2018 Conference | March 17th, 2018 | Free Space, Our Space : Actualizing Freedom, Asserting Presence, Cultivating Power
The 33rd Annual Empowering Womxn of Color Conference, “Free Space, Our Space: Actualizing Freedom, Asserting Presence, Cultivating Power” is a declaration of the power and agency womxn of color possess in society. In the places we occupy — work, school, home, and wherever else we find ourselves — we have the right to exist freely. Freedom of self determination and self expression transforms how we navigate all spaces and define a future of inclusivity and community strength. When we allow ourselves the space to be free, our assertion of freedom disrupts and transcends the oppressive limits around us. When we assert our presence, we center not only our bodies, but our intellectual, emotional, spiritual and cultural contributions.
Through a series of innovative workshops, a panel discussion, and speakers, we will explore how we as womxn of color can declare our right to the space we need to thrive. As we proudly celebrate 33 years of the Empowering Womxn of Color Conference, we invite self- identified womxn of color of all ages, abilities, socioeconomic backgrounds, immigration statuses, gender presentations, sexual orientations, nationalities, religions, and cultural backgrounds to join us. Together, through discussion, community building, and healing we will define what ‘safe space’ means on our own terms.
EWOCC is a place specifically built by us and for us. Founded in 1985, EWOCC was one of the first conferences to present womxn of color with an opportunity to address the most pressing racial, class, and gender issues we face. As inheritors of this legacy we must work to ensure that EWOCC grows as a radically inclusive space. EWOCC is Our Space. It is our time to build and strengthen community, practice radical vulnerability, and manifest a future where our communities are protected.
Free Space, Our Space: Actualizing Freedom, Asserting Presence, Cultivating Power is a statement about holding space in a space that doesn’t hold space for us.
EWOCC is recognized to be one of the longest running conferences in the nation that addresses the needs and concerns of womxn of color. The conference brings together cutting edge womxn of color activists such as Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, Cherrie Moraga, Gina Palcado and Chrystos with Bay Area community leaders and academics (especially students) to discuss and strategize ways of impacting the current issues facing womxn of color.
EWOCC was founded in 1985 by a group of undergraduate students as their semester project for a DE-Cal (Democratic Education at Cal) class. The project, entitled “Women of Color in the United States,” received an overwhelmingly positive response, and students decided to organize another event with the help of the Graduate Assembly (GA), Berkeley’s graduate student government. In 1986, with the formation of the GA’s Graduate Women’s Project (GWP), it was decided to institutionalize this event and make the conference and annual project under the auspices of the GWP.
EWOCC was one of the first conferences to present women of color with an opportunity to address the racial, class, and gender issues facing American Indian, African American, Asian American, and Chicana/Latina women.