Women's rights in the Congo and human trafficking are two keynote topics for Women's History Month at Eastern Michigan University

by Debra Johnson, Published March 05, 2012


YPSILANTI - The Women's and Gender Studies Program at Eastern Michigan University will host a month of events that includes nationally known keynote speakers, films, lectures and performances as it celebrates Women's History Month.

Events start Tuesday, March 6, with the viewing of the film "The Greatest Silence," by Emmy winner Lisa Jackson. The film documents the lives and stories of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A discussion about the film and novel "The Help," in which a group of black maids in the South in the early 1960s tell their stories, will wrap up the month's events Thursday, March 22. 

In addition to exhibits, panel discussions and workshops, five distinguished women will share their passion and unique perspectives when they present their personal stories through narratives and song.

"The events for the 2012 Women's History Month at EMU give attention to the most pressing concerns of women around the world and in the U.S.," said Linda Pritchard, Department Head of EMU's Women's and Gender Studies Program. "We are fortunate to have exceptionally strong voices representing these issues."

Highlights of the month include:

  • Carrie Crawford, will discuss, "A Salute to the Women of the Congo: Courage and Resistance in the Face of Impunity," Wednesday, March 7, 7 p.m., in the Student Center auditorium. Crawford is co-founder and current chair of the Friends of the Congo, a non-profit advocacy organization that works to bring peace and lasting change in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Crawford has more than fifteen years of experience in legal affairs, including immigration law, conflict resolution and human rights.
  • As part of the International Women's Day celebration, Wijdan Al-Sayigh, from the University of Michigan, will be the guest speaker at a luncheon Thursday, March 8, 12:30 - 2 p.m., room 352 in the Student Center. Al-Sayigh will speak about "Women of the Arab Spring," an eventco-sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Department and International Programs. She has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and seminars and has published several articles.
  • Theresa Flores will share her compelling story about her involvement in trafficking and slavery in her speech, "Looking Beneath the Surface: Human Trafficking in the United States," Thursday, March 8, 7 p.m., in the Student Center auditorium. Flores was just 15 when she was drugged, raped and tortured for two years while living in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit. She has been a guest on The Today Show and MSNBC, and appears in Kidnap & Rescue, a TV series that airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.
  • Ivan Coyote, a renowned performer and storyteller, will entertain audiences with her distinctive voice in "Chest Air," Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m., in the Student Center auditorium. Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in Canada. She is an award-winning author of six collections of short stories, one novel, three CD's and four short films. Coyote says her first love is live storytelling, and over the last eighteen years, she has become an audience favorite as she travelled throughout the United States and Europe.
  • Brittney Cooper, will discuss "Race and Feminism in the Digital Age," Monday, March 19, 7 p.m., in the Student Center auditorium. Cooper is co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective, a hip-hop generation feminist-of-color collective of scholar-activists who blog on issues related to feminism and popular culture. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Race Studies at the University of Alabama and a Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Center for Race and Ethnicity at Rutgers University.

For a complete list of all of the Women's History Month events, visit the EMU Women's History Month events homepage

Debra Johnson

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