NEIU’s Pedroso Center To Celebrate National Women’s History Month

Angie Ybarra, Writer

The U.S. Congress in 1987 declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. It took some time for Congress to recognize the significance of the celebration of Women’s History Month (WHM), having taken five consecutive years of petitioning Congress to vote for March as the month before it was recognized as such in March of 1987.


During the month of March, the NWH alliance is celebrating “The Women Who Tell Our Stories”. From the NWHA website,  “… NWHA will encourage recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth and reflecting the human condition decade after decade.”


With all that is going on within the United States with regard to women’s rights, the celebration of Women’s History Month takes on even more significance. To be a woman in today’s society is a challenge like never before. Some have always lived in a land where bodily autonomy has been a right without question. In some states, women and their allies are facing criminal charges for seeking life-saving medical assistance that goes against laws that have taken away a woman’s right to choose.


NEIU has provided opportunities for the NEIU community to take part in the celebration of National Women’s History Month. Since 2012, the Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs on the main campus has celebrated WHM. Every year, it has grown in size and has been celebrated in many diverse and inclusive ways.


The Independent interviewed a member of the organizing committee Fawn Elizabeth Pochel (they/she/kew), a Coordinator of Gender & Sexuality and Indigenous/Native American Community Relations at the Pedroso Center.


In response to a question about why they were interested in Women’s History Month, Pochel responded with  “White supremacy, settler colonial and heteropatriarchal violence are endemic to our society as a result of territorial conquest and chattel slavery. For me, Women’s History Month speaks to the role of women who have created liberatory pathways for us to resist the violence of American Exceptionalism and radically imagine a different society.” They went on to let the Independent know that with her capacity as a coordinator, she is someone that works directly with female/Femme students and is tasked with helping all history and heritage celebration months here at NEIU. Pochel is tasked with uplifting and learning about the history of underrepresented, marginalized and targeted groups all in the hopes of establishing networks and solidarity against any forms of discrimination of groups based on hate and misunderstandings.


One of the upcoming events the NEIU community can be involved in is the Menstrual Hygiene Donation Drive. Anyone can bring donations to the Pedroso Center on the main campus. There will be donation boxes set up in the lobbies of Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS) and El Centro campus. The items that are being sought are tampons, pads and panty liners in various sizes. Menstrual cups, wipes and any other hygiene products will also be accepted. NEIU is looking into a nonprofit to donate to at this time, said Pochel. The committee is also seeking to make a donation to an organization not yet determined that works directly with at-risk populations.


Be on the lookout for additional WHM events from other members of the committee and a finalized agenda. This event is a huge step in the right direction for women and allies of women’s causes to attend and take part in, to spread awareness of the ongoing issues for women and their allies. I myself look forward to taking part in as many of the upcoming WHM events as possible and I hope to see many others in the NEIU community become involved as well.



Visit the NWHA’s official website to get further information on their events and other ways you might be able to participate.