Women's History Month: Honoring Women's Activism in Black Lives Matter and at GSU.
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
Women's History Month: Honoring Civil Rights Activist Mimi Jones, Women in BLM, and GSU's WGSS and Women Lead Program March has been designated as Women's History Month by a presidential proclamation since 1987. Last month provides us a great opportunity to highlight and honor the many amazing achievements that women have contributed to this country. Many of these achievements, in spite of sexism and racism, have been overlooked by American society. However, many nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and community-based organizations have embraced this month through a series of celebrations to highlight the specific leadership that women have accomplished throughout the country.
It is quite powerful that I have had many fantastic women as role models in my life that have been the backbone for me to get ahead in my educational and professional pursuits. To name a few: Jeanne McGuire, Toye Brown, Jacqui Lindsay, Charlotte Golar Richie, Blanche Pringle, Juanita Brooks Wade, Adrienne Benton, Anna Faith Jones, Sandras Barnes, Klare Shaw, Elsa Wasserman, Maureen Pompeo, Deborah Jackson, Christine Green, Pamela Trefler, Lee Gallo, Cathy Hoffman, Alice Wolf, Nancy Ryan, Caroline Hunter, Shirley Carrington, Paulette Johnson, Carol Bowden, Dianne Wilkerson, Mattie Deed, Pamela King, Deirdre Oakley, Candelaria Silva, Doris Bunte and Mimi Jones and, of course, my mother Paulina Heywood.
Many of these women have provided that helpful smile, that "good ole' kick in the butt", that "big hug of love", and "that look" that it's gonna be okay. These gestures of caring would help any young person achieve to be the best that they can be.
Today, I am quite proud to be a part of two programs over the last year that have continually understood the importance of celebrating women and their achievements in the workplace, academia, and society. At Georgia State University, I was hired as an editor/graphic designer to work with the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies on their 25th-anniversary newsletter, blog, and social media posts to highlight the years of activism. In addition, I was selected to participate in a new program, WomenLead, out of GSU's J. Mack Robinson College of Business. This program was developed to help inspire and build a pipeline of women leaders in the fields of business, government, and entrepreneurship.
First, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) academic department is an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on gender, sex, sexuality, feminism, and womanism. The Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Georgia State University has been chartered since 1994, although its history reaches back to the 1970s when a small group of committed feminist faculty members began meeting to address women’s issues. The program boasts an undergraduate major and minor as well as a rigorous Master's program and a graduate women’s, gender, and sexuality studies certificate for students in other departments who wish to develop a WGSS specialization. Today, WGSS offers a cutting-edge academic program focusing on three areas: globalization, sexuality studies, and social change. I was selected by WGSS Director, Dr. Stephanie Evans, and WGSS Business Manager, Andrew Reisinger, to help bring this great project to life. While organizing this 25th-anniversary newsletter, I was able to review archival information including pictures, great stories from staff, faculty, and students. My job was to put all of that information into a 30-page newsletter in addition to several blogs and social media posts. It was quite a task, but the education was amazing. The newsletter features the original directors, experiences with COVID, student achievements as well as historical events and speakers, and new programs and projects. I was also able to highlight two areas through the programming of Greatest MINDS at Georgia State University inside of the WGSS newsletter.
One with my mentor, Ms. Mimi Jones, who was a speaker at Georgia State University in April 2018 for our symposium "Swimming While Black". She shared her story and historic activism behind the desegregation of public spaces and places, especially swimming pools and beaches in 1964. Ms. Jones passed away in July 2020. I was honored to include her in the newsletter. Additionally, I featured a special section on the 2020 Summer Atlanta protests from George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter protests and how young women were at the forefront of these movements. These two events were great to highlight and I am honored to put them into the newsletter.
Top Picture: Dr. Nancy Mansfield with WomenLead, Dr. Isabelle Moniouis with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, and Nastai Ndebele with Our Journey Through Code Article: https://businessradiox.com/podcast/gsueni/womenlead/
Bottom Picture: George Greenidge participating in a WomanLead Online Class in March 2021. Second, as a part of my coursework for a Graduate Certificate in Disruptive Innovation and Entrepreneurship, I was selected to participate in the WomenLead program and course at Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. The WomenLead program equips female students to excel in school, enter the workforce with developed skills, and find their place in leadership positions. Since its spring 2015 inception, more than 1,000 students have participated in the program, ensuring that the future for female business leaders is bright. Participants engage with top leaders in the community through group activities such as discussion panels, company visits, service projects, and networking events, as well as on an individual basis through engagement interviews and mentoring relationships. The WomenLead Leadership Team consists of the following professors at Georgia State: Dr. Nancy Mansfield for WomenLead in Business, Dr. Pam Ellen for WomenLead in Business, Dr. Nadine Kabengi for WomenLead in STEM, Dr. Isabelle Monlouis for WomenLead in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Dr. Sarah Gershon and Charlotte Alexander, J.D. for WomenLead in Policy and Politics, and Nicole Keaton-Hart, Executive in Residence who will teach the inaugural Women Lead in Technology this Fall. Here is a video on the WomenLead.
While I might be four men out of a cohort of 100 students in this course, this has given me "a fly on a wall" experience to see the challenges that young women face in society and in the workplace. Going forward, this program will hopefully make me a better manager, and develop my skills to bring out the best in all of my employees especially women. I am honored to be a part of these programs and hope they will continue to guide my thinking in giving opportunities to all people, regardless of gender identity, socioeconomic status, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. Again, please check out the 25th Anniversary Newsletter of WGSS at Georgia State University. It is my best design work highlighting women leaders in academia and the community.
About George R. Greenidge, Jr.:
George R. Greenidge, Jr. is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology with a concentration in Race and Urban Studies at Georgia State University (GSU). He recently was an Economic Fellow with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and an Urban Fellow with the GSU Law School’s Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth where he researched urbanization, minority populations, and the interdisciplinary dialogue on urban growth and management issues for cities. He lives between Atlanta and Boston and serves as the President and Executive Director of the Greatest MINDS and participates as a member of the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute. In his free time, George enjoys community organizing, the sport of triathloning, traveling abroad, collecting vintage comic books, listening to world and house music, and taking pictures of urban neighborhoods, downtown architecture, and city landscapes. You can reach him on LinkedIn or at www.georgegreenidge.com.