By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
STILLWATER, OK – Oklahoma State University will feature former Marine Corps officer and sexual assault survivor Tracy Crow as the keynote speaker for the third annual Women Veterans Symposium. The event on Saturday, March 10 will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Wes Watkins Center located in the Oklahoma State University Student Union in Stillwater.
The symposium is free to all women veterans and women active-duty military, reservists and National Guard members.
Hosted by Student Veteran Academic Services at OSU, the symposium will focus on helping female veterans become more involved in their communities and to become instruments of change. The event is an opportunity to meet and build relationships with sister veterans, and hear advice from those who’ve successfully transitioned from the military to civilian life.
The morning program will feature a discussion of women veterans and the #MeToo movement, including a testimonial by a military sexual assault survivor. Participants will be made aware of resources available to help victims.
Crow has authored or edited six books, including the critically-acclaimed military memoir, “Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine.” This memoir reveals Crow’s self-portrait of a troubled woman who fights her way out of a world of alcoholism and domestic violence, while revealing a rare inside look at the Marines from a woman’s perspective.
Published in 2012 and more pertinent now than ever, in “Eyes Right” she wrote: “Our commanders, including women who had chosen career over motherhood, were often hostile, or at the least baffled about how to treat a pregnant woman in uniform. Their hostility compelled us to push our physical and emotional limits, and for many of us, certainly for me, the need to prove we still belonged created disastrous life-changing consequences. While Eyes Right is my story, I soon realized that nothing had been written about my generation, and the story needed to be told. Thanks to my generation, today’s military mom, for better or for worse, serves in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Today, Crow is the president and CEO of the MilSpeak Foundation, a nonprofit which supports the creative arts endeavors of military service members, veterans, and family members.
On the Foundation website, Crow writes to her readers and contributors, “We hope you’ll return here often to enjoy the fruits of our labor. We hope, too, you’ll feel motivated to roll up your sleeves and help us along the way—by sharing with us your wants, needs, and desires regarding MilSpeak….At the core of MilSpeak Foundation is the desire to help unleash your inner artist,” Crow added.
The symposium will include morning and afternoon breakout sessions that will provide information on federal and state benefits, women’s health and wellness issues, changes in VA medical services, job search skills, and creative writing.
Several organizations will be present at the event to provide information about services and benefits available to women veterans including the Women’s Clinic at the OKC VA Regional Medical Center; OK Department of Veterans Affairs; outreach coordinators from Oklahoma City and Tulsa Veteran Centers; Oklahoma National Guard Family Programs; local veterans employment representatives from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission; Women Veterans Organization; Disabled American Veterans; Veterans of Foreign Wars; Office of Student Disability Services, and OSU Veteran Entrepreneur Program.
To RSVP for the conference, contact [email protected] by March 3. For more information, call Jim Mitchell at 405-744-9782