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President's Message

Diane Keeling

Dear ORWAC Members,

In the last ORWAC newsletter, I announced work being undertaken by the ORWAC executive board to strengthen our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and belonging. This past summer, the board conducted an initial audit and took immediate action to address items such as revising language on the organization’s website, procedures for the Feminist Scholar of the Year award, and ORWAC research development grants. For more significant items, and items that will require monetary resources, we sought the expertise of voices that are currently excluded in the executive committee to incorporate a variety of marginalized experiences and expertise in the discipline. We sought scholars who engage in substantive diversity work both in terms of their research and practice with skills in building and maintaining networks.

This special committee was formed with each person compensated $1000 to audit the organization’s gatekeeping documents and practices. The committee was composed of Karma Chavez, Manoucheka Celeste, and Jo Hsu. Together they crafted a report that provides recommendations for how our organization can support and enhance its diversity, equity and sense of belonging. The report in full is included in this newsletter. At our virtual business meeting Saturday February 13 at 12pm PST we will discuss and vote on motions pertaining to these recommendations.

Karma Chávez, one of the special committee members, donated her honorarium back to the organization in order to seed an endowment that will provide travel grants for women, trans and non-binary graduate students of color to attend and present on ORWAC panels. This endowment can act in direct response to one of the special committee's findings that ORWAC needs to do more materially to make people of color feel a sense of belonging and buy-in to the organization. The Executive Board enthusiastically endorsed this idea, composed a fundraising committee, and decided to name the award for Professor Brenda J. Allen. We are now asking for your help. More details are included in the newsletter about Professor Allen and ways you can help us grow the endowment.

I am also happy to congratulate Alyson Farzad-Phillips who is the winner of the 2021 ORWAC Feminist Scholar of the Year Award, for her article "Huddles or Hurdles? Spatial Barriers to Collective Gathering in the Aftermath of the Women's March." We will be celebrating her achievement at our Virtual Business Meeting on Feb. 13 at 12pm PST. I hope to see you there.


Diane Marie Keeling
ORWAC President
Associate Professor
University of San Diego



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