Like That Could Ever Happen to a Man

Within our country about 1 in 5 women have experienced sexual assault* at one point in their lives, and about 1 about 4 women die every day** due to intimate partner violence. Sure, there exist many programs that advocate for women’s protection, empowerment, and self-defense, but we shouldn’t have to teach women to defend themselves; Women are not the ones engaging in a crime here. We should be telling men not to rape.

It’s a bit of a “duh” statement, but the fact remains that women deal with harassment, aggression, and dominance by men. The tricky situation here is: how do we get men to realize this?

Men walk through this world differently than Women:

Men don’t have to consider if their clothes are “too modest” or “too revealing.”

Men don’t go through the same anxiety when walking through the parking lot late at night.

Men aren’t the ones being drugged at the club or on dates.

Men clearly have unspoken privilege that women don’t.

And I realize that there may have been instances where men may have experienced assault, victimization, or some treatment by women, but the fact remains that these negative experiences are shared too frequently by women. If this situation were to be the reverse, our society would look a little like this.

Here’s ri8va powerful, in-your-face depiction of a world where one gender dominates the
other. An alleyway scene sparks the idea that men can be victims of sexual
assault, and while one may feel sympathy for the way he was treated in the
police station, it is important to note that this experience is representative
of many women who have survived sexual assault.

April is coming up, which brings with it National Sexual Assault Awareness Month and our annual event from the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center: Take Back the Night. Contact us to learn more about this event that raises awareness around sexual violence and commemorates those who’ve lost their lives due to assault.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/health/nearly-1-in-5-women-in-us-survey-report-sexual-assault.html?_r=0 *

www.ncadv.org **

Film Focus: City of Borders

For CSULA Pride Day, I had the chance to watch City of Borders, a documentary about queer communities within Israel and Palestine and the convergence of sexuality, nationality, and religion at Shushan, the only gar bar in Jerusalem.

City_of_Borders_Review1

The film follows several characters including:
• Boody, a gay Palestinian man who moonlights as a drag queen by the name of Miss Haifa, and is eventually chased out of his country by death threats.
• Ravit and Samira, a lesbian couple struggling to reconcile their different nationalities, religious beliefs, and ideas about parenthood.
• Adam, a young gay Israeli man who must deal with the reality of violence and prejudice in his country.
• Sa’ar, the owner of Shushan, prominent gay activist, and city council member who must cope with unfavorable political and economic obstacles.

Each of the characters deals with blatant homophobia, fear, and judgment. The film offers a hopeful ending for each of the characters, but still there is an undercurrent of solemnity. This is mirrored by the images of crumbling walls that cut across the borders of Israel and Palestine; these barriers both divide and unite the queer communities within each country. They are reminded of the differences but are encouraged to overcome them by literally climbing over in order to mingle in the safe haven, the only one of its kind, Shushsan.

I was reminded of how lucky I am. I never feared for my life attending a Pride parade. I have never received death threats. I have never been mocked and denigrated by my family, friends, peers, and coworkers.

The reality is it’s easy to forget the true extent of prejudice that still exists, not just outside the country but also within. Living in SoCal is like being in a bubble. But we cannot forget that the struggle continues for all of us LGBTQPIA, everyone and anyone.
People are still losing their lives, their jobs, their families, their hope, and their Pride.
So in honor of Pride season, show your pride, but also be conscious of how privileged we are to be able to do so.

CCC in the Summer 2012

   For the CCC, the Summer is usually a time dedicated to the planning, organizing and strategizing of our many events for Fall Quarter at CSULA. However in addition to planning, this Summer we are hosting events! If you’re taking classes this Summer or just plain miss us, please stop by! Heres a look at our Summer Calendar.

Tuesday, July 10 at 12 noon – Performing the Border(CLSRC Film & Discussion)

   The award-winning documentary, Performing the Border, investigates the growing feminization of the global economy and its impact on Mexican women living and working in Ciudad Juarez, near the Mexico – U.S. border. The video explores the sexualization of the expression of female desires in the entertainment industry, and sexual violence in the public sphere. A short discussion will follow. Directed by Ursula Biemann, 1999, 42 minutes.

Wednesday, July 11 at 3:00 pm – Miss Representation(GSRC Film & Discussion)

   Women, media, politics, and power are themes explored in the critically-acclaimed film, Miss Representation. The film explores how mainstream media contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in the United States. Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, 2011, 90 minutes.

Tuesday, July 17 at 3:15 pm – Good Hair(PASRC Film & Discussion)

   This eye-opening film focues on African American women’s hair and the multi-billion dollar Black hair care industry, and includes visits to beauty salons, barbershops, Black hair conventions, scientific laboratories, and India, where many hair weaves and hair extensions originate. Directed by Jeff Stilson, 2009, 96 minutes.

Wednesday, July 25 at 3:15 pm – For the Bible Tells Me So(GSRC Film & Discussion)

   This thought-provoking and entertaining documentary brilliantly explores the experiences of five very average, very Christian, very American families, and how insightful poeple of faith handle the realization they have gay children. Film followed by a discussion. Directed by Daniel Karslake, 2007, 97 minutes.

