Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Perspective on Sorority Life

For many out there, rush season is in full force, and pledging has just begun, so sorority life has been on my mind. When I started college, I had a very narrow view of what it meant to be in a sorority. I saw the stereotype and knew that I wanted no part in any of it.

But, I soon found myself surrounded by a group of women I looked up to and cared for in a way I never thought possible outside of my family. Our road to pledging was far too long and hard to explain in a blog post, but what I got out of it is what really matters.

sorority sisters at a community serviceI've written before about how it helped me find my voice, but it also helped me become an activist - which I consider a critical part of my identity. I always had a compassionate personality and tried to find a solution to everything, but it didn't really translate into activism until I became an Hermana (sister). I then had the opportunity to find causes to work for and come up with creative ways to help. I got to advocate for what I believed in - women's rights and literacy - and get my message across to others.

And, of course, I got the love of my Hermanas. I've met intelligent, successful women who are always willing to lend a helping hand. We are supportive of each other and work together towards similar goals. It is hard to explain to people outside of our organization what it means to us, and it's even hard to explain to other Hermanas the unique connection we each have to our org. Thankfully, we don't ask too many questions.

picture with sorority sistersI've mostly given up on explaining the ins and outs of Greek culture to anybody outside. There are things that just can't be understood if you're on the outside, and it isn't worth it to try. But I do hope to get another perspective out there. It's a shame so many other women have to live through the stereotype, and I wish they could have had an experience that challenged, empowered, and changed them the way my process did for me.

What are your experiences in your organization, or as an outsider?

Monday, September 29, 2008

When in Zambia...

In April, I participated in a trip to Zambia, a nation in Southern Africa. I traveled with a group of nine – four men and five women. In advance of the trip, we were instructed on culturally-appropriate social behavior. The expectations for men and women were vastly different. We were told that women must wear skirts at all times in public. Shoulders must be covered. When shaking the hand of a man her age or older, a woman must grip her own forearm, bow her head and bend her knees in a curtsy to show respect. We practiced this move on each other, finding it mildly amusing, maybe patronizing, and more than a little bit sexist. But we knew we would do it because it was not our place to judge. We were to be guests in their homes, and when in Rome…yeah.

So we curtsied, over and over. Most shockingly, in the moment, in that time and place, it ceased to be amusing, patronizing or sexist. It simply was. And especially watching the Zambian women move through their world, we American women realized that things may not always be as they seem from afar. When we look across the oceans at the lives they lead, we’re looking through the lens of our own history, our own lives, our own brand of feminism. None of those things leave as much room for interpretation as they should.

I expected that I would observe timidity and deference among the Zambian women. Instead, they showed me what it means to be confident in your role and place in the world. I expected that always wearing skirts might make them feel stifled, but they moved so freely you would never know it wasn’t necessarily their choice of garment. I never doubted that Zambian women would be strong, but I didn’t expect that strength to be so visible and unapologetic. Even though they bow before their men, they are anything but powerless.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Forum: Visioning Reflections

In anticipation of tomorrow's Visioning Workshop, we wanted to hear from you!

For those of you who have participated in the Visioning Workshop, what was your experience like? Kelly shared her story yesterday, but we know there are many more out there.

For those who haven't participated or who'll be attending for the first time tomorrow, do you have any expectations, or questions you need answered?

Sometimes the roadmap we have for our own lives gets a little blurry, and the Visioning Workshop is a great way to focus it again. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just What I Needed

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes our first guest blogger, Kelly:

Kelly lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend, baby Jack and their dog, Pearl. Between feeding Jack and walking the dog, she produces websites and teaches clients how to budget their day-to-day cash flow.

My first summer in Manhattan, I stumbled upon TWM’s event page, which had a listing for a Visioning Workshop. The event description promised to help me manifest my heart’s desire. It promised to help me figure out where I was in my life and where I wanted to go next.

I had been living in the city for less than a year and was feeling rather out of my element. Back home, I had a small handful of familiar friends who helped me sort out my dreams and goals, but I was too busy working to create a similar circle in New York. I felt my life wasn’t really going the way I wanted it to; it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. This Visioning Workshop sounded like just what I needed!

As it turns out, I *loved* the workshop and I became a regular at the semi-annual workshops led by TWM’s founder, Kristina.

