The Student Life Multicultural Center will host its keynote speaker, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, Mar. 21 in Hitchcock Hall in celebration of Women’s History Month.
The MCC has hosted several events throughout the month highlighting achievements in women’s history and contemporary society, according to its website. The keynote event will culminate its “And Still We Rise” program for the month.
This year’s Women’s History Month was different than previous years’ with the university creating a full-time permanent position geared toward women initiatives, Madison Eagle, intercultural specialist for the MCC and programmer of Women’s History Month, said.
“I am a big believer of the idea that representation matters, so I wanted to be intentional about bringing women of color to campus,” Eagle said. “We’re trying to make sure students see themselves in the programming.”
Eagle also met with a diverse group of students to hear their ideas and feedback on what would serve the student population best when planning Women’s History Month. Along with the staff organizers, the group helped create the overall theme of the event.
Raven Neal-Jackson, a fourth-year in human development and family studies, as well as a student associate with the MCC, said this month is all about unity.
“The main message we want to send throughout the month is that as students, we’re a lot stronger together,” Neal-Jackson said.
Neal-Jackson said the group hoped this message would create a sense of community among different groups of people, and that when students learn about other cultures, it will help fill the void of a lack of community on campus.
Known for being involved in the fight for equality, Huerta is the perfect speaker for the month’s goals as she brings in diverse perspectives from her experiences as a Latina woman, Indra Levya, MCC intercultural specialist, said.
“She’s done so much for so many groups like women’s rights groups, Filipino groups, LGBT groups, labor groups; she’s truly an intersectional social justice activist,” Levya said.
Whether students are familiar with her before the event, Levya said she believes that all students will be greatly impacted by hearing Huerta speak about her story of more than 50 years of working as a community organizer, which has allowed her several honors and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012.
“It’s great for all students to see [Huerta] here,” Leyva said. “She’s in the community, and she’s doing the work.”