Building Bridges: Alliances Between Women of Color and White Women

The Coalition for Gender Equity, previously known as Building Bridges: Alliances Between Women of Color and White Women, is a group of students advocating gender and racial equality. The group took on a new name in hopes of attracting more attention and aims to broaden their involvement this quarter. The inclusion of “gender,” for example, invites men to join the cause as well; CGE wants them as allies for equity, justice and fairness. Another major change this quarter is that instead of just raising awareness, CGE wants to further their cause by taking action and making an impact both politically and socially. “We wanted to stand for something,” Denise Johnson stated. “We wanted to send a message that we were going to aim for results.”

Donna Miguel and Yoshiko Harden founded the coalition on the Faculty Professional Day two years ago. The group started out with workshops exploring social dynamics between women of different racial backgrounds. A few of the members there wanted to improve their relationships not only on a personal level but also politically and professionally, which is why the group was first called Building Bridges. This quarter and the upcoming year, in an effort to do more political work and create strategic alliances, the group changed their name and broadened their goals. Despite the new name, the group will continue to drive for “building bridges” between women of different races alongside their new mission.

The major goal this year for the CGE is to broaden student involvement: They say that they cannot make a difference if they are the only ones taking charge. They also have set goals to plan for the upcoming year accordingly and hope for more action from both themselves and the student body at large.

Men are strongly recommended to join the cause. They are encouraged to speak only of their experiences and opinions and to act collectively with women. Johnson believes that to truly make a difference, men need to value this issue as much as women do. We can only make an impact if the two work together, she says. Women are also encouraged to speak about their experiences and commit to the work. “Social change needs social action,” Johnson said. “If we want things to change, we have to do.”

The Coalition for Gender Equity urges all students and staff to take charge. CGE says that “social inequality between genders is affecting our everyday lives, and it is time to make a change.”