That winter, my boyfriend and I seriously began to consider having a child. Looking back, it’s crystal clear, but at the time I was convinced I wasn’t ready. After all, I had a (not terribly exciting) career to consider!

Come spring, I hustled back to the Visioning Workshop. I made a conscious effort to clear my mind. We began the process … and at the end of the day, I had a collage filled with fertility imagery – strong women with sturdy birthing hips, lots of kids, even a heron (which I mistook for a stork). I also had a kitchen set with three chairs pulled up to the table – presumably for my boyfriend, a child, and me. Apparently, I wanted to have a baby!

Now, 18 months later, I am the proud momma of Jack. He’s nearly four months old and I think he’s the cutest thing ever (not so much when he’s crying at 3am!).

I’m so glad I found the Visioning Workshop, The Women’s Mosaic, and Kristina. They have made my transition to New York and into motherhood easier and a lot more fun. I can’t wait to see what comes to light at the next workshop!

Visioning Workshop this Saturday

This Saturday is TWM's popular Visioning Workshop. We hope that if you're a woman in NYC and have a day to dedicate to yourself, you'll join us at the workshop.

VISIONING WORKSHOP: Using Your Creativity and Intuition to Gain Clarity, Find Focus and Manifest Your Dreams!

Come to TWM's popular and powerful semi-annual workshop for a creative, transformative afternoon where you will make a collage to manifest your heart's desire - and you may be surprised as to what that turns out to be. It's not unusual for participants to start new businesses, relationships, families or career paths as quickly as weeks or months after the workshop. If you are looking for both answers and results to help figure out where you are right now in your life and where you want to go next, this could be thing exact thing you need to push you forward and take you there...


COST: $65 for TWM Members $75 at the door; $110 for non-Members; $125 at the door
NOTE: For more details and to RSVP, email us

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Kindness Of A Stranger

I think Maine has always been one of my favorite states. I love New England in the summer and autumn months, and when the opportunity to go to the northernmost state in the region presented itself, I knew I had to go. With only one full day to really explore Portland, which is on the southeastern coast of Maine, I hoped that the weather would be pleasant enough for sailing. When I heard raindrops hitting the windows of my hotel room that morning, I had to replace these plans with tours through the Portland Museum of Art, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home and the Victoria Mansion. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the tumultuous history of Portland, and getting lost (and drenched) in its quirky streets.

As great as all of these tourist attractions were, it was my brief meeting with a friendly waitress at a well-known neighborhood restaurant that I will remember most. From the moment Kelly seated me and my parents at our table, we felt a genuine connection to her that was anything but fake. She introduced us to some unique local produce, told us about upcoming events and places of interest in Portland, and gave us directions by drawing simple street maps on some note paper. Kelly went out of her way to give us advice without any benefit on her part, and that is quite rare. By the time I went back to the hotel that evening, I almost forgot about the rain and my failed plans to sail.

There is something to be said about the kindness of strangers, especially when traveling. I hope to meet more people like Kelly in my future sojourns. Have any of you had a similar experience? I would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Woman First

In my women’s studies classes, I often found myself having to answer the question “do you define yourself by your gender first or your culture?” The answer to this has always been easy for me – I’m a woman who happens to be Latina.

Now, you all know I don’t much like labels, but if I have to choose, I’ve always seen myself as a woman first.

At first, this just came as a gut reaction, but after being asked that question for the third or fourth time, I realized my reasoning: most of the struggles I’ve had were because of my status as a woman, not as a Latina.

I couldn’t go anywhere alone because I was a girl, I couldn’t date or wear make-up or any of that because I was a girl, I put up with catcalls and harassment because I’m a woman, I worry about going out after dark because I’m a woman… the list goes on and on. I can probably count on one hand (okay, probably two) the number of times I’ve been called a spic, but I won’t even bother trying to count the number of times I’ve been called bitch, slut, whore, etc.

And, sure, I struggled to learn English as a 5-year-old immigrant, and having to be my parents’ translator was not only embarrassing but unbelievably difficult (there’s a reason you need to be 18 to sign legal documents—elementary school education just isn’t enough to understand any of that). But those memories pale in comparison to the ones I have of thinking I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.

