Jabberwocky: International Flair Highlights Women’s Stories of Immigration and Nationalization

You may not know it, but March is nationally recognized as Women’s History Month, a month to look back and contemplate the multitude of effects women have had on our society in addition to the struggles of equality many women face, even today. Despite all the efforts of the past few decades, women largely remain an underprivileged class, stereotyped in popular culture, stopped by the ever present glass ceiling, and a battle for women’s rights is even being fought in our legislature, where politicians are attempting to redefine what it means to be raped, have an abortion, or miscarry a child. The United States has also been in the middle of a heated debate on immigration in the past few months, and it’s already been an issue in Indianapolis this year as well (as you know if you attended the Indianapolis Immigrant Experience at the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center). One Indianapolis event seeks to partially address both women’s rights and immigration, and it’s a series that has had success in Indy in the past: Jabberwocky. On Tuesday, March 8, 2011, several successful Indianapolis women with different backgrounds, experiences, and countries of origin will be speaking at the IndyFringe Building in downtown Indianapolis as part of Jabberwocky: International Flair.

Video of Bruce Hetrick speaking at the January 2011 iteration of Jabberwocky; Jabberwocky: International Flair will take place at the IndyFringe Building in Indianapolis on March 8, 2011


Co-sponsored by IndyFringe and Storytelling Arts of Indiana, Jabberwocky is an ongoing series that features “jabbers” who tell their unique life stories, usually centering around a different theme each month. March 2011’s iteration, Jabberwocky: International Flair, is your chance to hear the stories of four Indianapolis women, each with wildly different professions and reasons for coming to the United States. The panel of speakers–including Josefa Crowe from Germany, Surisa Richardson from Thailand, Juana Watson from Mexico, and Deb Hardy from Australia–will tell their tales first, and this initial presentation will be followed by an open mic session, where Indianapolis people can step up to the microphone and share their three to five minute immigration testimony.

Video of David Shank speaking at the January 2011 iteration of Jabberwocky; Jabberwocky: International Flair will feature the stories of four immigrant women in Indianapolis


As mentioned previously, each of the people who will be sharing as part of Jabberwocky: International Flair has an entirely different story to tell. Suris Richardson is a local Indianapolis business owner, the proprietor of the recently opened Surisa Thai Silk, located on University Avenue near Irvington. Another person who will be presenting is Deb Hardy, an Indianapolis resident who emigrated from Australia in 2003. She left her family (six grandchildren and three adult children) behind when she came to the United States to marry Bruce Hardy, but she stays in touch with her family and her homeland via Skype. This Indianapolis immigrant was also featured in a December 2010 blog on the Indianapolis Star website about different Christmas traditions.

Another speaker at Jabberwocky: International Flair is Juana Watson, a powerful voice for the Latino community in Central Indiana. Watson was born in “a small village nestled high in the middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains of the state of Hidalgo in central Mexico,” where “women are still dying giving birth, and children die before they get to be 5 years old.” She moved to the Central Indiana in 1978 with very little English skills and a junior high education; she immediately became involved with the Indy Latino community, founding Latino resource centers all around the Hoosier state. By 2005, she had earned an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and she is currently the Senior Adviser for Latino Affairs to Governor Mitch Daniels.

The final woman who will be presenting at Jabberwocky: International Flair will be Josefa Crowe, a name that may be familiar to Indianapolis art and literature lovers. She is the author of Growing Up Under the Swastika: Why Hitler Wanted This Girl, a 2007 non-fiction memoir detailing Crowe’s childhood in Nazi Germany, a book that explores what it meant to grow up under a banner of hate disguised as progress. Together, Josefa Crowe, Juana Watson, Deb Hardy, and Suris Richardson will share a glimpse of what it’s like to be a woman in a foreign land, and afterward participants will be free to share their own immigration story, whether they’re male or female.

Join Juana Watson, Deb Hardy, Suris Richardson, and Josefa Crowe in Indianapolis for an enlightening conversation that concerns everybody. Jabberwocky: International Flair will take place at the IndyFringe building in Mass Ave on Tuesday, March 8, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and the IndyFringe Festival, the March 2011 iteration of Jabberwocky promises to be an eye opening, down to earth discussion on immigration and womanhood. Tickets to this Indianapolis event are absolutely free, and there will also be a cash bar and appetizers provided to audience members. All you need to bring are your ears, experiences, and an open mind to enjoy Jabberwocky: International Flair.

Jabberwocky: International Flair
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: FREE
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IndyFringe Building
719 E St Clair St
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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