Women gather to discuss rape culture and drug addiction among other topics
Mesa Community College (MCC) hosted the first Women’s Fishbowl gathering in March to discuss the experiences of woman leaders in the community. The discussion is called a fishbowl because participants gather in a circle, with speakers huddled discussing topics on the inside and guests listening sitting around them. The event was held at the Elsner Library and about 15 people attended. The March theme coincided with Women’s History Month and featured a dialogue with nine women from the community including members of the Women’s Rising club as well as business, political, and college leaders. Their professional and educational backgrounds ranged from social work and biology to political science and criminal justice.
The discussion was led by Elaissia Sears, community operations manager for an urban farm in Phoenix with a background in education and global studies. “It was cathartic. It was nice to kind of speak my truth and not hold it in so much,” Regina Thompson, a member of Women’s Rising and mentor at MCC, said. Thompson was a participant in the fishbowl as a speaker. Among the topics discussed were discrimination, intersectionality, violence against women, and the challenges of being an LBGTQ veteran in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era. Shadee Credle, a biology student at MCC and also a member of Women’s Rising said, “I feel it was really successful. More people need to listen instead of talking. I feel people sharing their truths and sharing what we’ve all been through brings us all closer.”
The MCC fishbowl event was organized by Erick Tanchez, program advisor of Student Life and Leadership. He has been involved with about a dozen fishbowls in the last two years where the topics ranged from consent, rape culture, drug addiction, Native American issues, LGBTQ issues, and homelessness. Tanchez said he wants to start similar conversations at MCC. “My focus is to find a way to teach people to coexist with each other,” Tanchez said. Among the plans for future MCC fishbowls to occur regularly in the Fall 2018 semester