November 11, 2019

Mary Washington Casts Vote for Participation on Election Day

Forty-five students registered to vote during UMW’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

Forty-five students registered to vote during UMW’s celebration of National Voter Registration Day. Photo by Matthew Sanders.

When voters from across Virginia voice their opinions at the polls tomorrow, UMW students will be among them. That’s thanks in part to rides being offered all day to students who wish to cast ballots.

“Civic engagement isn’t just an idea at Mary Washington,” said Sarah Dewees, Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), which will provide rides, along with UMW Votes, Citizens for Democracy and other campus groups. “It’s a way of life.”

With a voting rate higher than the national average – and lots of planning and energy – UMW students have worked all year to keep it that way, from prepping voters for trips to the polls to establishing a “2020 Day on Democracy,” allowing classes to be cancelled on Election Day next year.

“When individuals miss their opportunity to vote, they miss their chance to have their voices heard,” said UMW Voting Ambassador Kayli Ottomanelli, a junior who cited issues that matter to undergrads, like tuition rates and student loan debt. “When younger generations don’t turn out to vote, we’re allowing older generations to decide on these significant matters for us.” Read more. 

Call for Programs: Women’s History Month Celebration

Women’s History Month – March 2020

The Women’s History Month Planning Committee invites members of the University of Mary Washington community to submit program proposals for the annual Women’s History Month Celebration!

This year’s theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote:  Victories and Untold Stories.

Visit students.umw.edu/multicultural/programs/womens-history-month/ or contact JoAnna Raucci (jraucci@umw.edu) for more information.

Alum Celebrates Identity, Inclusion at Gender and Sexual Minorities Event

For Ted Lewis ’04, the process of embracing being nonbinary began at Mary Washington. Now executive director for a Richmond-based nonprofit, Lewis – who uses they/them pronouns – helps Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth discover their own fully authentic selves. This week, Lewis returns to UMW to share personal experiences of coming out and organizing LGBTQ+ youth […]

Freedom Rides Tour a ‘Life-Changing’ Experience

Last weekend, a group of 21 area residents joined 46 Mary Washington students, as well as UMW faculty and administrators, to trace the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. and the organization he co-founded, Congress for Racial Equality. Photo by Lynda Allen.

Last weekend, a group of 21 area residents joined 46 Mary Washington students, as well as UMW faculty and administrators, to trace the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides, the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel, organized by the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. and the organization he co-founded, Congress for Racial Equality. Photo by Lynda Allen.

Stafford resident Frank White joined the Air Force in 1957, three days after finishing high school. Stationed in Texas, he traveled by Greyhound bus to visit his family in Virginia. For days and nights, he remained dressed in his uniform, sitting quietly in the back as the bus barreled through the deep South.

“Don’t make waves, don’t draw attention to yourself,” the young airman was warned by his African American superiors.

Mr. White remembered those travels as he sat at the front of the bus last weekend, one of 21 area residents who joined 46 UMW students, as well as faculty and administrators, to trace the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides during fall break. This social justice experience celebrates Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the late civil rights pioneer and Mary Washington history professor who orchestrated the historic protest to desegregate interstate travel.

After the success of last year’s civil rights trip, James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC) Director Marion Sanford and Assistant Director Chris Williams wondered what they could do to make this one even more meaningful. With the 100th anniversary of Dr. Farmer’s birth approaching and the University announcing a centennial celebration in his honor, they decided to dedicate this year’s experience to his signature movement and lifelong commitment to social justice. Read more. 

Alum Celebrates Identity, Inclusion at Gender and Sexual Minorities Event

Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies Cultural Celebration keynote speaker Ted Lewis ’04.

Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies Cultural Celebration keynote speaker Ted Lewis ’04.

For Ted Lewis ’04, the process of embracing being nonbinary began at Mary Washington. Now executive director for a Richmond-based nonprofit, Lewis – who uses they/them pronouns – helps Virginia’s LGBTQ+ youth discover their own fully authentic selves.

This week, Lewis returned to UMW to share personal experiences of coming out and organizing LGBTQ+ youth at universities and communities throughout the South. They spoke with students as part of the Gender and Sexual Minorities and Allies Cultural Celebration in the Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium yesterday at 7 p.m.

“Being authentic saved my life,” said Lewis, who recalled how powerful it was to connect with LGBTQ+ elders in college. “I’m eager to provide that experience to UMW students.” Read more. 

UMW Launches Centennial Celebration, ‘Farmer Legacy 2020’

For the University of Mary Washington, 2020 will be a particularly significant year. As civic engagement ramps up for the national election next November, UMW will celebrate several institutional milestones, including the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the tenth anniversary of UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.

UMW will honor the legacy of Dr. James Farmer, who taught at Mary Washington, during a yearlong celebration.

UMW will honor the legacy of Dr. James Farmer, who taught at Mary Washington, during a yearlong celebration.

And, in recognition of Dr. Farmer’s activism and determination to, in his own words, “do something about” injustice, Farmer Legacy 2020 will encourage the campus and surrounding community to take action in support of inclusive excellence. We will ask: What would Farmer fight for today? Moreover, January 12, 2020, will mark the centennial birthday of civil rights pioneer and UMW professor Dr. James Farmer. In commemoration, UMW will launch a year of reflection and a drive for action called Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Action. With Farmer Legacy 2020, the University will focus on Dr. Farmer’s indelible imprint on U.S. history – and on UMW specifically. Through several signature events, Dr. Farmer’s influence and other social justice milestones will be celebrated.

