It was a bustling holiday party complete with counters overloaded with snacks and festive attire, but the present being unwrapped at Beth Rietveld’s house was a little unusual. The women gathered to celebrate together didn’t always know each other, but each played a special role in a brand new 18-month calendar that focuses on hope and joy.
The Oregon State University’s Women’s Center has just produced a “Calendar of Hope,” which features OSU students, staff and faculty talking about a very special dream. Each was asked to compete the phrase, “When Violence Against Women and Children Ends… I will…” For every woman asked, the answer was different, but equally enthusiastic.
Rietveld, Women’s Center Director, got the idea during a visit to the University of Connecticut, where she was performing a program review. During a visit to their women’s center, a student proudly showed her a calendar they’d created, which featured a portrait of the student and her mother.
“I could see the pride in her face,” Rietveld said. The idea was so exciting, and the question itself so thought-provoking, that Rietveld asked the staff of the center if she could duplicate the idea at OSU, and they agreed.
Everyone featured in the OSU calendar has a strong commitment to women and children’s issues, and Rietveld made sure that a broad representation of women appeared on the pages.
“I wanted people who celebrated women,” she said. In fact, she had so many people respond to her request that some of the pages feature more than one participant.
The calendar features stunning black and white portraits taken by one of two student photographers hired for the project, Daron Jackson and Katie Holloway. The project was completed by Samantha Reining, a Women Studies intern who found the project both challenging and rewarding. She said learning new programs to design the calendar wasn’t always easy, but the end result is worth it.
“I really love it, it’s beautiful,” she said. “I’m giving it out as Christmas presents.”
Patti Watkins is featured with other Women Studies Faculty on the March 2010 page. The faculty members agreed that when violence against women and children ends, “We will retire.”
Watkins said the calendar is a good reminder that women and children still aren’t safe in the world, and there are restrictions to their freedom that would be lifted if violence disappeared.
“What the sayings (in the calendar) communicate is ‘I can do this, I can be safe in this way.’ It’s a nice way to communicate that and raise awareness.”
Student photographer Daron Jackson has been taking photographs since she was 14, and said she began identifying as a feminist at a young age, inspired by her stepmother.
“She’s a really strong woman, she taught me things about how to be in this world,” Jackson said. So the opportunity to be a part of the calendar project was exciting to Jackson.
“It was amazing,” she said. “I’ve never been a part of anything like this.”
She said as she was taking the photos, and thinking about how each woman answered the question, she struggled to come up with her own answer.
“I will just be at peace,” she said. “I will appreciate the fact that I’m safe.”
Models include Christina Blanchard, Laura Cristal Magãna, Mehra Shirazi, Stephanie Duckett, Alisha DeVogele, Kimberly Nickerson, Katie Parker, Linda Anderson, Lani Roberts, Parcella Provence, Allison Davis-White Eyes, Angie Tissi, Angi Baxter, January Bourassa, Mary Zelinka, Alia Beyer, Helen Shin, Susan Shaw, Patti Watkins, Janet Lee, Phuong Lan Nguyen, Donna Champeau, Mirabelle Fernandes-Paul, Carrie Giese, Jessica Waldo, Gail Cole, Brittany Vreeland, Robin Klein, Alicia Petersen & Molly Statham.
Calendars are available at the Women’s Center for $15 and checks should be payable to the OSU Foundation.
The proceeds from the calendar sales will be used for sexual violence education at OSU and programs will be decided by the Sexual Violence Prevention & Education Office, Sexual Assault Support Services and the Women’s Center. The calendar features helpful information for anyone in the OSU community who the calendar features helpful information for anyone in the OSU community who might need to refer a student or colleague to support/advocacy , medical, educational and reporting options if she/he is a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault or abuse.