currently working on a book manuscript (under contract with NYU Press) titled “They’re Stealing My Opportunity to Be a Father:” The Child Support System and State Intervention in the Family, which examines the experiences of parents involved in the child support system using courtroom observations and interviews. The project illuminates the ways that the child support system functions as a neoliberal construct at the intersection of the welfare and criminal justice systems. Dr. Battle is also the co-founder of Triad Abolition Project, a grassroots organization working to dismantle the carceral state, and the Forsyth County Police Accountability & Reallocation Coalition, a collective of grassroots organizations in her area working to defund law enforcement budgets and refund the community. In the summer, Triad Abolition Project organized a 49-day occupation in downtown Winston Salem to secure changes in the county law enforcement agency in response to the murder of John Neville by sheriff’s deputies in the local detention center.
The award will fund the “Defund, Transform, Abolish?: Reimagining Justice in the Era of Mass Incarceration Workshop Series.” This series of workshops will train local community organizers and supporters in the traditions of restorative justice (micro-level), transformative justice (macro-level), and abolition. Approximately 15 participants including university undergraduate and graduate students, K-12 educators, activists, and community members will receive materials to read and engage with during the 10-week series. The workshops will serve as a transformative educational and training experience to provide participants with foundational frameworks for understanding abolition and practicing restorative justice. This education and training will ultimately contribute to the community-building needed to support new methods of accountability that move away from carceral systems of punishment and expand communities of care.
Photo of Dr. Ziwei Qi on Right
Dr. Ziwei Qi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. She has a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of North Dakota and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. Cloud State University. Dr. Qi has been actively engaged in research involving gender-based violence, rural criminology, restorative justice, and social entrepreneurship in the criminal justice system. She is one of the co-founders of the Center for Empowering Gender-based Violence, a research and service center based in rural Kansas.
The award will fund the “ Breaking the Cycle of Violence—Addressing Economic Independence for Survivors of Gender-based Violence in Rural Communities.” Four organizations will lead the one-day teach-in virtual workshop in April 2021. They are Colorado/Kansas-based and survivor-centered social enterprises providing housing, job training, and employment to women survivors. During the workshop, we introduce ways to provide both employment and residential assistance to survivors, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the end, audiences will participate in the discussion and propose ideas to providing sustainable support through job training, employment, and safe housing to help survivors to regain control of their life in Hays, Kansas, and beyond.
Photo of Dr. Kelly Grace on Left
Dr. Kelly Grace is an independent researcher, consultant and visiting scholar at Drexel University focusing on gender issues in education in Cambodia. She holds a PhD in Comparative and International Education from Lehigh University, where her dissertation used structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the impact of early childhood education programs on Cambodian mothers’ justifications of child abuse. Her primary research interest examines barriers related to gender in early childhood education and primary school programs, with an interest in Chbab Srey, or rules for women, and how this impacts educational experiences. She also works broadly in the area of gender in education K-12 and university settings. Dr. Grace supports the development of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems for education programs, specializes in project data management and analysis, and develops and implements trainings in both gender and M&E in educational settings. While her contextual area of expertise is the Cambodian education system, she also works with large international organizations on cross-context projects.
The award will fund the first Society of Gender Professionals (SGP) Circles Symposium in March 2021. SGP “Circles,” or chapters of members, work in specific thematic/geographic areas, to network, collaborate and provide professional development for feminist academics/practitioners/activists. Circles conduct applied research, develop South-South collaborations for feminist action, and work together to raise the profile of gender expertise around the world. Circles membership is international, with leadership mostly from the Global South, who work in underserved contexts and with minoritized communities. Together, they bring marginalized voices to international arenas.
Congratulations to the 2021 SWS Undergraduate Social Action Awardees!
Alexandria Hernandez. Reagan Williams. Molly Roach.
The Undergraduate Social Action Award is given annually to recognize a student or team of students making a substantial contribution to improving the lives of women in society through activism. SWS initiated this award in 2003. The work honored by this award is central to the SWS goal to foster activism for women. SWS recognizes that action “for women” does not mean that the work was done “with women” or even “by women.” Substantial need exists for social action working with working with men, boys, LGBTQ communities and other groups where change will benefit women and can be understood as feminist action. Therefore, SWS recognizes work done in this spirit regardless of applicant gender identity. In 2021, each of the Undergraduate Social Action Awardees will receive an award of $500 to acknowledge and celebrate their social activism. They will also receive 2021 SWS Membership. We celebrated our Undergraduate Social Action Awardees at the 2021 Winter Meeting Awards Reception. A special thank you to the SWS 2021 Undergraduate Social Action Subcommittee: Dr. Ruth M. Hernández-Rios (Chair), Dr. R. Plante and Cierra Sorin.