As a boy in Marshall, Texas, James Farmer felt his heart “swell with rebellion” when he witnessed the injustices of Jim Crow. In 1942, 22-year-old Farmer co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which organized several protests of segregated facilities in the 1940s and 1950s. CORE, under his leadership, led the 1961 Freedom Rides into several southern states, including Virginia, to test Supreme Court rulings that outlawed segregation in interstate transportation and bus terminals. After moving to Spotsylvania County in the early 1980s, Farmer served as Distinguished Professor of History at Mary Washington College from 1985 until his retirement in January 1999, shortly before his death later that year.

Earlier this week, a group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members returned from a four-day replication of the original Freedom Rides Tour. This tour, organized and led by the University’s James Farmer Multicultural Center and Office of Equity and Access, included two buses and several faculty guides. The buses followed the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides and visited sites along the way, such as the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Anniston bus bombing, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

The Freedom Rides trip and other events this fall form a prelude to UMW’s yearlong celebration in 2020 of a Mary Washington icon and the values he exemplified. Community members are encouraged to join students in becoming a force for positive social change. Plan to visit the Farmer Legacy 2020 website throughout this year of commemoration to learn more about events and activities.

Freedom Rides Tour Brings Memories, Emotions

Stafford resident Frank White joined the Air Force in 1957, three days after finishing high school. Stationed in Texas, he traveled by Greyhound bus to visit his family in Virginia. For days and nights, he remained dressed in his uniform, sitting quietly in the back as the bus barreled through the deep South. “Don’t make […]

UMW Launches Centennial Celebration, ‘Farmer Legacy 2020’

For the University of Mary Washington, 2020 will be a particularly significant year. As civic engagement ramps up for the national election next November, UMW will celebrate several institutional milestones, including the 30th anniversary of the James Farmer Multicultural Center and the tenth anniversary of UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.

UMW will honor the legacy of Dr. James Farmer, who taught at Mary Washington, during a yearlong celebration.

UMW will honor the legacy of Dr. James Farmer, who taught at Mary Washington, during a yearlong celebration.

And, in recognition of Dr. Farmer’s activism and determination to, in his own words, “do something about” injustice, Farmer Legacy 2020 will encourage the campus and surrounding community to take action in support of inclusive excellence. We will ask: What would Farmer fight for today? Moreover, January 12, 2020, will mark the centennial birthday of civil rights pioneer and UMW professor Dr. James Farmer. In commemoration, UMW will launch a year of reflection and a drive for action called Farmer Legacy 2020: A Centennial Celebration and Commitment to Action. With Farmer Legacy 2020, the University will focus on Dr. Farmer’s indelible imprint on U.S. history – and on UMW specifically. Through several signature events, Dr. Farmer’s influence and other social justice milestones will be celebrated.

As a boy in Marshall, Texas, James Farmer felt his heart “swell with rebellion” when he witnessed the injustices of Jim Crow. In 1942, 22-year-old Farmer co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which organized several protests of segregated facilities in the 1940s and 1950s. CORE, under his leadership, led the 1961 Freedom Rides into several southern states, including Virginia, to test Supreme Court rulings that outlawed segregation in interstate transportation and bus terminals. After moving to Spotsylvania County in the early 1980s, Farmer served as Distinguished Professor of History at Mary Washington College from 1985 until his retirement in January 1999, shortly before his death later that year.

Earlier this week, a group of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members returned from a four-day replication of the original Freedom Rides Tour. This tour, organized and led by the University’s James Farmer Multicultural Center and Office of Equity and Access, included two buses and several faculty guides. The buses followed the route of the 1961 Freedom Rides and visited sites along the way, such as the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Anniston bus bombing, and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

The Freedom Rides trip and other events this fall form a prelude to UMW’s yearlong celebration in 2020 of a Mary Washington icon and the values he exemplified. Community members are encouraged to join students in becoming a force for positive social change. Plan to visit the Farmer Legacy 2020 website throughout this year of commemoration to learn more about events and activities.

UMW Invites Community on Freedom Rides Bus Tour, Oct. 12-15

UMW is inviting community members to caravan along with students on its “Social Justice Trip: Freedom Rides Tour,” which will take place Oct. 12 through 15.

UMW is inviting community members to caravan along with students on its “Social Justice Trip: Freedom Rides Tour,” which will take place Oct. 12 through 15.

Will you get on the bus?

The University of Mary Washington is inviting members of the Fredericksburg community to join students on a trip of a lifetime. The Freedom Rides Tour – set to take place Saturday, Oct. 12, through Tuesday, Oct. 15 – traces the route of the history-changing 1960s bus rides across the American South. The social justice experience celebrates Dr. James L. Farmer Jr., the late civil rights icon and Mary Washington history professor, and his signature movement to enforce the desegregation of interstate travel.

Coordinated by UMW’s James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC) and the office of the Vice-President for Equity and Access, the tour is being coordinated in conjunction with UMW’s yearlong 2020 celebration of the 100th anniversary of Dr. Farmer’s birth. Read more. 

A Call to Civic Action: Making a Difference, Sept. 19 at 6PM

The James Farmer Multicultural Center and the UMW Center for Community Engagement invite all UMW students to a special program, A Call to Civic Action: Making a Difference, on Thursday September 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the Chandler Ballroom. At this event, following a welcome by President Troy Paino, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine will engage the audience in a discussion about the importance of the political and civic engagement of college students and the power of being an informed citizen.

Senator Kaine will be followed by a panel discussion with audience members on civic and political engagement featuring Brian Cannon, Executive Director for OneVirginia 2021; Joshua Cole, Political Candidate for Delegate 28th District, former Staff Assistant to the Clerk of the Virginia State Senate; Jacqueline Beaulieu, Organizer for NextGen Virginia; and Julia Romero, Deputy Pod Director for Take the Majority.

Dinner will be provided by Benny’s Pizza.