Peacock Scholarship

Moving on from the Pauw Wow: How Five Women of Color Made Change Happen

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For the past seven months, the women of Students for Peace and Justice have been committed to changing the newspaper's name. The following narrative, reflection and analysis is our story. I felt the need to write about our journey as organizers fighting for change. Furthermore, I wanted to write about how we as student organizers, who are also women of color, experience microaggressions, infantilization, and insecurities as we worked with other communities on campus. To resist our efforts from being invalidated and discredited, I have been documenting our work since August 2020. We first researched and presented the principal reasons why we had to change the newspaper's name. The "Pauw Wow" is a historical reference to the enslaver and settler-colonialist Sir Michiel Pauw, the Dutch mayor and administrator for Dutch West India Company who colonized parts of New Netherlands and directed the Company to import enslaved Africans from the colony of Brazil. The name itself is also an inexcusable example of cultural appropriation -- a covert example of white supremacy. For Saint Peter's University, which grounds itself in teaching its students to be "men and women for others," the active remembrance of Michiel Pauw through the "Pauw Wow" erases genocide, land theft, and the enslavement of African peoples throughout the beginnings of colonial America. But most importantly, it was our work and our names that deserve to be recorded. This paper will credit the women who were behind this name change: myself and four other women of color were behind this fight and wanted to be recognized. And in due course, this paper will also serve to document this decisive moment in Saint Peter's University history.

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  • 06/09/2021
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