July 13, 2024

Studies, Service Secure Civic Internship for Philosophy Major

Kate McDaid came to the University of Mary Washington to make a difference. Her classmates would show her the way. Inspired by her fellow students’ strong sense of service, McDaid followed suit. The UMW junior found purpose by getting involved – and secured an internship with a nonprofit that encourages civic engagement among students. Now, […]

LGBTQ Oral History Project Highlights Alumni Pride

Recruited to play field hockey at the University of Mary Washington, Chrissy Bowdren ’11, then a freshman, left practice to get her picture taken for her EagleOne card. Sweating in her uniform, she saw a familiar face in line. She teased her new teammate, Nicole, for being freshly showered and made up, but it was […]

25th Anniversary for Day of Silence, Friday, April 24

The following message is from the Office of Equity and Access.

Friday, April 24th, will mark the 25th Anniversary for Day of Silence*. We are asking the UMW Community to virtually participate in this vital event. We may not be able to create a rainbow of shirts on the grass of Ball Circle, but the UMW community continues to affirm an inclusive and supportive community for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) citizens and allies. We can demonstrate this by letting our voice be heard via #UMWisHOME and we must #breakthesilence.

Here is a toolkit to help make your voice heard on Friday, April 24th, during the Annual Day of Silence:

  • At 12pm, create a virtual “Moment of Silence” by posting our unified image to your individual or UMW affiliated accounts on social media. Please see attached images for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can add any of the following information from GLSEN to your post:

o   Our silence is LOUD!

o   I’m staying silent on GLSEN’s Day of Silence, a national youth movement highlighting the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school.

o   Nearly 4 in 5 LGBTQ students don’t see positive representation in their curriculum, nearly 9 in 10 experience verbal harassment, and almost a third miss school because they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

  • At 4pm, “Break the Silence!”

o   By answering the prompt, I AM BREAKING THE SILENCE BY…?

  • Submit to PRISM for a re-post:
  • DM PRISM (@umwprism) with your story
  • Email PRISM (umwprism@gmail.com) with your story
  • Your name will not be shared through the repost nor will you be tagged. However, pictures and/or videos are not private if we repost them.
  • Post your response to your social media account, if it is a safe space for you to do so.

o   Follow PRISM (@umwprism) on Instagram to view submitted prompt responses.

In keeping with our values outlined in ASPIRE, join us in celebrating the 25th Annual Day of Silence.

People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual and Gender Minorities (PRISM)
Center for Prevention and Education
James Farmer Multicultural Center
Office of Title IX
Safe Zone
Talley Center for Counseling Services
Vice President for Equity and Access & Chief Diversity Officer

Information on resources and support can be found on SAFE ZONE’s webpage.

* Day of Silence was first organized by a student at the University of Virginia in 1996 as part of a class project. The following year almost 100 colleges and universities participated, making it a national event. College and university students have driven and participated in many movements throughout history, and the UMW Community is no exception. This includes Day of Silence powered by PRISM, a student-led organization that promotes the values of diversity and acceptance of students of sexual and gender minorities.

In 2000, Day of Silence became an official initiative with GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network).

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 […]

PRISM Leader Receives Diversity Leadership Award

Erin Shaw ’19 was once content to keep to herself. Then she came to the University of Mary Washington, where a club meeting ultimately connected her with people from all walks of life. Soon, she was on the executive board of People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual and Gender Minorities (PRISM), advocating for […]

UMW Announces Recipient of Citizenship and Diversity Award

Cara Wimberley of Blacksburg, Virginia, has been named the 2014-2015 recipient of the University of Mary Washington’s Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership. The annual award is given to a rising senior enrolled as a full-time student in an undergraduate degree program at UMW. The student must maintain high academic standards, possess characteristics of leadership and make a personal commitment to advocating an appreciation for diversity and inclusion on campus. Cara Wimberley As the award recipient, Wimberley will serve as an active spokesperson for diversity inclusion, a peer mentor to students and a voice for underrepresented populations. “Cara recently spent a semester abroad at Al-Ahliyya Amman University in Jordan studying Arabic and taking other courses about Middle Eastern culture and history,” said Marion Sanford, director of multicultural affairs. “The experience opened her eyes to many global, social and political issues and further enhanced her leadership skills, as well as increased her understanding of different cultural environments.” During her UMW career, the psychology major and linguistics and Middle Eastern studies minor served as secretary and vice president of People for the Rights of Individuals of Sexual Minorities (PRISM) and participated in the Cross-Cultural BBQ, Arab Culture Night, Day of Silence and Multicultural Fair. Wimberley will be a peer mentor in the InterLink Mentor Program with the Center for International Education this year. “Her studies at UMW and abroad have encouraged her to work toward causes that promote diversity, equality, social justice and cultural awareness,” Sanford said. “Cara’s UMW and study abroad experiences have taught her that being a leader means learning about diverse identities and cultures in order to best understand the richness of community.” Wimberley plans to use the Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership as an opportunity to address social justice and diversity issues that impact members of the UMW community and beyond. She aspires to continue these efforts after graduating.​

