A Message from the Chair of WGS Regarding the 2016 Election

Dear and valued friends at Wake Forest,

The time leading up to the election was a very difficult one. President-elect Trump persistently made offensive comments about women, about the disabled, about Hispanics, about Muslims, about African Americans, and about many others. During these past few days, so many members of our community came to our office or met us at the walk-out rally on Friday, to cry, to share grief and fear over the relevant fact that they feel threatened and not safe in a new climate of threats and amid displays of hegemonic power, and, above all, over the fact that other fellow human beings would uphold those values of bigotry and hate, of misogyny and sexism, of racism and intolerance, and use them in language and actions designed to offend and attack other fellow human beings. We all know how dangerous it is to embrace values of hatred. Inciting violence can only produce more violence.

The mission at the heart of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is, above all, to “reject hatred and bigotry in any form.” For this reason, we cannot maintain a diplomatic silence in the face of attitudes and acts of racism, sexism, misogyny, and intolerance of any kind. This is no longer politics. It is civil discourse. We can only hope that President-elect Trump would reach out to those whom he denigrated, and begin to apologize for his vicious attacks, thus creating a counter-trend.

In Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies we will carry on with our mission. We will need to stand up for the values of tolerance and respect, for diversity and difference. More than ever before, in our teaching and scholarly research, we are compelled to fight for social justice and defend the very values of democracy that are at the basis of civil society, as well as at the basis of our institutional, pro humanitate goals.

In WGS we will continue to work hard to promote the mission of social justice through the study of gender at the intersections of issues of class, race, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation. In the coming months, and beyond, we are going to work with Institutes and Centers at Wake and devote particular attention to academic courses and programs that will encourage critical thinking around such issues. It is time to roll up our sleeves again, and re-energize the ongoing feminist struggle against bigotry and hatred. We will not be silent.

We hope you will be with us, in numbers, and in spirit.

Wanda Balzano
Chair and Associate Professor
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Wake Forest University

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