Krystal Cruz

‘Amplify’ Showcases UT Women’s Experiences Through Spoken Word


By Krystal Cruz

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Last weekend, the Women’s Resource Agency hosted their very first “Amplify: UT Women’s Voices” on campus to boost the voices of the diverse women at UT. The production lasted three days — featuring 25 pieces written by women on campus — and covered a wide range of topics, including body image, mental health, race and the LGBTQ community.

 

Krystal Cruz

 

The idea for Amplify came after WRA’s annual production of “The Vagina Monologues.” Last year, the organization received feedback that suggested it create a more inclusive show expressing different races and identities of women, Rebecca Hali Sostek, director of Amplify, said.

 

“We decided to create a production that would not only hope to make all women — regardless of identity —feel welcomed and celebrated, but also create a production that was specific to the experiences of women on this campus, rather than strangers from years ago.” Sostek said.

 

Krystal Cruz | BurntX

 

The WRA partnered with several campus organizations to host the event, including the Gender and Sexuality Center, Multicultural Engagement Center, TransAction, Feminist Action Project, Voices Against Violence, and the Queer and Trans Students Alliance.

 

Sostek said her organization received 60 submissions of women wanting to speak at Amplify. And although not everyone made it into the show, the production team said it plans to publish all of the submissions onto the website they’re currently building.

 

Krystal Cruz | BurntX

 

A variety of personal stories were told: From battles with mental illness to coming out stories, the producers said they had a goal in mind when organizing the show.

 

“We tried to strike a balance between depth, humor, sadness and joy,” Sostek said.

 

Krystal Cruz | BurntX

 

Sostek said she believes providing a platform for women to share their experiences offers the opportunity for UT’s campus to be a more supportive place.

 

“Giving women a place to speak about their experiences not only amplifies their voices, but validates their stories. It says that their community believes them and supports them.” said Sostek.