Loomis Communities

Voices of Resilience: The Intersection of Women on the Move

The Loomis Communities are proud to not only support, but promote such a wonderful exhibition at the South Hadley Center Church Gallery.

With a team of collaborators and scholars from area universities, along with Bay Path University, Springfield Museums, the On the Move Forum, and other organizations Center Church South Hadley will host the second installation of “Voices of Resilience: The Intersection of Women on the Move” from September 18 – October 15. Taking an inclusive look at local and national women’s history while exploring the pursuit of a more complete narrative of American history, the exhibition celebrates the intersecting lives of women and women of color in Massachusetts and beyond who changed the course of history.

The exhibit first launched at the Springfield Museums during the pandemic, but on September 18 at 2 pm the new installation of the exhibit will open in the gallery of South Hadley’s Center Church with a new relevance reflecting the social and political shifts in our culture. Rev. Lori Souder invites everyone to take advantage of this unique opportunity: “We welcome the community to view this exhibit and be inspired to learn more about ‘hidden figures’ in our communities and beyond.”

The exhibit will be free and open at the following times: Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm, Sundays 11 am to 2 pm, and Wednesdays 4 to 7 pm. Group visits at other times are available by appointment. This exhibit would not be possible without the generous support of the following organizations: E Ink Corporation, Mount Holyoke College, PeoplesBank, Thomson Financial Management, Odyssey Bookshop and Sankofa Gumbo, Inc., and a grant from the South Hadley Cultural Council which is a local agency supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

The guiding inspiration for the exhibit will be singer and Presidential honoree Melba Moore’s new song ‘Highest Star’ – “Everybody needs a hero to set their spirits free – to rise above the mountains beyond the galaxy.” Guest curator Janine Fondon, Bay Path University Assistant Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Communication, said, “We raise the voices of women — past and present — by acknowledging their critical narrative along history’s timeline. This year we will learn more about the Combahee River Collective and its historic 1977 statement raising the voice of Black women with intention during an era of defining feminism.” Black women from Massachusetts were pacesetters and leaders in the civil rights and women’s movements yet they were hidden in plain sight.

“Voices of Resilience” showcases a range of voices from early Black feminists such as Dr. Barbara Smith to longtime columnist Barbara Bernard. The exhibit celebrates both spiritual and lay leaders, artists, musicians, and educators such as Dr. Amy Hughes, formerly of The MacDuffie School as well as Dr. Lucie Lewis who traces her story to the Salem witch trials. Many voices from Springfield, South Hadley, Amherst and beyond are featured.

The upcoming book, “It’s Our Movement Now,” will also be highlighted. The book was edited by Dr. Laura L. Lovett (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Rachel Jessica Daniel and Kelly Giles (University of Massachusetts, with a chapter by Voices of Resilience curator and Professor Janine Fondon, MA, MFA (Bay Path University). Exhibition scholar Dr. Demetria Shabazz, notes that the exhibit presents an opportunity to learn how women overcame challenges and created enduring legacies. “It is important to reflect on how African-American women and other women have stepped up to shape our civic and political culture over time.” Dr. Lucie Lewis, exhibition scholar and researcher, said, “Remembering the shoulders on which we stand and discovering the spirit that guided their journey emboldens each of us to embrace the work that remains yet to be done.”