Goodbye From Kavin Shaw

Kavin Shah will be graduating with a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies and would love to go on to smash patriarchy upon leaving Ohio University. During Kavin’s year and a half of volunteering at the Women’s Center, he’s helped throw fundraisers for the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes March and the Future Women of Appalachia Etiquette Formal, designed programs for students who were assigned community service hours at the Women’s Center, served as the first Student Outreach Coordinator for Men’s Affairs, launched a three day series of Men’s Outreach events addressing masculinity, feminist inclusivity, and street harassment, and helped promote and work International Women’s Day. Whew!!

Some of Kavin’s favorite memories include, “Sharon Romina yelling at me for napping on the couch with my shoes on. Seeing Keri Gunther-Seymour’s Barbie Falls On Hard Times exhibit and listening to the women from the Rural Women’s Recovery Program react to it and discuss what the pictures said to them. Drinking wine and eating cheese and dressing fancy when Ambassador Tebelelo Sretetse came to visit. Playing computer games with Uma. Working the children’s area at the International Women’s Day Festival.”

On his time spent at the Women’s Center, Kavin has been able to take away so much from his involvement. “We got some hardcore sisters up in here. Athens is full of people watching each other’s backs and people forming communities. While I know we do need more women’s shelters, assault prevention resources, mentorship programs, and outreach, I’m continuously impressed with how hard people are working here for the benefit of others. I’ve learned that there are more people than I often realize who are seriously committed to a feminist vision.”

And some bits of advice Kavin would like to pass on:

“Don’t let the word politics scare you. Realize that politics can be anything. Your feelings are political, what you think you can achieve, your self-esteem, your dreams, what happens in your home, what happens in your classrooms—that’s all politics. You can be a revolutionary feminist in your everyday activities—by loving your body, by embracing your skin, by learning your heritage, by educating yourself, by believing you matter, by realizing the power of your voice, by writing, by speaking, by sharing your story, by analyzing, by finding what makes you you.”

“Don’t think about Women’s Studies class like regular class. Realize that the majority of learning you will do about feminism is going to come from the world outside of academics. Look at how people are treated. Ask people questions. Inquire. The bulk of being a feminist is asking the right questions—who holds the power? In whose interest is this done? Who listens to me? Who ignores me? Who taught me to believe what I believe? And from there you will start to find your own answers.”

“Get pissed off and run with it. Anger in reaction to injustice is often the birth of progress. Do not be afraid to be outraged when you see someone being mistreated. Anger is not un-feminine nor does it discriminate. Everyone gets angry, it’s just a matter of who uses it and puts it in to action. Be the one that transforms anger in to action. This doesn’t mean be mean. It means use your feelings of hurt to relieve the world of hurt. Use your feelings of exclusion to be more inclusive. Think of a time where you felt hated and use it to spread a message of love.”

“Never be afraid to talk to your WGS professors about your experiences with gender, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism etc. outside of the classroom. Your professors are people too. People who have worked really hard to get where they are and stay there—all because they had a vision of one day bringing feminism to you. Yes you. They are not only teachers, but also comrades in struggle. Through them I have learned the meaning of the word Sisterhood—the part in all of us that believes in no hierarchy of gender.”

“Most importantly, make yourself visible, whatever that may mean to you.”

Love,
Kavin

 

 

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About Ohio U Women's Center

The Ohio University Women’s Center serves and responds to the needs of OU women students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community. Founded in 2007, the center is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus climate for all members of the community through programs, resources, referrals, advocacy, and education. Located in Baker University Center 403.
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