In my women’s studies classes, and when I’ve asked the question to others, I seem to be in the minority in feeling this way. How do you define yourselves if you’re forced to choose? Can you choose? Does anybody else choose based on a similar reasoning?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things That Make Me Nervous

Pigeons, underwire, karaoke, handling raw meat, sports bars, dressing rooms, first dates…and BLOGGING.

This is not an exhaustive list, unfortunately, but let me just say, that last one has me quaking in my boots these days. Blogging really intimidates me. When we first talked about creating a TWM Blog, I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of it. It would be unique, exciting, and a great way to connect with other women. Then I realized that this meant I'd actually have to write stuff, and people would actually read it. Gulp. That's when the butterflies came.

For a freelance writer to be uncomfortable with words, well, that's pretty much career suicide. But blogging is just not the same. Blog posts aren't planned, researched, and plotted in the way I am used to doing in my regular work. They're not stories I made up, or a collection of facts I gathered -- they're just me, talking about my life. And, let's face it, who would be interested in that?

Sally and Pauline are both experienced bloggers. I am definitely the opposite. I've avoided the blogosphere for years because there are many things I don't understand about it. But I’m learning. At our Blog Launch Party, I talked with several women who, like me, aren't big blog readers, but were intrigued by CHICKS ROCK! too. It made me feel good to know that I’m not the only one here who is new to the blogosphere, and perhaps still a little uncomfortable in it.

So I just want to share a few things I've realized in the last couple weeks, in case there are others out there who feel the same uncertainty I do. I've learned that blogging is not about being right, or being profound -- it's just about sharing. Sharing not just as a means for self-expression, but as a call for connection, for affirmation, for someone to hear you and respond. That's why we hope you'll comment on our posts, even if it's only to say a few words, like "That's interesting," "I can relate to that," "I totally disagree," or "My experience with [fill-in-the-blank] was quite different," because we want to develop a conversation rich with ideas and viewpoints.

Whether or not you chime in, your presence as a reader is important to us. If commenting is a challenge for you, that's okay. In fact, it's good. It means you have something important to say and you want to say it well. My fellow bloggers have assured me that posting and commenting become easier the more you practice, and I'm finding that they're right.

I've challenged myself to be an active part of CHICKS ROCK! and I hope you will do the same!

Any thoughts?

Friday, September 19, 2008

CHICKS ROCK! Launch Party Recap

Wow, what a party!

As you probably know, last night was the launch party for CHICKS ROCK! and it was awesome. There was good food, great music, yummy drinks, delectable cupcakes, and lots of laughs.

The Women's Mosaic hasn't had an event in a while, so it was great to see some familiar faces there, but it was also good to see some new faces. Some people from the Meetup group were there, and all of the bloggers invited their friends to celebrate the blog and the start of this project.

Everyone was very excited about the blog. They had a lot of questions about how it would work, and we were able to let them know that this is not just the space of the regular contributors, but also YOUR space. Here, you can read about what other real women have experienced, and make connections you might not otherwise make. We sincerely hope that you take advantage of it. We expect it to be quiet at first, but we hope everyone becomes more comfortable about commenting, becoming a guest blogger, or, perhaps somewhere down the line, a regular contributor.

Be on the lookout for pictures from the event, and until the next one, be sure to join TWM's communities on Change.org, Facebook, Meetup, MySpace, and Twitter. You can also read some pieces by various TWM members on Divine Caroline.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Join Us at Our Party TONIGHT

Tonight's the night!

We've received rave reviews about CHICKS ROCK! from readers and supporters like you, and we want you to celebrate with us tonight at our blog launch party.

The Women's Mosaic will be hosting a launch party to celebrate CHICKS ROCK! tonight, Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at OBIVIA in SoHo.* You'll get a chance to meet us, find out what's in store for the blog, and learn more about TWM and how to get involved. Also enjoy drink specials and yummy snacks!!

You can RSVP any of the following ways:
If you're on Meetup, RSVP here. If you're on Facebook, RSVP to the party there (you can also join TWM's page while you're at it). Or simply send an email.

Let us know if you'll be joining us -- we can't wait to see you there!

*Sorry for all the readers who aren't in the NYC area. Maybe you can have your own little get-together with a toast in our honor ;) If you do, be sure to send us some pictures!