Wednesday, August 1 at 12 noon – The Bubble(APISRC Film & Discussion)

   The Bubble follows a group of young friends in Tel Aviv, a city thought to be peaceful despite its surrounding turmoil, who wish to have a political action and “rave against the occupation.” Short discussion will follow the film. Directed by Eytan Fox, 2006, 117 minutes.

Tuesday, August 7 at 12 noon – What Would You Do If?(CCC Discussion)

The CCC Staff at U-Awards

Join us for an afternoon of advice and life lessons from the staff of the Cross Cultual Centers. Whether it’s love and relationships, friends and relatives, or just getting your life together, we’ll share our candid and real thoughts with you… and through a cultural, gender, and class conscious lens. Drop an anonymous question or situation into the box, and let the fun begin!

Let it Burn

            Ruthie Foster’s new album, Let it Burn, is out! We’re all excited and decided to post this interview with Ruthie to give you a taste of what she’s about. LA Times wrote a blog about her upcoming album, here’s the link:  Let it Burn

What’s playing in your iPod right now?

I have Sheryl Crow, Billie Holiday, Eminem and Annie Lennox in rotation right now on my iPod. It changes, depends on whether I’m working out or just chillin.

One of my favorite albums of yours is Crossover. I like it because it seemed like you wanted to do something different with your music. It’s more acoustic and seems to delve into the Indie realm. What brought about that album and the change in sound?

My Crossover CD really was about getting the songs that didn’t belong to any particular genre out and I wanted them to be heard; so because of economic reasons I did it at my home studio. “To The Fallen” was written in memory of the 12 Texas A & M students who were killed while building the homecoming bonfire when it fell. On a lighter note if you listen to it with headphones on you may also hear my cats on the other side of the door protesting my locking them out of the room so I could put down my vocal tracks!

I noticed that in the press you’re often compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin. What do you say to that?

I do admire both Ella Fitzgerald (saw her perform at Radio City Music hall once, I used the money I’d saved to get my apartment electricity turned on…money well spent I’d say and I was happy to sit in the dark after seeing Ella live!). I also grew up listening to a lot of Aretha so maybe in some way I might be channeling these particular women through my own voice. It’s nice to be recognized in this way.

I read that your music started in the church but do you feel that there was a cultural influence to your music? Do you believe culture influences music?

 I got my taste in music through blood and culture. I’m a child of the 70’s variety tv shows when a lot of artists did all kinds of music. When the lines between genres were blurred quite a bit. Variety shows and musicians would swing and twang all in one hour. My family were farmers who loved country music, one of my uncles was a trucker who loved soul and r&b who passed down records to me. My older cousins were always listening to funk music and my dad is a huge Howling Wolf and Lightnin’ Hopkins fan.

The message you convey through your music is “stay true to yourself” which I think really speaks to the college students here. What brought about that message?

The message about staying true to yourself is the lesson that I’ve learned and remind myself of in this industry. There is true joy and freedom in just being who you really are. I find that the people who pick up on this energy let their guards go down and they find themselves enjoying more of everyday life. If you neglect this part of yourself you’re not only denying your own happiness and the joy of discovering what you’re here on earth to do but you’re denying others who could truly benefit from it as well. We are all here to do phenomenal things.

Convivio at the CLSRC

I like to think I know everything about everything. As it turns out, I didn’t know what a convivio was! Laura Tejeda, our student program coordinator for the CLSRC, described convivios as a gathering of friends and/or family in which the people involved share the current happenings of their lives (food is usually involved). Her definition certainly rang true for the turn out of the event. On Wednesday, October 12, dozens of students crowded in the CLSRC as Laura gave a brief introduction of the center and its Fall 2011 event season. Afterwards we went around the room and shared a little bit about ourselves, just like a REAL convivio! As we shared and listened to stories, we were tortured by the sensational aroma of tortas! That’s right, tortas!  There were so many students eagerly waiting to devour the tortas that we were afraid there wouldn’t be enough! I decided to take one for the team and pass on the tortas but I’m sure they were delicious. Laura did a wonderful job hosting her first event of the CLSRC’s Fall event season. Our convivio at the CCC reminded me of Sunday dinner at my grandparent’s house. I’ve been having convivios with my family my entire life and I wasn’t even aware.

An Introduction…

“With a commitment to increasing cross-cultural awareness, we offer a wide variety of programs and services that explore both the shared and unique experiences, histories, and heritages of our diverse community.” –Excerpt from the CCC’s Mission Statement

            Hello world! Welcome to our new blog! We are the Cross Cultural Centers at California State University, Los Angeles. A few of our students here have been tasked with applying this mission statement to the World Wide Web. We couldn’t be more excited. Amelia, Shane and I will post all kinds of articles, pictures and media pertaining to diversity, social justice and cultural events on and off campus. Follow us  for information on different art, music, food, people, places, events and more.