Day of Silence, 4/20

It is that time of year again – the UMW Day of Silence is Friday, April 20.  If your department didn’t donate, you can still get a shirt!

If you are unfamiliar with what the Day of Silence is, check out this video by Anand Rao’s Social Movements Class from Spring 2011:

Come to the front of Lee Hall between 11 and 2 this week and next week until we run out!


GLBTTQQIAAP Celebration| Stand Out! Speak Up!| (October 19-28)


If all people are to get the same opportunities and rights, then everyone must Stand Out! Speak Up! Societal norms seem to be shifting, queer rights and other GLBTTQQIAAP issues are becoming more prevalent in American politics. There have been legal victories, but there’s still a long way to travel on the road to egalitarianism. Join PRISM – People for the Rights of Sexual Minorities – and the James Farmer Multicultural Center to celebrate the courage to stand out and speak up for one’s beliefs and values.

GLBTTQQIAAP Kickoff Celebration
October 19
4-6 p.m., Ball Circle
(Rain location: Great Hall,Woodard Campus Center)

PRISM welcomes the entire campus community to share in a kickoff celebration that fuses food, live music, and fun. Read “PostSecret” style coming-out stories and be inspired by the experiences, struggles, and victories of your peers.

In this corner….. Fight for Your Rights Panel Discussion
October 20
6 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411

Join faculty, staff, and students as they discuss the many issues facing queer students at UMW. Learn about resources and tools that encourage positive change so you’ll be equipped to Speak Up!

PRISM Prom – Rio Carnival
October 22
8 p.m., Great Hall,Woodard Campus Center
Cost: $3
(Formal attire strongly encouraged)

Standing out at the high school prom might have made for a bad memory, but the memorable PRISM Prom can help undo all that. Look great and proudly stand out while you enjoy all the prom’s trappings – music, dancing, photos, and refreshments.

Changing Time, Changing Policies?
Debate on Protected Classes
October 24
6 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411

UMW students debate whether sexual orientation and gender identity should be protected classes in Virginia and whether they should be included in the non-discrimination policies of Virginia’s colleges and universities. Stand out and speak up on the issues that affect your community.

GLBTTQQIAAP Cultural Celebration Keynote Performer: Andrea Gibson
October 26
7 p.m., Lee Hall, Room 411

A powerful live performer, Andrea Gibson is the winner of the 2008 Women’s World Poetry Slam and has placed third in the world on two international poetry slam stages. With Gibson, the personal is political. Her themes deconstruct gender norms, sexuality, class, patriarchy, and white-supremacist capitalist culture.

Queer Film Festival
Featuring Milk and The Birdcage
October 27
6 p.m., Great Hall, Woodard Campus Center
(For mature audiences)

Milk tells the story of American gay rights activist Harvey Milk and his struggles as the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.

The Birdcage illustrates how standing out and speaking up can be difficult. A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to their son’s request to put up a straight front when his fiancée’s anti-gay, moralistic parents come to call.

DUCC Bullying Forum

The Diversity and Unity Coordinating Committee of UMW is to provide the UMW and Fredericksburg area communities with a Bullying Forum.  Faculty and administrators from UMW’s College of Education, Psychology Department, Counseling and Psychology Services and the Office of Judicial Affairs will facilitate the discussion and serve as experts
in their respective fields.  The purpose of the forum is to provide participants with an opportunity to productively discuss bullying as it comes into conflict with our communities.  Various forms of bullying and its repercussions will be explored from the perspective of the bully, the victims of bullying, as well as the onlookers of these acts.  The forum is scheduled for 6 o’clock in the evening Thursday, February 17, 2011 in Lee Hall Room 412 on UMW’s Fredericksburg campus.  For more information or questions, pleasecontact Lee Gilliam at lgilliam@mail.umw.edu.