About 30 students attend ‘Womxn’s Herstory’ kickoff event

About 30 students attended the “Womxn’s Herstory” kickoff event March 4, where Irvine-born artist Isabel Emrich’s four commissioned paintings were revealed. Photo by Cassidy Keola

In Argyros Forum on March 4 stood an easel with a painting of a mother feeding her child, her arms wrapped around his body and her head placed softly atop his. This was one of the four paintings by Irvine-born artist Isabel Emrich that were commissioned by the Cross-Cultural Center (CCC) to commemorate women’s history month.

The unveiling of Emrich’s work occurred at the “Womxn’s Herstory” kickoff on March 4. Emrich was joined by slam poets and vocal performers for an evening of celebration.

“My grandma and great-grandma and my mom are all very strong and creative women who have influenced me and have encouraged me to follow my dreams,” Emrich told The Panther.

The kickoff and subsequent month of planned events for “Womxn’s Herstory” at Chapman was spearheaded by graduate student coordinator Victoria Gomez, the CCC and the Heritage Month Programming – a program dedicated to recognizing diverse identities at Chapman.

While the month will focus on women’s history, the goal is to also look at “women now and the issues and struggles we are still facing,” Gomez said.

The month focuses around inclusivity which can be seen in the event’s title. The name, “Womxn’s Herstory,” was chosen to be inclusive of people who identify as women, feminine or nonbinary, Gomez said.

After displaying Emrich’s work in a slideshow presentation for the event attendees, graduate creative writing student Danielle Shorr and senior screenwriting major Jessie Flowers took to the stage and performed a joint slam poetry piece that focused on “the fallacy within how women are treated,” Shorr said.

“We shouldn’t have to be taught to protect ourselves from danger but we are; we learn it,” Shorr told The Panther. “I hope people who hear the poem can find connection – I hope women can feel less alone in their experiences and men feel the responsibility to do better, to be better and to hold other men accountable.”

Emrich’s paintings will be displayed at the CCC for the next month to commemorate Women’s History Month.

Women’s History Month has gained prominence since the #MeToo movement and is commemorated on many college campuses, according to The New York Times.

“The reason why programming is so vital is because it is important to feel like you belong to a group where you feel safe within,” Gomez said.

The kickoff event concluded with a performance from Simply Vocale, an all-treble a cappella group on campus. 

“We love supporting women every way we can,” said Erica Marfa, president of Simply Vocale. “A few members of the group performed at the Women’s March in Santa Ana in January in solidarity with women’s rights. When we were approached to perform at the Herstory kickoff, we did not hesitate to share our voices.”