Sisterhood on the Inca Trail

I was scared and excited when my friend first suggested the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu in Peru last December. I do love walking, but the idea of camping outside, mountain trails and high altitudes really intimidated me. At the same time I was enthralled by the idea of mountain views, forests, and valleys all around me…and all that clean air. I agreed to the plan immediately, hoping that I would conquer my fear of the unknown.

My preparation for the trip consisted of some time on a treadmill and my participation in the Revlon Run/Walk in New York City as a TWM member. As personally rewarding as the 5K race was for me, nothing could prepare me for the 45 km hike, with three high mountain passes (one of which reaches to an elevation of 13,776 ft). When we met with our tour organizers in Lima, Peru, we found out that there would be no men among us, except for the guides, porters and chefs. They were going to Machu Picchu by train! I was surprised and little anxious…what would it be like on the Inca Trail with other women?

I often lagged behind the others in my tour group, but they never judged me for my “slow and steady” pace…at least not to my face. When we huddled around the dinner table in the main tent every night, I felt a comradery with my fellow hikers that was not hindered by differences in personality, nationality or race... we were all going to make it to Machu Picchu, no matter what. When we finally did, I knew that one of the reasons was our sisterhood on the Inca Trail. Yes, the guides and porters were mostly responsible for our success, and we had to move our aching bodies up and down the rocky paths, but it was also the kinship we had with each other that made our final day a joyous occasion. I may never see them again, but I will always remember my fellow trekkers on the Inca Trail.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Finding Your Voice

Growing up, I didn't think much of my opinion. It didn't seem others thought much about it either, so I didn't give it unless it was explicitly asked of me - which wasn't often.

In college, it got better. I had women's studies classes where I felt comfortable opening up. I had my Hermanas (sorority sisters) who always valued my opinion, asked for it all the time, and let me give it even if they didn't ask! But even then, it was hard to do this in a group of strangers.

What really changed this was my involvement in TWM. Suddenly, I was asked to give an opinion about everything, even things I didn't really have an opinion about. I mingled at events, spoke up at a Visioning Workshop, organized an entire event, and became an integral part of TWM. I slowly started to speak up at work and grew more confident each time. I'm still quiet, but usually because I'm thinking - not from fear of speaking up. Oftentimes, I don't shut up really!

I'm writing all of this not just to reflect, but because I've met countless other women who still haven't found their voice. When I was young, it seemed everybody else was speaking out with little effort and I was the odd one out. Unfortunately, I wasn't.

The truth is, women are still being silenced. There are cultural and generational differences, but, on the whole, women's opinions just don't matter as much. What do we know? What interest could we possibly have in politics or society or the workforce? We're defined by those around us without much thought to who we actually are.

That's why I love blogs! Women who normally keep quiet can comment on whatever moves them, without as much fear. Nobody knows who they are, and they're likely to find a space somewhere, where others share their opinions. Best case scenario, if you don't already speak up in "real life," this helps you come closer to doing that.

Are you making sure your voice is heard? If you have something to say, do you say it, or keep quiet more often than not?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Breathing Together

The circle of friends I formed in college was extraordinarily diverse. We had Vietnamese, Filipino, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, black, white, women, men, Indian, Latino, gay, straight, Persian, Chinese, Malaysian, multiracial, international students, “Mayflower” Americans and first-generation Americans – the children of immigrants. The list goes on. The only thing we all for sure had in common was knowing what it feels like to not quite fit in.

Somehow, magically, in the close quarters of our residence hall, we created a space in which no one had to fit a certain mold in order to belong. We remarked on our diversity, even teased each other about having so few friends of our own races/cultures. We debated politics, science, history, faith and ethics over pizza and late night video fests. We found our middle ground, or agreed to disagree. We ate the best of all imaginable food, from every continent and corner of the earth. We pushed each other to excel in academics and extracurriculars. We challenged each other. Most of all, we had fun.

College days seem far behind now. Very far, sometimes. But I still crave that space, where everyone and everything was okay as they were. In this world it is all too rare. Rather than missing what was, though, I prefer to think that this circle has not faded but is only growing wider. I remain in touch with a few of these friends, from whom I first learned that there is so much more joy in starting out different and finding out how you are alike, than the other way around. That sitting in a room together – no matter what the activity – teaches you more than any book or list of facts. It is the simple things that broaden our minds, not the things designed to teach us.

