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UW Students from Jackson Participate in Summer Women’s Conference

September 16, 2015
three young women standing arm-in-arm
Three University of Wyoming students from Jackson participated in a summer institute that focused on minority women’s issues. From left are Norma Lira, Bianca Infante and Alin Badillo on the University of New Mexico campus for the 2015 MALCS Summer Institute. (Vanessa Fonseca Photo)

Three University of Wyoming students from Jackson participated in the Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) Summer Institute that focused on minority women’s issues.

Alin Badillo, Bianca Infante and Norma Lira attended the MALCS (translation: Women Active in Letters and Social Change) Summer Institute at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., along with adviser Vanessa Fonseca, UW assistant professor of Latina/o studies and English.

MALCS is an all-volunteer national organization of Chicana, Afro/Asian-Latina, indigenous women, trans and gender non-conforming people that strives to represent and support such groups in its communities as well as in institutions of higher learning, according to the organization’s website.

The annual MALCS Summer Institute features intellectually challenging and creative papers produced by participants, performances, workshops, lectures and social activities. The theme of this year’s conference was “Honoring our Intersectionality: Our Migration Routes/Roots.”

Infante, an international studies and Spanish sophomore, presented at the conference a paper titled, “Empaca tus cosas, ya nos vamos: From Leon, Guanajuato to the U.S.,” her family’s migration story. Translated, it means “Pack your things, we are going.”

Infante wrote her family’s journey while taking a Latina/o studies course with Lilia Soto, a UW American Studies and Latina/o Studies assistant professor.

“I felt welcomed at my presentation, and I also felt that everyone who attended the presentation understood where I came from and made me feel comfortable,” Infante says.

Lira, a social science senior, says the conference was a personal inspiration.

“I was able to meet many amazing and inspirational mujeres (women) who have made it possible for young Chicanas/Indígenas to divulge and use their inner voice and strength,” Lira says. “This sacred space was created to foster and encourage personal and academic success amongst us mujeres. By simply being a part of this space, I internalized a strong spirit of unity and empowerment.”

Badillo says the conference will help with her academic goals. She is a senior in environment and natural resources/international studies, with a minor in gender and women’s studies and Latina/o studies.

“My experience at MALCS has been life-changing,” Badillo says. “This conference has introduced me to a family that will support me in my academic endeavors. The feeling associated with being at this conference simply cannot be described.”

Some of the MALCS sessions the students attended were “Life Experience”; “Testimonio and Intersectionality: Toward Embodied Dialogues of Wholeness”; “Transcendence Spoken Words and Gender Resistance, Positionality and Subjectivity”; “Languages of Resistance: Unsettling Our Linguistic Roots”; and “Recreating Space: Narratives of Las Madres.”

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