Thank you to the University of Illinois Professional MBA program for sponsoring today’s Chambana Mom to Know! If you would like to learn in-depth about the Illinois Professional MBA, we encourage you to attend an information session. Attend one of these information sessions to meet Illinois MBA admissions representatives; talk to students or alumni of the Professional MBA; learn about our curriculum and class schedule; find out about program costs as well as scholarship opportunities; receive advice for the application process; and receive answers to specific questions. The next meeting is Sept. 12 from 6-7 p.m. in room 3007. Click here to register.
DoMonique Arnold is the assistant director of Four Walls and a Roof and has worked with the women of la Coordinadora de Mujeres Urbanas conducting research, gathering testimonies, and building relationships. DoMonique has her master’s degree in Library and Information Science, with a focus on African Studies, and her bachelor’s degree in Latin. Beyond her work with Four Walls and a Roof, she is the University of Illinois Laboratory High School librarian. In addition to a traditional librarian role there, she also teaches, does programming, and aids in shaping curriculum for the high school students. DoMonique is a scholar, activist, and performer whose work includes educational programming with women, youth, and college students through youth media and literacy workshops, peer mentoring programs, and diversity education. Her partner, Jason, owns a local skateboard shop and she is also rich in daughters — stepdaughters that are a joy to be around, as well as her tenacious 2-year-old daughter. She loves the mom life!
See why we think DoMonique Arnold is a Chambana Mom to Know
Q: What does it mean to you to be recognized for your work with the Human Rights Award from the City of Champaign?
It feels so amazing, and unreal! I just recently got a new position as the librarian at University Laboratory High School, which is a dream come true. So that, plus recognition for my international work is really overwhelming in a good way!
Q: What fuels your seemingly unending passion to help women and girls locally and internationally?
While I was doing my undergraduate work, social justice issues really started to come on my radar. This only intensified when I was in grad school, and it was really impressed upon me that the ‘help’ that I’m providing really goes both ways. By engaging in this work, it benefits me as much as anyone else, because we are all in this together.
Q: Specifically what drew you to work with Four Walls and a Roof? What was the impact of your trip to Ecuador?
I started working with the group around the time it was first formed; it was originally the brainchild of my really close friend Rachel Storm. Learning of the experiences that women were having at that very moment in Cotacachi, Ecuador, we were motivated to engage in parallel action here as well. Traveling to Ecuador was phenomenal. The women that I worked with there were amazing, and it is so powerful to see the grassroots activism that was happening.
Q: What is a significant challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
One challenge that I’ve faced in years past is having an expected funding source cut off while still in the middle of grad school. It was a fellowship that had been consistently funded in years past, and I was pretty distraught. As for overcoming the challenge, finding a lead from a mentor at the time so that I could get an assistantship to pay for school was a pretty big deal, or I might not have finished. Thank you, Rae!
Q: What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned about being a working mom?
Well, while it may sound cliche, there definitely is an art to balancing family life, career, and personal time. Sometimes cloning myself doesn’t sound half bad, so I could get more done! But the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that community is so crucial. We’re so lucky to have my mom live in town and to take such an active role in my daughter’s life, it is such an immense help.
Q: What Champaign-Urbana experiences do you like to share with your daughter?
We have been trying out a little bit of everything. Whe is such an active 2-year-old, we like to stay busy. We love taking her to the library here in Urbana; she is so comfortable there, it must feel like a second home to her. We love going to parks like Hessel and Meadowbrook. She also loves swimming, so we enrolled in a local toddler swim class and it really increased her comfort level in the water. Dancing is also something that seems to be such a natural interest for children this age, and she is no exception! We were recently at a live music performance at iCelebrate that happens during Quad Day for the U of I students. When they asked for crowd participation, she was not afraid to get on that stage, and about had a fit when it was time to leave!
Q: What’s your favorite place in C-U (outside of your home/neighborhood)?
It would have to be the Women’s Resources Center on campus. I’ve spent so much time there over the years, whether as a volunteer teacher for bellydance classes, or just to check out their amazing programming. It feels like a second home!
Q: Tell me something most people don’t know about you.
I recently completed an intense, week-long training as a lactation counselor. One of my passions is to provide resources to new parents, especially concerning infant nutrition, in a judgment-free way. I got really passionate about birth justice when I was pregnant with my daughter, and that has not stopped.