Illinois Wesleyan to address gender and social justice for MLK teach-in

Charlene Carruthers
(Photo from IWU)

BLOOMINGTON — “Gender and social justice” is this year’s theme for Illinois Wesleyan University’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Teach-In on Monday, Jan. 2, the university said in an announcement this week.

IWU alum Charlene Carruthers will deliver the keynote. She is the founding national director of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) and the recipient of the Illinois Wesleyan University 2017 Outstanding Young Alumna Award. Her book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements, was released in August 2018.

Carruther’s speech is titled “Gender Justice is Social Justice: An Unapologetic Perspective on Black Liberation” and will discuss the legacy of fighting for a world without gender-based oppression across racial, economic and LGBTQ rights movements, IWU stated.

After the keynote, Dave Bentlin, president of the Prairie Pride Coalition, will present a talk at 2 p.m. titled “Pre-Stonewall Actions That Formed the Foundation for a Modern-Day LGBTQI+ Movement.” In addition to his leadership position with the Prairie Pride Coalition, Bentlin has played major roles in the Bloomington Human Relations Commission and the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The teach-in will conclude with a session beginning at 3 p.m. focused on “gender identity and human rights.” The session will be led by the IWU Pride Alliance, a student-run organization dedicated to equality for all students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The full schedule is:

Location: Illinois Wesleyan University Hansen Student Center
Theme: Gender and Social Justice
Free and Open to the Public
1 p.m.: Keynote Address by Activist and Author Charlene Carruthers
2 p.m.: Dave Bentlin, President of Prairie Pride Coalition
3 p.m.: Session on Gender Identity and Human Rights led by IWU Pride Alliance

As a side note, One News Now, the news outlet for the anti-LGBTQ hate group American Family Association, has also reported about the teach in with the headline “MLK Jr. gets the SJW treatment” which… pretty much says they had no idea what he actually did. They do report that a conservative POC group Project 21 thinks the teach-in is not a reflection of what Martin Luther King Jr. fought for and that the LGBTQ community is “hijacking” the civil rights struggle.

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