Read on for a blog post by Sophia Hayat Taha, co-founder of W.o.K.E
Just over two weeks ago we started the wheels in motion for the W.o.K.E project.
We have speakers lined up, T-shirts available, a fabulous website (if I do say so myself), direction for writers, writers coming forward, a visible presence on social media which is growing quickly, and people talking about us, coming forward to work together. Basically we are about to get some amazing changes at Keele actively happening.
It is awesome. It is scary. It is empowering. Clearly we all want change.
What we don’t have yet is our full collection of champions, we are sorely missing more people of colour, trans voices and non-binary voices.
We are lucky enough to have some champions for our mental health based volunteer roles and some faith W.o.K.E champions in the pipeline too (watch this space!).
The missing champion roles scare me, and yes I know we are in the middle of summer, and only two weeks in, but patience has never been a strong point of mine.
I am in a bit of a cycle of wondering what I can do to make the roles more appealing and keep people safe and supported. Please do get in touch with concerns or suggestions.
We want to empower everyone who is usually ignored and kept down by multiple structural oppressions.
After London Pride being hijacked by a problematic group of anti-trans voices we posted our support for our trans sisters and brothers on Instagram and twitter.
We lost a few followers, had to report and delete comments, and block someone. We will continue to do this every time we see bigotry. We have our safe space rules and we will continue to update and improve on them so that everyone can participate.
W.o.K.E is an intersectional movement. If that troubles you, we have reading lists that will be live soon, we suggest you educate yourself.
Challenge your privileges and have a long think about why you think you can oppress someone else.
We have many opportunities to learn over the next year, with workshops coming to Keele, external workshops being signposted and travel arranged for groups that want to go (watch this space), conferences, reading lists, activities in informal settings, and more formal speaker sessions.
This is a long journey that we all need to take. None of us is free from our own privileges. A few of mine are that I am a cis, white-passing, straight-passing woman. We all have our own oppressions and struggles. We can all learn. We can all do better.
Over the year we have workshops challenging white feminism and the white supremacy underlying white tears. We have workshops that are specifically for men to learn about intersectional feminism. We have workshops tackling how to be a better feminist in practice instead of just in words. We have practical help for those that want to put themselves forward when nominations open for elected positions on campus. We have well-being activities, collaborations with the careers services coming up and cooperation with Keele’s decolonise the curriculum project.
This year is going to be incredible.
I am so excited. I am so scared, but I hope that you will feel empowered.