Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion
Celebrate Women’s History Month
Every March, the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion commemorates Women’s History Month. What began simply as a Women’s History Week in the United States has evolved into an entire month full of celebration, education, and commemoration of women who come before us. CMEI celebrates this month with all who identify as women including, but not limited to women of color, trans-women, queer women, and all other marginalized groups of women. On March 8th, we also recognize International Women’s Day. CMEI hopes to create programming and events with our partners to highlight and amplify the voices of women who are continuing to create change as well as champion for the women on the MSU Denver campus.
Keep scrolling to view all events for this month!
Tri-Institutional Events: Open to the Auraria Campus and Community
For events opened to the Auraria campus and community sponsored by the University of Colorado Denver Center for Identity & Inclusion, see flyers attached.
Intersectional Feminism/Women’s Empowerment
Monday, March 1st | 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
The Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion presents Feminista Jones as she discusses the importance of embracing intersectional feminism in the 21st century and how women can empower themselves and each other to be successful in their personal and professional lives.
Feminista Jones is a Philadelphia-based feminist writer, public speaker, retired social worker, and community activist. She is an award-winning blogger and the author of four books, including the critically acclaimed 2019 release, Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World From the Tweets to the Streets. Her writing and activism centers Black American culture, feminism, critical race theory, intersectionality, mental health, poverty, and women’s health and well-being. Feminista sits on the boards of the Wayfinder Foundation, a grant-making organization that invests in women making a difference in their underserved communities, and The Hope Center for Community College & Justice, a non-profit research organization that advocates for the needs of disenfranchised college students.
Wednesday, March 3rd | 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Join the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion and Zumba dance instructor, Arianna Benitez for a virtual Zumba session and discussion on the topics of women’s health and wellness.
Arianna Benitez was born in Mexico City, Mexico but raised in Erie, Pennsylvania and currently lives in Denver, Colorado. She’s been passionate about Zumba since attending her first class in 2010 and has been an instructor since 2011. She brings high energy as well as sexy, urban, “east coast swag” vibes which are contagious and makes her classes extra fun. Her goal as an instructor is that when students come to her class, they feel powerful, successful, and happy! She aims to provide a full package of empowering the mind, body, and soul.
Honestly Nae: COVID-19 & Dating
Thursday, March 4th | 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Have you been struggling to date during COVID-19? The Phoenix Center of Auraria and the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy invite you to join us for a workshop facilitated by Sex Educator, Shanae Adams, who will be unpacking all things related to dating safely and navigating the challenges of a global pandemic!
Out in Public Service
Monday, March 8th | 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
The Out in Public Service event will host a panel of prominent leaders within the LGBTQ+ community who have held impactful roles within public service.
Indigenous Midwifery & Birth Ceremony
Friday, March 12th | 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
In celebration of Women’s History Month, please join the Native Indigenous Student Alliance and the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion in a virtual conversation with Nicolle Gonzalez on Indigenous midwifery, traditional birthing practices, and birth ceremony from a Diné (Navajo) perspective.
Nicolle Gonzales is a Dine’ Nurse-Midwife from the Navajo Nation, she grew up in the Four Corners of New Mexico and now lives in the Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is an indigenous feminist, published author, inspirational speaker, marathon runner, free-lance consultant and healer on the path. She has dedicated her life to addressing Native American maternal health disparities around access to care while reclaiming indigenous birthing practices and supporting the return of indigenous midwives to communities. She is the Founder and Midwifery Director at the Changing Woman Initiative, a Native American-led women’s health collective dedicated to renewing cultural birth knowledge to empower and reclaim sovereignty of indigenous women’s medicine, while creating the countries first Native American birthing center.
Inspiration for the work that Nicolle is currently doing has come from serving on two non-profit birth center organization boards as Board Chair and Vice Chair. She has presented at midwifery conferences over the years on Indigenous midwifery, Native American Women’s Health, and the importance for birth ceremony. She is currently a contributing writer to the on-line magazine Indigenous Goddess Gang. Nicolle’s writing and advocacy has elevated the need for healthy policy changes in rural tribal communities around access to culturally congruent birth and well woman services.
Nicolle Gonzales received her Bachelor’s of Nursing from the University of New Mexico and returned to get her Master’s degree in Nurse-Midwifery after working as an OB nurse for 10 years. Through her leadership and motivation with Changing Woman Initiative, they have also created a pilot Indigenous Midwifery Student Fellowship program to support the next generation of Indigenous Midwives.
In addition to her non-profit and policy work, she uses her experience and expertise as a consultant to help Native American tribes and heath care organizations address system changes impacting maternal health outcomes in their communities. Having spent the last 20 years learning about Native American maternal health and birth ceremony, she provides training for Indigenous birth workers in New Mexico.
Femme Hip Hop
Friday, March 19th | 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Join the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion and dance instructor, Gina Medina for a lesson in Femme Hip Hop. Through conversation and choreography, Gina will encourage attendees to embrace their bodies and beauty as a form of self-love and expression.
Gina Medina is a 24-year-old dancer, born and raised in Boulder, Colorado. She found her love for dancing at the age of 6 and since then, her dream of becoming a professional dancer and teacher has been in the works. She has been teaching and moving throughout the Colorado dance community for as long as she can remember. She started with hip hop and slowly started exploring many other styles such as whacking, salsa, Afro and more. Her dance classes are safe spaces where dance is used to find inner confidence through movement. Gina has taught at many studios including Block 1750, Streetside, and EVQ Dance Studio.
