College awarded $1.2 mil for 'women of color' activists only

The City College of New York recently launched a $1.2 million program designed exclusively for “women of color” seeking to become “activist scholars.”

The program, called “Beyond Identity: A Gendered Platform for Activist Scholars,” was announced in August as a collaboration between the college and its Politics and Sexual Violence Initiative.

According to an August 29 press release on the matter, the program will be funded through a $1.2 million grant from the Novo Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on women’s issues.

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The press release notes that twenty students will be chosen for the program’s inaugural class, promising to “train young women of color from both immigrant and U.S.-based minority communities in identity-driven research,” which will allow participants to draw on their “lived experiences of discrimination to inform unique research agendas.”

Students selected for the program will not only be given research opportunities, but will be expected to begin their activism work, with expectations of completing at least “three movement building workshops” while working “paid internships with local activist movements.”

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Ultimately, the goal is to “build stronger political movements, creating solidarity through political lines,” Ana Puente Flores, a CCNY student who works for the new initiative told Campus Reform.

Flores praised the program’s emphasis on “lived experience,” saying that many issues worthy of research are rooted in women’s life experiences, such as “gender-based violence, the queer experience of women of color in the U.S., first generation narratives, the global migration crisis, and more.”

Using women’s personal experiences to inspire research is crucial, Flores told Campus Reform, because “without the personal in the political, the stories of young women remain footnotes in the often exploitative narrative that captures their lives.”

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Flores went on to confirm that the program is funded completely through the Novo Foundation’s grant and not public tax dollars, clarifying that “the category ‘women’ is inclusive of cis-sexual, transgender, and nonbinary forms of gendered identities.”

While she insisted that the program “does not discriminate on gender or race,” she declined to clarify how the program, which is exclusively for “women of color,” does not discriminate against men or white people.

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