Maybe it is as simple as the sharing of the air…

Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome to CHICKS ROCK!

I am so thrilled about this new component to TWM and can’t wait to hear from all of you – whether you are commenting, posting as a guest blogger or giving your two cents about our Friday Forum topics. We want this to be the place for you to connect with other women, make your voice heard, share your experiences and develop a deeper understanding of your world and the world around you as a result!

When the whole blogosphere exploded, we knew it would be a great way to engage the 2,000+ women who have been part of our community over the past seven years. This could offer a new way to participate and be more involved in what we are doing, as many of you cannot always get to our events, but continue to be very interested in and connected to who we are and what we do. And, of course, we also thought entering the blogosphere would be a great way to reach many, many more!

Oh – and at this point, you might be wondering who I am. As founder of The Women’s Mosaic®, I wanted to dedicate my life to a company or organization that I was passionate about; one that incorporated and utilized all of my talents, skills, abilities. For years I searched for it – and to make a very long story short – I decided to create it. I knew that by allowing myself to express who I was, I would provide opportunities for other women to do the same. It is my belief that the world needs for women to be heard, and to add their creativity, intelligence and energy to making this planet the very best it can be – the empowerment of women both here and abroad is an essential key to creating positive change in this great big messy world of ours.

You will hear from me from time to time, but the focus of this blog will begin with our wonderful contributors Kekla, Sally and Pauline. Most importantly, it will consist of each and every one of you – who you are, how you experience life, what you want to talk about, and how you can support and help each other with an encouraging word, a relevant resource, or just by sharing something you have gone through, knowing that women who read it will know they are not alone. That in and of itself is quite powerful.

So, if you are not already on our mailing list, be sure to sign-up (via the box on the right) to be in the loop with what we are doing. And because TWM is a grassroots nonprofit organization that relies on financial contributions from the public, please consider becoming a member or making a donation to support our work to make every woman a CHICK that ROCKS!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Forum: CHICKS ROCK!

Welcome to the first Friday Forum! This is your chance to communicate directly with us in response to a question or hot topic we pose.

We'll start off with an easy one since it's the first one:

What do you want to see here at CHICKS ROCK!? Is there a particular topic that interests you? A voice you want to hear? An experience that will speak to you? Don't be shy, just let us know by leaving a comment!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rock the Party with TWM

Have you heard yet about our upcoming blog launch party?!

On Thursday, Sept. 18, The Women's Mosaic will be hosting a launch party to celebrate CHICKS ROCK! and you're invited! The party starts at 6:30 p.m. at OBIVIA in SoHo.* You'll get a chance to meet the three of us, find out what's in store for the blog, and learn more about The Women's Mosaic and how to get involved. Plus, you get to do all of this while enjoying drink specials and yummy snacks.

You can RSVP any of the following ways:
If you're on Meetup, RSVP here. If you're on Facebook, RSVP to the party there (you can also join TWM's page while you're at it). Or simply send an email to sally@thewomensmosaic.org.

Let us know if you'll be joining us -- we can't wait to see you there!

*Sorry for all the readers who aren't in the NYC area. Maybe you can have your own little get-together with a toast in our honor ;) If you do, be sure to send us some pictures!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

About Me...Where Do I Begin?

When I think of who I am, I think of many things. For starters, I see myself as a woman, an American, my parents' oldest child, my siblings' big sister, and a friend. Then I think of myself a first generation American with Indian immigrant parents. I know that at first glance, most people see a woman with brown skin, who may or may not be an American. Once upon a time, I used to feel insecure about this perception. Now, I don't have to make excuses about my identity to anyone, and I don't have to limit myself to one category. Thankfully, we live in a country that is more accepting of people defining themselves with multiple labels. At the very least, it is not as strange as it used to be.

I was born and raised in New Jersey, and yet I have never thought of myself as a "Jersey Girl." While I currently live in the suburbs of my birth state, I have also had the privilege of living in New York City, London, and Indonesia for certain periods of time. As a closeted "wanderlust addict," I strongly believe that living and traveling in other countries is the best education a person can have, but not everyone may agree with me on that theory.

