Women of CMU 5. Autumn Gairaud

CMU student Autumn Gairaud poses for a portrait in the Bovee University Center on the campus of Central Michigan University, Sunday, March 19, 2017. “I would define a feminist as someone that believes in and advocates for equal opportunity for all people, especially women…,” states Autumn. 

 

Autumn Gairaud is a woman of many talents here at Central Michigan University. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Autumn on Sunday night to learn about her and her involvements on campus. Autumn is a member and the recruitment coordinator of Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates (S.A.P.A), an intern for the office of LGBTQ, is an activist with Central Michigan Action where she is the gender and sexuality campaign director, she is a member of Students Advocating Gender Equality (S.A.G.E.) where she is their “zine” editor, and  she is a member of College Democrats.

These are some of the most impactful organizations to be part of on out campus. First off, if you do not know, SAPA is an anonymous help-line to support students facing/dealing with sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, etc. SAGE is an organization that works to better gender equality, especially with the LBGTQ community. With this organization Autumn helped coordinate and facilitate a town hall on campus about the Gender and Sexuality Center campaign for the CMU and Mount Pleasant area. This event not only got campus new coverage, but local coverage as well, making a huge impact on our community.

“Throughout the semester I have done a lot of advocacy for that (Gender and Sexuality Center). So meeting with President Ross, met with him a few times, and helped put on the town hall. As well, Central Michigan Action has done a few protests and rallies throughout last semester and this semester on campus, both for the GSC and other stuff on campus,” explains Autumn.

It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you believe in and consistently fight for your views and values. Autumn does this with every single organization she is apart of, as well as in her daily life. When first coming to CMU Autumn met people in her Residential Hall who were involved in some activism on campus. In addition, Autumn is studying Political Science and wants to change the world and make changes in her community.

“I think it was just advocating for women and marginalized groups, like the LGBTQ community, was something I am really passionate about…I am a really firm believer that whatever side of the aisle, whatever your political policy is, getting more women elected into office, getting more LGBTQ people elected into office, and people of color is really important, because I think representation is important,” Autumn states.

There is a lot we can do for our community and Autumn has become a recognizable face for the issues she supports and fights for. Autumn is a self-defined feminist and for me that is the most powerful thing you can define yourself as. She fits into the 5-pillars of feminism (defined my me): dignity, self-responsbilty, empowerment, acting in kindness, and using one’s voice for positive impact. Thank you Autumn for all that you do, it was amazing meeting you, and you are truly and inspiration.

“I think that we celebrate women of the past because I think it is important to remember women have changed the world and I think it is important to remind each other of empowered women now because when are still changing the world and still making waves and organization things, like the Women’s March. I think when we look at things as just history it means that that’s been done and we forget to focus on the awesome things that are being done now. I think when we see that there are other empowered women making things happen, whether it is on our own campus, or in the state, or country, it can kind of re-engerize us when things seem impossible or tough…being reminded that there are other empowered women pushing through to what we have and still trying to make things better, I just think that can re-inspire and re-empower you that it is worth it to get up the next day and keep fighting for those things,” Autumn states.

Great work Autumn, keep doing you!

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