Written by: Caille Prince (History, Class of 2017)
March and April are important months for WGRAC. The Women Gender and Resource Action Center wears many hats on campus but is known as a safe space for all. The leader of this incredible resource for students is Laura Lockwood. As the director of WGRAC, Laura is known for being an advocate, a leader and a friend. Her presence is felt throughout the year, as she is involved all over campus through different outlets. Laura’s job extends far beyond her office and lounge located behind the Washington Room in Mather. Not only does she assist the Title IX Coordinator, but she is also the coordinator of the Sexual Assault Response Team. Ultimately WGRAC is an important part of educating the campus and ensuring that everyone feels welcome and supported at Trinity.
Not only does Laura fulfill this role through her job as director, but she also takes every opportunity to support other organizations on campus. And her job does not stop on Summit St. Laura’s beliefs and commitment to “Inclusivity. Education. Community” are an important part of her life outside of Trinity as well. The best way to learn more about her larger involvements is to stop by her office and have a conversation with this inspiring advocate on campus. I learned about Laura through my time working for her as a summer assistant.
March, as Women’s History Month, was an important time for WGRAC. There were numerous events to celebrate the month and especially International Women’s Day. I reached out to Laura to ask her a few questions about her time at Trinity and Women’s History Month.
Q. How long have you been at Trinity and in this position?
A. I began in July, 1998, so almost 19 years.
Q. What was Women’s history Month like when you first got to Trinity?
A. It was similar to ours now but I feel that over the last 5 years more organizations are excited about collaborating.
Q. Why do you think International Women’s day or Women’s history month is so important?
A. Like Black History Month it’s tragic and frustrating that we need a month to raise the issues of a marginalized and subjugated population….which is 50% of the country’s population. That said, this country does not educate its citizens on the truths of discrimination, slavery, institutionalized racism and sexism, patriarchy, or, intersecting oppressions or white, male, or hetero privilege. We have a month – though WGRAC does this all year – to call attention to the accomplishments of women, the inequities that exist and the horrific statistics around violence, sex trafficking and bias. We have International Women’s Day to call attention to the same – internationally – and to decry the fact that many countries honor this as a National Holiday, whereas we don’t. The irony is that the first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States in 1909 because in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
Q. What is something that WGRAC is focusing on now?
A. We are daily collaborating to create a more respectful campus culture, reduce the stigma associated with feminism and empower students to discover their individual and collective voice and agency.
Q. What was your favorite event from this year’s women’s history month?
A. A tie between International Women’s Day and Stacey McKenzie’s ‘Ruling Your Life’s Runway. Two programs concerned with social justice and empowerment, with an element of fun!
Through her own words, one can tell Laura’s commitment to education and advocacy throughout the entire year. The WGRAC event for International Women’s Day was very much a success as the incredible history of women was celebrated while also appreciating important leaders currently. Coming up this month is “Take Back The Night” an event made as an opportunity to speak out against sexual violence while empowering victims and survivors. Another great event is “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” an event put on by the Masculinity group. Students identifying as male are encouraged to come and walk a mile in heels to encourage support for survivors of gender-based violence as symbolic and fun event for all. It is through events like these that Laura continues to make a different on Trinity’s campus through WGRAC.