Since becoming a member of The Women's Mosaic (TWM), I have also learned how important sisterhood is in my life. TWM's concept of unity and diversity co-existing and flourishing together is something I can fully understand and embrace in my own life. Because of my natural restlessness, I may succumb to my nomadic impulses and live abroad again. Even if I leave the U.S.A. to work and live elsewhere, I will always be connected to my family, my friends, and TWM. I am so glad to be a part of an organization that really speaks to me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Breaking Out of the Box

I've often wondered: What's the point of labels anyway? Conservative or liberal… black or white… gay or straight… man or woman… As if we're all one thing or another, rather than a point on a scale that changes with time. As if we all fit in tidy little boxes that always look the same inside and out.

I've never been a big fan of labels. Ever since high school, I've been silently protesting them whenever I see the word "Optional" next to a question asking me to check the appropriate box. The only label I've ever been comfortable giving myself is "Feminist" because it always grows with me.

Perhaps that is what drew me to The Women's Mosaic.

As an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, and the oldest of three daughters, I grew up very sheltered. Whether or not we have ended up with the "American Dream" can be debated, but living here has caused a great disconnect in my beliefs or passions, and those I am supposed to have.

With The Women's Mosaic, I was suddenly able to connect with women of various backgrounds who were open and eager to share their range of experiences. These women were also not afraid to say they don't fit into boxes and admit they can't live their lives according to traditional labels. You can never know just by looking at someone at a TWM event what their story will be. I LOVE THAT!

So hopefully you're okay with the fact that you'll never really be able to figure me out, because I am. And hopefully you didn't already start preparing a box just because I call myself a feminist — you may need to throw that out.

Though, if you insist on keeping me in the box, make it a nice, bright, colorful one with a big purple bow on top!

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Brief Introduction

People often ask me about my name. Kekla. I suppose that is as good a place as any to begin an introduction, even in a forum such as this one, where there will be no official shaking of hands. Does my name define me? Maybe. At least, more so than anything else does. Kekla means sunrise, or morning star, in Bassa, a language spoken in Cameroon, West Africa, where my father was born and raised. He and my mother, who is an American of Dutch and Scottish ancestry, decided to give my brother and me Bassa names so that we would always be in touch with the Cameroonian half of our heritage, despite living in the United States.

I got the name Kekla because I was born early in the morning; my parents looked at me, and it just seemed to fit. Still does. I like my name: the letters it uses, the sound it makes, the way it looks on paper in lots of different fonts. Even more, I like the things it symbolizes: warmth, new beginnings, light and possibilities. I like that it begins to tell a story, even before the person hearing it knows what the rest of that story will be. My name says that I am not just an ordinary woman, not just a normal American, not just a typical bi-racial American (if any of those things even exist). Rather, it invites you to listen a little closer. There is something more there. It doesn't tell you all of who I am, but it tells you I am someone.

I first encountered The Women's Mosaic five years ago, at a time when I was looking for inspiration, looking to define myself, looking to connect with people who could help me understand what this world is about, and how I can best live in it. These questions continue, but I have learned that TWM is a wonderful place to explore the answers.

I am still writing my story, day by day…

Friday, September 5, 2008


On Fridays, CHICKS ROCK! will offer special treats to end the week.

Friday Features will host some of our guest bloggers writing about things that interest them, some of which are topics we might not normally blog about. (This guest blogger could be you!) Some weeks we'll switch it up and have book reviews, reflections on events, and other cool stuff we think you should check out.

Friday Forums
will be your chance to raise your voice! Some weeks will be recommended reading we find in the blogosphere, with the comments section ready for you to reflect on what you've read and to share your own posts. Other times we'll have open threads prompted by questions or hot topics that you can submit and, of course, respond to.

Don't forget to email us any suggestions you have for books, events, restaurants, and other things to review or questions and topics to discuss.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Guidelines for Guest Bloggers

CHICKS ROCK! Bloggers and Guest Bloggers should write with an awareness of the mission and vision of the blog: to share experiences of diversity, empowerment and personal growth through women’s individual and collective voices. The following guidelines will help you write a rockin' post:

- Content should always be from the author’s personal experience and should aim to educate, inspire, or motivate the reader to learn more about themselves or discover something new.
- Posts should be positive and the voice should be friendly, empowering, questioning, and inviting.
- If you are writing about a situation that upset you (discrimination, sexism, etc.), please do encourage debate and discussion. However, debate for debate’s sake or argument for argument’s sake is not appropriate.