Photo of Alexandria Hernandez on left
Alexandria Hernandez is attending the University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards receiving her BA in Marketing. She plans to use her degree to work with non-profit organizations and help them reach an audience and show their full potential. A reflection of this passion is the organization she put together known as Frontera Folx for Reproductive Justice, an on-campus organization working to provide a safer space for our community through educating, providing recourses and representation. Within its first official year Frontera Folx’s actions have varied from community gatherings to virtual seminars. Alexandria hopes that Frontera Folx will be a community resource and guide for others for many years to come.
Frontera Folx took part in solidarity in El Paso Pride and other LGBTQ events, engaged with US Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, tabled at health fairs, and supported the community in ways not directly related to reproductive health, such as officially joining the “El Paso Strong” march, which showed community support after the deadly August 3, 2019 Walmart shooting by a racist individual from Dallas who targeted Hispanics. Frontera Folx has also helped raise political awareness and registered people to vote. Among other activities, they also ran a menstrual product drive for individuals living in homeless shelters and organized a clothing swap for trans folx. At the state-level, Frontera Folx has engaged in advocacy through lobbying for reproductive rights at the Austin, Texas State Capitol and they have sent several members to a youth leader empowerment training in Dallas. Dr. Ophra Leyser-Whalen of the University of Texas at El Paso nominated Alexandria for this award.
Photo of Reagan Williams on Right
Reagan Williams is a senior at the College of Charleston majoring in Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in Political Science. She began her activism in Charleston, South Carolina by becoming a student executive board member of the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center. Later, she went on to conduct New Faculty Inclusivity Orientation Trainings, Restorative Justice Circles and other workshops centered around equity. Reagan co-founded a student organization, Mental Health in Melanin, in the Spring of 2019 in order to advocate for mental health care awareness and combat collective trauma often experienced in communities of color. She has served many campus roles as committee member of the Intersectional Cougar Action Network (I-CAN), a coalition of student organizations and campus activists to fight injustice, and committee chairman of the WGS Student Advisory Committee.
I-CAN has served as a catalyst for significant changes on the College of Charleston campus, including application of consistent pressure on the upper administration to address specific instances of bias and discrimination, as well as systemic issues such as lack of attention to LGBTQ+ student needs or a dearth of critical race studies on campus. Under Reagan’s leadership, Mental Health in Melanin has regular events with high-profile speakers, holds candid conversations, and offers community-building spaces for students of color at this predominately white institution (PWI). The spaces and resources that are available to students through this organization foster belonging and inclusion in ways that were not available before. And as part of her commitment to issues relating to marginalized identities and mental health, Reagan also took the initiative to become a LGBTQ+ Affirmative Therapy Training Instructor. Dr. Kris De Welde of the College of Charleston nominated Reagan for this award.
Photo of Molly Roach on Left
Molly Roach is a recent graduate of Framingham State University with a major in Criminology and a minor in Psychology. She is an organizer with RacismFreeWPS in Worcester, Massachusetts. She aspires to go on to graduate school to earn her PhD in Criminology with a focus on sexual and gender violence. Her career goals lie in academia and research.
Molly was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. She attended the public-school system from preschool to 12th grade. She was a member of the Burncoat High School band and orchestra for 6 years and was Vice President of orchestra for 1 year. Her time spent in the public-school system has inspired her current activism work with RacismFreeWPS. Within the RacismFreeWPS organization she is a member of the press team, co-facilitator of Zoom planning meetings, and runs the onboarding process for new members.
She currently works as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, and as a Peer Health Educator/Social Media Coordinator for the Health and Wellness Center at Framingham State University. In her free time, Molly is a bibliophile who usually reads a book a day while curled up with her pit bull. She is also interning with Dr. Elizabeth Whalley as a research assistant, and they are working together to institute a new sexual education training for new students at Framingham State University.
Photo of Molly Roach with RacismFreeWPS members on Right
RacismFreeWPS is a grassroots organization of about 15 core members, made up of current and former WPS students, that began in July of 2020. The members were encouraged by the swell in activism that was started by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and decided that there was no better time than the present to push for radical change. They started out on a social media platform with the intent of collecting and publishing anonymous student testimonials of racism within the Worcester Public School system. This quickly grew into students, alumni, educators, and parents submitting stories about sexual violence, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, classism, and other forms of oppression. At this point, they shifted their goal: they became focused on ending all forms of oppression in Worcester Public Schools. Their social media following has grown to over 3,000 users, and they have published over 300 testimonials. The social media aspect of their organizing is immensely important, but they all realized that they wanted – and needed – to do more. It was one thing to expose what is happening in the schools, but they wanted to make the step toward making changes. Both Dr. Virginia Rutter and Dr. Elizabeth Whalley of Framingham State University nominated Molly Roach for this award.
For more information on the SWS Undergraduate Social Action Award, please go to this website: https://socwomen.org/awards/undergraduate-social-action/
The next application deadline is October 1, 2021.