The Undergraduate Social Action Award is given annually to recognize students or a 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. A special thank you to the SWS 2022 Undergraduate Social Action Subcommittee: Kris De Welde (Chair), Heather Dillaway, Shaonta’ Allen, and Minwoo Jung. In 2022, we are pleased to announce that Kelsie Joseph is the 2022 Undergraduate Social Action Awardee. Thank you to Sue Ann Barratt for nominating Kelsie for this prestigious award.
Kelsie Joseph is a final year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology with minors in Gender and Development Studies and Criminology at The University of the West Indies. Kelsie is a very passionate and intersectional feminist activist from the beautiful twin island of Trinidad and Tobago. Kelsie enjoys participating in volunteer-based activities and youth spaces that work towards creating a gender-just world. Kelsie is able to do this through her activism in raising awareness and doing social good to create positive social change. Kelsie’s experience in community organizing and activism offers ongoing challenges and learning opportunities towards addressing different social issues and dismantling barriers within our patriarchal society. Outside of volunteerism and activism, Kelsie tries to balance her social and family life by laughing at funny memes, spending time with nature and listening to music. Kelsie’s favorite feminist anthem is Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” because it makes her feel empowered. It is a reminder that she is more than her mental health condition.
Kelsie is a member of IGDS Ignite which is a student activist group of The Institute of the Gender and Development Studies, University of the West Indies where she learns about education and activism for gender related and rights-based issues. It is a student led, feminist, social justice mentorship program. As a member, Kelsie participates in outreach activities to promote learning on and off campus. Kelsie is also the Co-founder and manages the Cat Calls of UWI project, a social media-based project to combat gender-based street harassment and sexual violence on campus accompanied by awareness actions including chalking around campus and environs.
As a feminist activist and by volunteering with the Cat Calls of UWI team and Chalk Back, Kelsie hopes that her activism is making a positive social change on the UWI campus and society. The team has created an online platform of public awareness about gender-based street harassment and sexual violence, story sharing and amplifying voices, a community of learning and holding each other accountable, and inclusivity for all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Kelsie plans on initiating an IGDS Ignite project which will seek to draw on the activities undertaken, and the lessons learned by these young students, and to use these as the basis for a peer-led pedagogical, online approach to Caribbean feminist activism. Three short videos are proposed which focus on key feminist skills/strategies. Each video will primarily comprise an audio script narrated by an Ignite! student combined with photo images taken from past actions. Students involved in Ignite! will collectively workshop and create the scripts over the course of the academic year, enabling them to use this time to both reflect and to produce experiential content over the period of the pandemic. This process, guided by someone with expertise in participatory documentary making, will also be a source of skill-building for the Ignites who then have an additional methodology – the making and use of short videos – to share as part of their own peer-to-peer Caribbean feminist movement-building.
We will honor Kelsie on February 7, 2022, at the Virtual Awards Ceremony that will take place from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST. Please join us by registering with this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItf-uprTMiHNc_pwXX_-baOWxbEUt1Ksri