The Cougar Chronicle

Empowered Womxn, Empower Womxn at Herstory Luncheon

Dania Meza, Staff Writer

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The fifth annual Womxn’s Herstory Month Luncheon culminated the month long events that celebrated the womxn on campus and the theme was, “empowered women, empower women.”

 

Monia Romero, a peer educator at the Gender Equity Center (GEC), coordinated the event and said the event was mindfully named with the “x” in womxn because “(the x) it’s for all people who identify as femme or woman identifying. So transgender woman, femme identifying individuals who are non-binary and just woman in general. It’s a more inclusive way to include everyone.”

 

The event was held in the USU Ballroom from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Guests who RSVP’d had priority for entrance, then entry was opened to all students.

 

The room was set up with 12 round tables that sat the 75 total attendees and all were treated to lunch.

 

At each table there was  a female identifying mentor, or “femmtor,” according to Abrahán Monzón assistant director of the GEC, that volunteered their time to speak amongst the students.

 

All but one of the femmtors that attended are CSUSM staff from various areas on campus that included Dr. Mary Robertson, Jull Liang, Sandra Doller, Sonia Gutierrez, Christa Wencl, Dr. Cynthia Headly, Allie Serrano, Cathy Nguyen, Dr. Lissa Lim, Dr. Gail Cole-Avant, Karen Eso, LaPorcha Ellickand Kimberly Peirce.

The GEC added a new element to the event and invited a keynote speaker: Consuelo Martinez, the deputy Mayor of Escondido and alumni of CSUSM.

 

Martinez told her story about how she became a leader and an involved community member even when fear originally held her back. She said it happened at a meeting she was nervous to go to.

 

“That meeting pretty much changed the trajectory of my life because I became a political activist,” she said.  

Through her activism and support in her community, she was able to advocate for changes by beginning to, “show up to the city council meetings…and feeling like she needed to do this [run for office.]

 

“Who else is going to run? I looked around and nobody stepped up. It became clear to me that I had to run. I answered the call to run in the very first district job in Escondido,” she said.

Martinez said she considers herself an introvert.

 

“Remember I’m an introvert…I [thought] I have to be public now, everyone is going to see me, everyone is going to criticize me…it became very scary but I had a loving community that surrounded me.”

After the first run, Martinez lost but four years later ran again with new knowledge and experience as fuel and was voted as the new deputy mayor of Escondido in Dec. 2018.

Being a woman in government comes with the opportunity to continue learning where a path was not laid prior.

 

Martinez said, “I’ve been an elected official now for 3 months…it is like your drinking from a fire hydrant, it’s so much information, so much to learn, but I love it.”

Martinez final tips included to be authentic, be brave, speak up, find out what you love to do, to be open, know it’s okay to change your path, have a support network, and take care of yourself. She ended with, “follow your dreams even if it’s scary, do it. Because you will be surprised at what happens.”

 

The purpose of the event was to create a space for womxn on campus to connect with students in a relaxed environment and was successful.

 

Armando Zaragoza, a senior Psychology student that had attended the past three years said, “It was really inspiring to see so many bad ass woman on campus just come and have a chance to  share a little bit about what they’ve gone through…it was nice seeing women of color particularly highlighted..overall it was a great event and a great chance to meet staff and faculty who share the same experiences.”

 

Additionally, the faculty and staff had meaningful experiences as Romero received positive feedback through emails.  One email came from Christa Wencl, Sexual Violence Advocate & Educator at the Student Health and Counseling Services. She said, “thank you for offering such a rich, meaningful and celebratory space for the woman on our campus. I feel very grateful, connected, community and inspired.”

 

Monzón and Romero have the event scheduled for next year and invite students to recommend a faculty or staff as mentors and encouraged all to visit the center in USU 3200.

 

For more information on upcoming events in the GEC, visit their website at https://www.csusm.edu/gec/

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