On April 25th, FIRE had their Take Back Our Lives event. This included a rally/open-mic, march, and performance. It was a community event to bring together marginalized groups and reclaim space. They had about 100 people attend. Students and community members from all sorts of various sexes, religions, races, ethnicities, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, document status, and more, gathered to share their stories on campus.This unifying event brought visibility to those who are often silenced, especially in a red state like Kansas. They were met with cheers and honks of support from those throughout Aggieville as they marched through the area and back to campus, where they wrapped the night up with more performances and sharing.
For Valentine’s Day, Feminists Igniting Resistance & Empowerment (FIRE), URGE’s Kansas State chapter, had an event called “Good Sex” which brought great discussion among a group of 20 students around healthy sex – a positive sex/flirting workshop around healthy and mutually respectful relationships, led by an American Ethnic Studies professor, Isabel Millan. They also chalked during the week to raise awareness around domestic violence!
To celebrate Valentine’s Day and increase sexual health education at Kansas State University, FIRE distributed safe sex kits. Complete with dental dam, lube, gloves, a genitalia-shaped chocolate pop, and lots of condoms, the URGE chapter prepped their campus for the holiday weekend.
Over the past month Kansas has gained national attention for its highly restrictive voter id laws that now require Kansans prove their citizenship when registering to vote. Students at URGE chapters in the state have been outspoken and finding ways to mobilize around this issue. Abby Agnew, a member of FIRE at Kansas State University, was recently quoted in her school’s newspaper about how these laws negatively impact young people and discourages them even more from participating in the electoral process.
Last month the Kansas State University chapter, FIRE, hosted a screening of “The New Black” in honor of Black history month. The film discusses homosexuality in the black community and the influence of Christianity. After the screening there was a panel that was led by the filmmaker, Yoruba Richen. The panel discussed the relationship between civil rights and marriage equality. The event was co-sponsored with American Ethics Studies, Diversity Programming Council, DOW Center for Multicultural and Community Studies, and the English Department with over 200 students, faculty and staff in attendance.
Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (URGE) at KSU is a group dedicated to promoting gender and reproductive rights on campus while creating a place where voices of the Manhattan community can be heard and recognized. Our group is unapologetically sex positive and abortion positive; as an urge chapter, we are working to balance the power dynamic between our peers and campus administration while giving marginalized students a platform to voice their concerns. Our twitter handle is @ksuURGE