Thirty years ago this month, about 100 women, inspired by a speech by a leading feminist poet, occupied a classroom near KUs Corbin Hall for 13 hours.
Among their demands for better conditions for women on campus was a child care center and a womens studies department.
Less than a year after the peaceful Feb. 4 demonstration ended, Hilltop Child Care Development Center opened, a womens studies program was created and annual February Sisters educational forums on womens issues began.
To commemorate the actions and impact of the February Sisters occupation of the East Asian studies building, February Sisters Association, a campus organization, and the womens studies program are co-sponsoring the 30th annual February Sisters Forum this month. They are issuing special invitations to all of the original sisters, many of whom chose to remain anonymous, to participate in the anniversary event.
The forum, titled Honor Crimes and Crimes of Passion, will feature Robin Morgan, author, poet and former editor-in-chief of Ms. Magazine. Morgans speech on campus spurred the sisters to action. Several performances of The Vagina Monologues also will take place.
This years focus on honor crimes and crimes of passion is a necessary discussion as world leaders, for the first time, take seriously and pay attention to the global terrorism committed against women in the name of honor, said Christine Robinson, graduate instructor in womens studies and co-founder of the February Sisters Association. Robin Morgan and Pamela Shifman have been researching, writing and speaking about the relationship among gender, sexuality and terrorism for over a decade.
Scheduled events include:
Honor Crimes and Crimes of Passion, 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. Speakers include Robin Morgan, international womens rights expert and author and editor of several books, including Sisterhood Is Powerful and The Demon Lover: The Roots of Terrorism, and Pamela Shifman, co-executive director of Equality Now, a New York-based international human rights organization for women. A panel discussion with Morgan, Shifman and the original February Sisters will follow. A reception and book signing with Morgan is set for 9:15 p.m. in the Big 12 Room of the Kansas Union and is open to the public.
A staged reading of I, Unseen by Marika Mashburn from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont St. The Department of Theatre and Film co-sponsors the event, which is free and open to the public. Mashburn depicts the struggles of Afghan women living under the Taliban rule.
Three performances of Eve Enslers The Vagina Monologues will take place in Lawrence at 8 p.m. Feb. 21, 22 and 23 in the Kansas Union ballroom. A V-Day festival will begin at 7 p.m. before the Feb. 22 and 23 performances. Sign language interpreters will be provided for the Feb. 23 performance. Washburn University sponsors two more performances, March 8 and 9. Contact the Murphy Hall box office, (785) 864-3982, for tickets and locations for all of these performances, which cost $6 each. Womens organizations in Douglas and Shawnee counties will receive all proceeds.
The University Forum scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, focuses on Honor Crimes in the U.S.: The Parental Kidnapping of Miranda Budiman. Speakers include Lawrence attorney Karen Eager; Miranda Budimans mother, Tara; and Christine Robinson and Sarah Trowbridge-Alford, co-directors of the Miranda Project, an organization that helps locate missing children. This event is free and open to the public and takes place at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread.
From Feb. 1 to 28, the February Sisters are participating in Call to Protect, a national wireless-phone collection designed to provide a powerful tool in the fight against abuse. Donate wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. Call to Protect distributes new and recycled preprogrammed emergency wireless phones free of charge to domestic violence victims. To these women, the phone serves as an emergency lifeline one they might not have access to otherwise. Donation drop-off sites include the Lawrence Public Library, 700 Vermont St., and the Emily Taylor Womens Resource Center, 22 Strong Hall at KU.
Sponsors for these events include the KU Student Senate, Student Union Activities, the womens studies program, Theatre and Film, Coca-Cola, KU Greens, Hillel Foundation, Womyns Empowerment Action Coalition, the Emily Taylor Womens Resource Center, and Queers & Allies: LesBiGayTrans Services of Kansas.
For more information about the February Sisters Association, visit www.geocities.com/febsisters.