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‘Racing Toward Justice’ series begins Sept. 29

| Gary Johnson

New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay will kick off a new monthly program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire titled “Racing Toward Justice” that highlights speakers on topics of race and social justice.

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay

Gay will take part in a free livestreamed program at 6 p.m. Sept. 29. The virtual program can be accessed on UW-Eau Claire's livestream page that night and will consist of a 30-minute presentation by Gay, followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer segment.

Gay is the author of New York Times bestselling books “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger,” as well as the nationally bestselling “Difficult Women.”

Gay’s conversation will examine race through an intersectional lens and against a backdrop of current events in America. Gay’s work garners international acclaim for its exploration of feminism, social criticism and identity.

“Racing Toward Justice” is the flagship program of The Center for Racial and Restorative Justice, a new center at UW-Eau Claire. The center’s goal is to educate students and the greater Eau Claire community about the history of race in America and the barriers to upward mobility for people of color.

Dr. Christopher Jorgenson, director of UW-Eau Claire’s Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, and Dr. Demetrius Smith, special assistant to the vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and student affairs, developed and oversee the monthly program.

“Whenever the opportunity arises to host dynamic people whose personal and professional work examines race in the United States, it is critical to our institutional health and well-being to make it happen,” Jorgenson says. “To examine race is to open ourselves to critical inquiry and the uncomfortable truth that racism both on and off campus is the predictable result of historical revisionism and white supremacy.”

The “Racing Toward Justice” programs will feature a speaker, discussion or panel each month; no programs will be scheduled in December and May. The program’s goal is to feature educators, activists and authors whose works and voices represent often-excluded identities and experiences.

Jorgenson said the speakers in the monthly programs are known for their contributions to education and cultural understandings of often volatile issues.

“Actionable steps require an honest accounting of race in the United States, and this program complements UW-Eau Claire’s institutional commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion,” Jorgenson says.

Upcoming speakers

Other presenters have been announced

  • Alok Vaid-Menon, a gender-nonconforming writer and performance artist with a distinctive style and poetic challenge to gender, will present virtually at 6 p.m. Oct. 20. As a mixed-media artist Alok uses poetry, prose, comedy, performance, fashion design and portraiture to explore themes of gender, race, trauma, belonging and the human condition.
  • Dr. Kim TallBear will be the virtual program speaker at 6 p.m. Nov. 10. TallBear is an associate professor of native studies at the University of Alberta and the author of “Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science.”