Monday, October 3, 2011

Seneca takes feminism back to school

Seneca members and supporters.
With Video!

Meet some of the young women of Seneca, a feminist club from Athens High School in Troy, Mich.

(Seated in front, left to right:  Dari Butkiewicz, Rosie Burton.  Standing, left to right:  Anjelica Dudek,; Athens' librarian, Mrs. Vought; Merna Naji; Justine Valka and Oakland University special lecturer, Sue Rumph.)

They recently held a book drive to bring feminist titles into the school's library after a search of the catalog revealed a serious void.

The void was quickly filled thanks to the generosity of local women activists, enthusiasts and scholars. 

The initial drive yielded over 20 titles of nonfiction, poetry, history and activism.

Sue Rumph, a special lecturer in Oakland University's women and gender studies program, was eager to pass along volumes of knowledge she's collected during her years of study.  The challenge, she said, was selecting titles" appropriate to the high school level" that would be both interesting and accessible.  Among her donations were "Backlash" by Susan Faludi and "The Beauty Myth" by Naomi Wolf.

Other titles were donated by members of the National Organization for Women, Oakland County Chapter.   

(I was happy to present the club with a new copy of "When Everything Changed:  The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present" by Gail Collins.)

The club's president, Anjelica Dudek, says all the books have been bar coded and stamped by the school's librarian and will be in the catalog in about two weeks.

She adds, " ...every one of those books are the first to be IN THE ENTIRE TROY SCHOOL DISTRICT! This is shocking to hear that these books haven't been in the district ever. However, this is incredibly exciting that our donations will make even MORE of a tremendous impact not only to Athens, but to the entire school district as well."

The club's greater goal is to see a women and gender studies class added to the high school's curriculum and is studying the formal petition process.

Seneca is a newer addition to the school's club roster.  It takes its name from Seneca Falls -- the historic women's rights convention held in New York in 1848.  Although the reference might not be evident at first, Dudek says it gets attention.  The club now has about 15 members.

Seneca meets every other Thursday afternoon at Athens High School.  The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 13, see the club's Facebook page for details and updates.

Listen to the young women of Seneca talk about their book drive and hear professor Rumph's "must read list:"

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