Monthly Archives: March 2020

The kitchen table (a.k.a. my new office)

By: Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Senior Assistant Director, Sarah Doyle Center

A kitchen in Riverside, Rhode Island

Yesterday, I showed up to a video conference call with a sticker on my forehead. As I was sitting at the kitchen table (a.k.a. my new makeshift office) my 5-year old came and placed a holiday sticker on my face. She must have grabbed it out of a pile of art supplies that I had strewn on the floor for the day’s “home school” activities. When my spouse came down from a bedroom makeshift office, I ran upstairs to take this conference call and the first thing that was made apparent (of my being a parent working remotely) was the glittery decal.

Like many working parents our household has dramatically shifted in the past few weeks with the lines of work, home, and school explicitly blurred. There are many “parenting in the pandemic” stories out there — a good amount speaking to sexism and the gender/labor divide, with others that highlight the ways in which racism, classism, ableism (among other structural inequalities) are colliding to impact the experience of families during covid-19. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of “intersectionality” as a freeway collision visibly felt in homes (and at kitchen tables) around the globe. 

The kitchen table, as a symbol, has roots in black feminist and other women of color feminist cultural production. Barbara Smith describes the formation of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press during the early 1980s as follows:

We chose our name because the kitchen is the center of the home, the place where women in particular work and communicate with each other. We also wanted to convey the fact that we are a kitchen table, grass roots operation, begun and kept alive by women who cannot rely on inheritances or other benefits of class privilege to do the work we need to do (1).

Rereading feminist texts like This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (second edition published by Kitchen Table press in 1983) provides helpful perspective in this moment. In this groundbreaking anthology, women of color feminists wrote extensively about navigating life, work, and creativity under often difficult situations. Today, as we close week 2 of social distancing, I am reminded of Gloria Anzaldúa’s advice “Forget the room of one’s own — write in the kitchen….” (2)

Today, I will write, work, and parent — in the kitchen.

Image credit: Marina Andrejchenko/

Works Cited

  1. Smith, Barbara. “A Press of Our Own Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3. (1989) p. 11-13.
  2. Anzaldúa, Gloria. “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Women Writers.” In This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. 2nd edition. Eds. Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1983.

Virtual Sarah Doylies

By: Felicia Salinas-Moniz, Senior Assistant Director, Sarah Doyle Center

Riverside, Rhode Island

Recently, I was reminded of the colorfully crocheted doily pins that we gave our Sarah Doyle Center student staffers five years ago. The students who worked at our center at that time referred to themselves as the “Sarah Doylies” and we thought the hand-made doily pin was a fitting badge to unify our staff. Once a Sarah Doylie, always a Sarah Doylie.

A doily, at first glance, would seem an unlikely image for a feminist community.

A delicate ornamentation that harkens to early Victorian domesticity and handicraft.

However, looking at the structure of the doily you’ll see its complex and intricately woven patterns — individual threads breathing life into its very fiber. The doily can only exist with these threads and their commingling.

The Sarah Doyle Center is housed in an historic house built in 1823, likely no stranger to the doily in its interior design. While not the original location of the Sarah Doyle Center, this house at 26 Benevolent Street in Providence, Rhode Island has been a vibrant feminist space at Brown University since 2001 (the center was established in 1974 and was originally located at 185 Meeting Street). Across time and space, the SDC has been a site for critical dialogue, activism, comraderie, laughter, tears, and nourishing feminist work that explores the beautiful complexities of gender and its many intersections.

What does the Sarah Doyle Center feminist community look like in this moment when we are not able to come together on campus in light of recent global events? How do we maintain connection to this community space and other campus spaces that are meaningful to us? This blog is framed around these questions through the lens of the mission, values, and vision of the Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender. While the pale yellow house at 26 Benevolent Street may not currently be bursting with activity, may this virtual “Sarah Doylie” space help keep us woven together in community.

What are you doing to create community connections in this moment of social distancing? Click “Leave a Reply” at the top of this page to respond. The first 2 commentators will receive a “Radical Roots: Nourishing Feminist Work” tote bag.

Image credit: Karina Bakalyan/