Grant focuses on equality

Story by Teddy MartinContributing writer

“Gender Equality: I’ll Know It When I See It,” is a series writing workshop led by Constance Alexander at Murray State beginning Sept. 30 as a part of a grant centered on gender equality.

The workshop is supplied by the Kentucky Foundation for Women, or KFW, whose goal is to promote positive social change by supporting varied feminist expression in the arts. The grant was created at Murray State.

“As a recipient of the grant, I will be facilitating a series of five workshops to inspire participants to write about gender equality,” Alexander said.

Each year, the KFW awards $200,000 to feminist artists and allied organizations in Kentucky, as well as creating and sharing sources about feminism and social change. For the past 24 years, Alexander has been receiving grants from the foundation.

The workshops will touch on a variety of obstacles women face in modern society as well as embrace a free atmosphere for discussion. Alexander said the locations are not yet set but will be put in place soon.

She said the writings from these workshops will also be used at the Celebrate Women Conference in March, but the number of pieces will vary on how many students join.

“We don’t know how many students will participate, as each workshop targets a different audience, and the workshop on Oct. 24 is part of a larger … conference that attracts participants from around the state,” she said.

Regardless of the number of participants, she said she hoped they could gather writings from at least 25 willing members who would like their writing to be shared with a larger audience.

Steven Shupe, junior from Farmington, Kentucky, said that every little bit helps.

“It’s hard when you’re doing well; it’s even harder when you’re not,” Shupe said.

Regie Cabico, a renowned poet and spoken word artist who specializes in workshops in slam poetry was recently at Murray State to host the Mocktails Slam.

Cabico was the first Asian American poet to win the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and has appeared on two seasons of HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and NPR’s “Snap Judgment.”

“I think things like this really help push who those who suffer from inequality are,” Cabico said. “It’s a wild journey.”

Cabico said grants and programs that help promote equality are exactly what universities need because they help give those who are discriminated against a face and form.

He said poetry is a good outlet for him because it was immediate catharsis, relating how art can help people come together and share their experiences.

Workshops will occur once a month, the first being Sept. 30, followed by Oct. 24, Nov. 17, Jan. 19 and Feb. 4.