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Philly Beat: Women’s History Month Edition

in Campus Journal/Philly Beat by

We all witnessed almost three million inspiring individuals take part in the Women’s March and celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th, but it doesn’t stop there. It is currently Women’s History Month, and there are some incredible and eclectic events happening around Philadelphia, which celebrate the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.

  1.     Women’s Film Festival

Taking place from March 16-19 at the Kimmel Center and Prince Theater, the Women’s Film Festival features and celebrates the work of phenomenal artists and women in the film industry. Tickets vary in price and start at $8.

  1.     The Philadelphia Women’s Theater Festival

Launched on International Women’s Day, the Philadelphia Women’s Theater festival is staging “Period Play: Eight Anachronisms from the Future Past.” The local playwright Hannah Sciver states that the play is about “refracting tiny glimpses of women’s history through the prism of today,” while upholding a critical eye and acknowledging the growth that is still needed. Organizers recognize the play as the hope of progress to come, and tickets are around $10-15.

  1.     The Body Wails, The Body Restores

Happening on March 17 and 18, artists and choreographers from Chicago join the Painted Bride Art Center in exhibiting a series of performances that engage in themes of race, trauma, history and womanhood, that ends with a discussion lead by Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild; a cultural historian, anti-racist activist, and performer.

  1.     Dish It Up!

This one I will definitely be attending. Dish It Up Is a fundraising event based on a food competition featuring all female chefs. Tickets can be purchased online and donations can be submitted at the venue itself. The funds raised will support Women Against Abuse — a leading domestic violence organization comprised of advocates and service providers in Philadelphia.

  1.     Amplify! Black Women of the Movement Symposium

Featuring free admission, the African American Museum of Philadelphia, in collaboration with Independence National Historical Park and the Smithsonian Institute, have put together a symposium that both features and honors the work of African-American women which are often overlooked.

  1.     Philly Film Showcase

Taking place at the PFS Roxy Theater on Sansom Street, the film showcase and Friday reception will feature four screenings from female directors including: Amy Frear, Maaman Rezaee, Catalina Jordan Alvarez, and Lisa Jiang. The film showcase attendance fee runs on a pay-what-you-wish system.

  1.     Disrupting the Patriarchy 2017: Negotiating and Getting Things Done

Taking place at the Free Library Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC), a panel will teach the art of negotiation and how to get things done as a woman in a male-dominated society.

  1.     #SpeakUpPHL: A Feminist Art Workshop

This collaborative street event celebrates anything and everything to do with Women’s History Month. Sponsored by Blur and ishknits and New Century Trust, multiple prints of Blur’s iconic abstract ‘mouth’ in a range of colors that will be on multiple displays for anyone and everyone to fill with words, feelings and thoughts. The aim of #SpeakUpPHL is to celebrate the 135-year tradition of women speaking their minds, and once the displays have been filled up with words, they will be posted around various locations around the city.

  1. Roxane Gay: Difficult Women

Take part in a conversation with Roxane Gay, an American feminist writer, professor, editor and commentator. Engage in discussion about her recent story collection called “Difficult Women,” which explores both “the privileged and impoverished, the loved and forsaken – a beautiful cross section of modern America.” The function is taking place at Parkway Central Library on Friday March 24.  

Finding comfort and adventure in Philly

in Campus Journal/Columns/Philly Beat by

Geographically, I like to believe that Swarthmore is the best of both worlds —  the serene beauty of the gorgeous arboretum and the proximity of several major cities. As we are all aware, Swarthmore’s population is home to a plethora of backgrounds, too. It is home to people who have grown up eating different foods, celebrating different cultures, and engaging in a multitude of activities that the “Swat bubble” is unable to fully provide. Many of us have grown up in large cities, and miss the sense of dynamism the city exudes, and sometimes we forget that in our own vicinity there are so many places to go and things to see — that surprisingly make us feel completely at home.

I am a Kenyan national, with South Asian roots, and spent my whole life growing up in Dubai. I chose to write this column because Swarthmore’s proximity really aided my transition to college. It surprised me that when I first got to campus as a freshman and asked a few others around me what they would recommend in the area, there were little to no responses. I took the initiative and spent a significant portion of my first year exploring the region, dragging friends along with me, whether it was to a South Asian restaurant that provided me with the closest thing I would get to a home cooked meal, or finding a Middle Eastern restaurant or lounge that culturally made me feel like I was back in Dubai for the night. Along the way, we found some incredible hole-in-the-wall restaurants, karaoke lounges, salsa bars and more. Whatever we wanted to do or try was right there, we just had to find it.

Aside from offering a sense of homelike comfort — wherever that may be — the cities around us have so much more to offer: the incredible cosmopolitanism, people, restaurants, scenic views, parks and much more. Venture out and meet other students from neighboring colleges and universities through a mutual interest, and create new experiences. Explore and cross something off your bucket list. I truly believe that new experiences instill a new sense of appreciation for life, the things we enjoy, and a never-ending curiosity for everything we have yet to see and do. Ultimately, these experiences will affect the way in which we view and understand things. I urge all Swarthmore students to escape the somewhat repetitive social scene once in awhile, try something new, and explore the area around us. We are incredibly fortunate to be in the northeast, and it is up to us to really make the most of where we are.

After exploring and ultimately falling in love with the region, I am now taking it upon myself to recommend a few places to go around the area. I will be writing about restaurants, concerts, activities, events, museums, parks, historic monuments, and even some networking events. Many of these will be some of my personal favorites, along with recommendations given to me by others.
It is tough transitioning to a new ‘home’, but the little things you can do by getting off campus can keep you connected to your home and culture, as well as expose you to new ones. Get together with friends and go out and enjoy a meal that one of you misses eating at home, or engage in an activity you have always wanted to try. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and travel around, whether it is a mere 15 minutes into Philadelphia or further. Even travel itself provides time to think and observe new things such as culture, food, and history, ultimately giving rise to an incredibly enriching experience.


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