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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Oct. 11, 2012

Social Justice Awareness Week to feature speakers, workshops

Download a flyer for Social Justice Awareness Week by clicking here.

Northwest Missouri State University will aim to raise awareness of social justice during a special week of lectures and workshops that will be both entertaining and educational for the University community.

The Social Justice Awareness Week will be Monday, Oct. 15, through Friday, Oct. 19. All events are free and open to the public. Seats for the workshops are limited, however, and interested individuals are encouraged to arrive early to ensure a seat.

The week’s activities begin with the next installment of the SAC Speaks lecture series, featuring Zach Wahls at 7 p.m. Monday in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom. The son of two lesbian mothers, the 19-year-old University of Iowa engineering student gave a heartfelt testimony before the Iowa House Committee in January 2011 that spread virally and landed him on multiple talk shows, including the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” From the experience, Wahls penned a game-changing college and university lecture, titled “What makes a family?”

As the week continues, diversity educator Jessica Pettitt will lead a series of three workshops, beginning with “Mean It: The Meaning of Everyday Action” at 3 p.m. Tuesday in The Station Center Room. Pettitt will lead two workshops Wednesday; “Social Justice: When Diversity Isn’t Enough” begins at 3 p.m. in The Station Center Room, and “Be the Change You Want To Be” is at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Nominated twice as Best Diversity Artist by Campus Activities Magazine, Pettitt’s highly interactive style weaves politics, theory, current events and storytelling with large doses of humor. The success of her programs lies in her 10-plus years of experience in Student Affairs, more than five years of national consulting work and two years as a stand-up comedian, all of which have helped define her mission to inspire change, dismantle oppression and recognize privileges. 

Thursday, Working Group Theatre, will lead a workshop, “Theater of the Oppressed,” from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Student Union Tower View Dining Room. Working Group Theatre, whose members are on the Northwest campus and working with students throughout October, creates plays and educational programs with the mission of engaging diverse audiences and presenting untold stories, while eliminating social and economic barriers to theater attendance.

The week’s activities conclude with “Coffee and Conversation: Do We Promote Social Justice?” from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday in the Intercultural International Center, located on the second floor of the Student Union. 

“These are conversations that we need to have all the time as our population grows more diverse,” said Steve Bryant, Northwest’s Director of Intercultural Affairs. “It’s important for all of us to learn how to work with people who are different from you and me in order for each of us to be successful.”

The events are sponsored by Northwest’s Intercultural International Center, the Office of Campus Activities, the Office of Volunteer Service Learning and Civic Engagement, the Office of Residential Life, Wellness Services, the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Student Senate, the Student Activities Council and the Office of Intercultural Affairs.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468