On Tuesday, September 26, the Asian and Pacific Islander Center and Women’s Resource Center collaborated to educate students on historic feminist manifestos.
Navneet Singh is the coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center and the Interim Coordinator for the Asian and Pacific Islander Center. She is also currently a graduate student studying rhetoric and composition.
The event held was focused on discussing historic manifestos and how their patriarchy and resolutions can be connected to current day society. It was hosted by Navneet Singh and Lisseth Reyes, the Women’s Resource Center lead.
Q: What inspired you to create this event?
A: I think what really inspired me to do this event was the way I was inspired reading manifestos during my undergrad. I really went into a clear understanding that the core of my feminism comes from historical roots. I think that it was important to me to create this event to stir up conversation of what have women been going through that we don’t really talk about, but also as a culture. What kinds of things are we neglecting talking about?
Q: Why do you think this event is important to host?
A: To get people thinking and familiar with this archival work. It was important to me to create this event kind of stir up conversation of what have women gone through and what we don’t really talk about.
Q: What manifestos did you cover? Can you provide a summary of them?
A: One was written by the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery in Japan. That one was talking about a group of women that came together in community and wanted to hold Japan accountable for what they did to them. They also wanted some kind of formal apology that they never received. The manifesto also talked about the kinds of resolutions that they came together and talked about at the end of the meeting. The second manifesto was Resolutions written by Syrian Women during the General Union of Syrian Women in 1930. That one was talking about opposing polygamy, raising the issues of child marriage, having better education, having a certain age limit for folks to be married, their divorce laws, and things like that.
Q: What are common challenges people face when creating manifestos?
A: I think it’s just the formatting of it, but also really digging deep into it cause sometimes we don’t think about what we really value or believe in and what really drives us. So, I think maybe just the brainstorming aspect of it.
Q: Will there be any future events like this that you would like to host?
A: Yeah, we’re planning on hosting the second part in November, but maybe I’ll host it again in the Spring. It would be similar agendas, but different concepts and different manifestos.
Q: How does your culture affect your beliefs and values?
A: Being from 2 different cultures almost confused me a little bit in terms of my identity, but also made me really want to help folks find their own identity and themselves within their culture. I think that’s why I do the work I do.
Q: What are some of your personal values or beliefs related to women or Asian women that you applied during the event?
A: I think being able to advocate for voices that aren’t really heard, especially when we’re thinking from a global standpoint. I feel like there are issues going on like on the other side of the world that need to be talked about. I think that in my position, I am very honored to be here. And I feel like it’s my job to give voices to groups of people so we have an understanding that we have a privilege of being here and that should not be taken for granted.
Q: What is your experience with Feminist manifestos?
A: I took an intersectionality class during undergrad, and all we did was look at manifestos. So we understood the format, the function, the different kinds of ways people wrote manifestos, where and things like that. I haven’t really taught the formatting of manifestos, and I haven’t broken it down to folks the way I felt like I needed to until this event. When I taught last year as a TA, I let my students pick manifestos that they wanted to with for their final project paper, and they really liked working with them. A lot of them really enjoyed it, and they made it into a research project.