Say hello to our seventh #WomenofCMU Madison Rodriguez. Madison is the current President of the Organization of Women Leaders (OWL.s). With OWLs Madison gains opportunities to lead other empowered women and chances to stand up for domestic violence and women’s issues. Madison is also a mentor with a Native American program at Shepard once a week. She is a volunteer with the Isabella County rotating Homeless Shelter. She is involved in multiple writing organizations, such as Word Hammer and Poets’ Collective. Lastly, Madison is a leader with Central Michigan Action (CMA).
Madison actually brought back the “Slut Walk” to CMU’s campus and is leading OWLs in running the event, set for April 8cth. “Slut Walk” started after a recording of a police officer stating that women should not dress slutty after an alleged sexual assault. This spurred woman on campus across the country to march and protest the word slut, when it comes to sexual assault.
“What you are wearing shouldn’t matter. Those things don’t matter, in cases of sexual assault. So Slut Walk was born. It was sort of taking back the word ‘slut’ and just bring attention to the rape culture that exists on college campuses and slut shaming that a lot of women receive for reporting assault on campus…One of the things I wanted to do as President when I ran was to reinstate a Slut Walk, because I think it is so important, especially with the political climate that we are in now, we need that support more than ever…This Slut Walk is really aiming to be all inclusive, that is something that we find really important to us,” Madison states.
Being a member of OWLs, Madison is a defined woman leader on campus. Madison is from a small town and a catholic school system. She defines all odds to stand up for what she believes a woman should be and promotes that in her daily actions. People are afraid of the unknown and when a woman is strong and empowered, it can be scary for some closed minded people.
“An empowered woman has so many different faces. It is really just a woman who has the opportunity to be whatever she wants to be and loving what she is doing. I think my goal as a woman leader is that other women know whatever they choose to do, do so freely and enjoy it. I think we need to stop shaming women into believing that they should or shouldn’t do certain things and sort of let women make their own choices because, they are often really beautiful,” Madison explains.
Madison defines a woman leader as someone who has “passion, determination and makes a difference in their lives and the lives of others.” Madison basically describes herself with this statement. She is all of these things and so much more. She has been a part of multiple activist marches and rally’s on campus and even participated in the Women’s March in Washington D.C. She was also the student who received the infamous antisemitic valentine this February. Madison made sure that she informed her friends in the Jewish community and informed the campus community that this is not what CMU stands for, that we cannot accept this as okay. Madison has already made a huge impact on CMU’s campus and fits perfectly with my five pillars of feminism. Thank you, Madison, for continuing to make a positive impact on Central’s campus and consistently standing up for friends, peers, minorities and issues that are close to your heart.
“We focus a lot on the past like women’s empowerment is done, like the fights over. We honor all these fantastic women of our past, who are so phenomenal, and thank them for all the progress like there is nothing else to be achieved, when in reality we still have a long way to go. I think that it is important to focus on these women of today. I don’t just mean big figure women. I mean women everywhere, women in small towns, big towns, women who stay at home, women who work, women everywhere…Just recognizing and promoting the strength of women. I think when we focus on those things we can just keep pushing forward. I don’t think the fight is ever going to be over, I think it is always going to continue, but we are taking steps, we are staying strong, and we are uniting together…keep fighting, keep being vocal, and don’t be silenced,” Madison infoms.