- The #1 rule is: keep it personal! Writing about social and political issues should spark from a personal experience and be discussed from that point of view.
- Relating/connecting to a global perspective is always encouraged.
- Use images and videos sparingly and when appropriate.
- Topics should be relevant to the blog’s mission. For an example, check out our tag list.
- Posts should be approximately 250-350 words.

- Plagiarism will not be tolerated; however, you are free to link to other blogs/bloggers if appropriate. When quoting or referencing another person’s work, name and link to the original source.
- No foul or offensive language or images will be allowed. Our goal is to unite, not divide, and this is not the space for material insulting to any group (based on sex, gender, race, religion, weight, disability, etc.).

- Along with your post, please submit a photo and one or two sentences about yourself.
- Submissions should be sent to chicksrockblog@gmail.com.
- Guest posts will go up on Thursdays or as part of our Friday Features. Please note that once your post is reviewed and accepted, we will let you know the date it will be up. Submissions will generally be posted in the order they are received, however, TWM Members will get preference for posting over non-Members.

- TWM reserves the right to refuse or remove any posts when deemed necessary or appropriate to do so.
- TWM also reserves the right to amend these guidelines at any time.
- If you're interested in becoming an ongoing TWM Blog Contributor or a recurring TWM Guest Blogger, please email us for more information and for further details regarding our policies.

Being a TWM Blog Contributor or TWM Guest Blogger will give you a voice and visibility to an audience of diverse, dynamic women that will enable you to share your experiences, thoughts, ideas, knowledge and inspiration in an expansive, safe and engaging format. We would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our Comment Policy

Because we strive for unity through diversity, we welcome a wide range of viewpoints on all of the subjects we raise. We think that differences of opinion can often lead to great discussion, new perspectives and a deeper understanding of one another. Keeping an open mind is the best way to achieve this.

Bloggers and readers all make up the CHICKS ROCK! community. We don't expect you to agree with all of us, or each other, all the time. But we do expect you to respect all of us, and each other, all the time.

We don't want to police comments, but in order to promote debate and discussion, we reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive to the bloggers and our readers. These include: offensive slurs, harassment aimed at specific bloggers or readers, or threats of any kind. If we find that you've posted something questionable, we'll let you know so you're aware when leaving future comments.

Each blogger is responsible for moderating the comments on her own post, but if you see something you think violates the Comment Policy, please email chicksrockblog@gmail.com, and include the title of the post and the full comment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

About Us (and You!)

CHICKS ROCK! is a program of The Women’s Mosaic® (TWM) that provides a vehicle for women to share their experiences related to diversity and personal growth. Whether through live events, our eNewsletter, website or this blog, the mission of TWM seeks to educate, inspire, and motivate women of all backgrounds to express their full power and potential in the world.

By creating this interactive and supportive space, we hope to expand our work of fostering positive social change by empowering women to unite through their individual and collective voices. What all of us (women and some rockin’ men too!) have in common is a desire to connect with each other, gain new perspectives and challenge ourselves to grow.

If you fit this description, then we want you to be a part of our community!

Get started by reading some of our posts. Keep track of new posts by subscribing to our feed. You can receive our posts automatically by email or on the web through a reader.

If a post sparks your interest, we encourage you to speak up by leaving a comment (just make sure you read our comment policy first).

On Fridays, we’ll be posting reviews, reflecting on events we attend, and stirring up debate with some hot topics. If you have suggestions for any of this, get more details on Friday Features and Friday Forums and send us your ideas.

We’ll also be featuring some great guest bloggers, and invite you to add your point of view or a perspective that’s missing from the blog. We’ve posted a set of guidelines that can help you write your post.

Of course, we can't bring any of this to you without your support! Please consider becoming a member of The Women's Mosaic or making a tax-deductible donation. If you're interested in advertising on CHICKS ROCK!, please send an email to info@thewomensmosaic.org for more information.

Disclaimer: Blog entries express the opinions of the respective Bloggers/Contributors/Authors/Commenters solely, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Women's Mosaic. As host and manager of CHICKS ROCK!, TWM acts solely as a provider of access to the internet and not as publisher of the content contained in bloggers' posts and cannot confirm the accuracy or reliability of individual entries. Each participant is solely responsible for the information, analysis and/or recommendations contained in her blog posts.
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