For our second BROWN UNIVERSITY CRUSH in our CURRENTLY CRUSHING ON series, we’re highlighting an incredible feminist and activist, Will Furuyama. On campus, Will works as a Sexual Assault Peer Educator and Minority Peer Counselor who recently co-coordinated and facilitated a workshop on “Men in Feminism.”
1. Tell us about yourself (year, concentration, etc.).
I’m a second year undergrad who recently declared chemical biology!
2. Fun facts?
I like backwards baseball caps and sunny weather. Essentially, I’m very much your Southern California stereotype.
3. Who is your feminist role model and why?
It’s hard for me to think of just one person who I recognize as a feminist role model, but the first person who comes
to mind is Ella Baker. She was an incredible civil rights activist who certainly does not get enough credit for the organizing and work that she contributed to the movement, though from what I’ve read, it seems like she didn’t seem to care too much about titles or recognition. Her primary concern was the liberation of the communities she organized within, and I think we could all learn a lot from her dedication, passion, and organizing savvy.
4. Why did you decide to become a Sexual Assault Peer Educator?
For a long time, I was under the impression that sexual assault was something that didn’t happen to people I knew or in communities I was a part of, but one day a friend told me about their experience with sexual assault, and I decided it was important that I involved myself in movements that work to solve this epidemic. Since then, more friends have disclosed to me their status as survivors of sexual assault, which has only caused me to push harder for the advocacy and empowerment of survivors. I’ve come to realize how important it is that communities come together and actively talk about sexual assault as a problem and then work together to shift mentalities that perpetuate dangerous ideologies.
5. Tell us about the workshop you co-facilitated on Men in Feminism. What was your favorite part of the experience?
The Men in Feminism workshop was really great primarily because of the audience that showed up. Its focus was on the dynamics of sexism between men and women, and to really address this, the workshop relied on women sharing their experiences with sexism. Fortunately for us (the facilitators), a great group of women turned out who were willing to share their narratives and consciousness raise.
6. What role do you think that men can (and should) play within feminist movements?
I think a man’s role in feminism is to assist women, listen to their concerns, and actively work to address issues that women and non-binary folks identify as problems. I think that when a member of a privileged group wants to be an ally to a marginalized group, it’s key that they (the privileged person) are first a listener and then an advocate who acts on what they have learned.
7. Tell us some of the things that you are proud of.
I’m proud of the friends that I’ve made at Brown. I think that the people I find myself surrounded by truly amaze me and have really pushed me to grow in ways that I never could have imagined.
8. Any advice for your first year self?
“You’re not ready for a romantic relationship.”
“It’s okay that you love top 40. Others will learn to deal. Embrace it.”
“‘Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions
can you keep it all afloat’ -Audre Lorde”
9. What do you do when you’re having a bad day?
It often depends on the weather. If it’s sunny/not raining/not snowing, I’ll go somewhere off campus and remember how many other people there are in the world, and that my life on campus is less than a sliver of the
human experience and how much there’s left to learn. If the weather’s bad, I’ll usually try and find a friend to talk with who would know how to deal with the problem I’m having and won’t mind me venting to them.
10. Favorite class at Brown?
I think Italian 0500 was one of my favorites. It was a really great break from the hard sciences that I was taking concurrently and the professor (Cristina Abbonna-Sneider) is absolutely phenomenal. She’s actually one of the best professors/teachers I’ve ever had.
11. Add a question and tag the next person that you are inspired by!
Sydney Peak! She is one of the most legit people I’ve met on this campus. She’s an amazing spoken word artist, rugby player, and person in general.
Question: What’s been your happiest moment this past semester?
All images taken from Facebook or Google Image Search.