Walking In Her Boots
Tuesday, March 30th | 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
The Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion and the Urban Leadership Program presents Major General Angie Salinas, United States Marine Corps (Retired), CEO Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. General Salinas made history when she became the first Latina selected and promoted to the general officer ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps. General Salinas will join the MSU Denver community in a conversation around breaking through glass ceilings and women in leadership. Please join the CMEI and ULP in what promises to be an exciting conversation about leadership and life.
Angie Salinas, Major General U. S. Marine Corps (Ret) has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT) since July 1, 2015. Prior to becoming the CEO, she served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 39 years. A woman of many firsts, she made history as the first Latina selected and promoted to the general officer ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of her retirement in September 2013, she was the senior ranking woman and the senior Hispanic in the Corps.
A Girl Scout alumna, Salinas is a role model to girls and women seeking to break through the glass ceiling. She is a trailblazer, serving as the first woman in multiple assignments that include Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and the Western Recruiting Region, Assistant Chief of Staff for plans and policy of a major combatant organization, command of a recruiting district and as the ground major’s combat service support monitor. Her personal decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit with gold star; the Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars; the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; the Army Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars.
Salinas’ accolades extend past her military experience. She has been recognized with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Tribute to Women Business Leaders Hope Award, the San Antonio Business Journal Women’s Leadership Award, and American Latino Influencer Valor Award. In 2016 she was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, Hispanic Women in Leadership Hall of Fame and received the TAMACC Woman of Distinction and Hope Hispanic Heritage award. She was named an inaugural Top Latino Leader by the National Diversity Council and was awarded the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Leadership Award; the Hispanic Heritage of Texas Estrellas de Texas; Lifetime Achievement awards from Latina Style Magazine; Women’s International Center’s Living Legacy Award; as well as being named one of 15 Phenomenal Women by Latina Magazine and one of six Power Latinas by Vivala.com.
Salinas serves on the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, The First Tee of Greater San Antonio, Prospera Housing Community Services, Blue Skies of Texas, and the Young Marines National Board. She is a graduate of Masters Leadership Program San Antonio, a member of Excel Beyond the Bell, National Association of Women’s Business Owners, the Southwest Research Institute Advisory Trustees, San Antonio Area Foundation-Women and Girls Development Fund, and the Nonprofit Council. She serves on the San Antonio Airport System Development Committee,
A native of Alice, Texas, she holds a Master of Arts from the Naval War College and a bachelor’s degree from Dominican College of San Rafael, California. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dominican University in 2015 and named a Distinguished Alumni in 2016.
Roadrunners Lead the Way: Empowering Women on Campus
Wednesday, March 31st | 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
The Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion and Ignite proudly present in an interactive workshop about women in leadership. Join Amina Bouayad and Jessie Jennett in conversation about how women can develop their leadership goals and impact their communities. Our speakers will elevate women seen as leaders in academia, the work force, and other institutional roles and relate it to work and initiatives occurring here at MSU Denver. This workshop will also double as a panel and networking opportunity with special guests from the Roadrunner family. The workshop will inspire attendees to embrace leadership and nurture interest not only in on-campus leadership positions but roles in community organizing, businesses, and governing capacities. The workshop will provide attendees with resources to support them in that process.
Amina Bouayad is a first-generation college graduate and earned her bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from the University of Denver. Born and raised in Colorado, her passion for education was cultivated by a desire to serve local communities in a sustainable way. She aims to support and celebrate underrepresented college students through culturally based programming. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Higher Education. Amina likes to dance and read and typically spends her free time hanging out with one of her five siblings.
Jessie Jennett transferred to MSU Denver in 2019, she will be graduating in May with her B.A. in Interdisciplinary studies focused on Global Development and Public Policy. Financial challenges pushed her to leave college briefly to work full time under Senator Brittany Pettersen and Representative Kerry Tipper as one of their lead field organizers in the 2018 election. She then worked as a Legislative Aide for Colorado State Representative Monica Duran during the 2019 legislative session. Over the last 4 years, she has been guided by many leading women across the spectrum of leadership including those from Uganda, East Africa and has been able to learn under various forms of leadership dealing with diverse issues and political structures. She now serves as a fellow for Ignite national, empowering young women to value their leadership skills and potential and run for positions of power. She is also a current Senator in the Student Government at MSU Denver.
Want to Learn More?
In celebrating women’s contributions to history, culture, and society, below are additional resources:
Why do we celebrate Women’s History Month?:
- History – reflection of women’s overlooked contributions within society and history.
- Library of Congress – resources to commemorate and encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.
- International Women’s Day – global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women, took place for the first time on March 8, 1911. The United Nations has sponsored International Women’s Day since 1975.
- National Women’s History Museum – online presence and museum to tell the stories of women who transformed our nation.
- United Collegiate Women’s Leadership Conference - an interactive transformational experience where women from all walks of life come together to understand the authentic leader they have within themselves, while preparing them to tackle critical issues facing their campus and larger communities.
Sister Circles is a group for women of self-identified women of color who gather as a collective community. This group was designed to provide a secure space for women of color to explore their identity/s, discuss challenges and strengths, and explore the needs of women in different spheres of life. Sister Circles has a priority goal of gathering women of color together in order to create a space for healing, encouragement, understanding, learning, strength, growth, and empowerment along with engaging in inclusivity.