Activism: Now It's Our Turn
Like so many social movements in the past, young people have been at the center of driving social change. With technological advances and the use of social media, activism has changed over time. All of this year’s events are geared toward exploring the many complex topics and critiques around contemporary social actions through the lens of youth activism. The year’s theme focused on youth activism and strategies employed in current social movements, including the use and effectiveness of activism through social media, art, demonstration, acts of solidarity and ally work. Legendary rapper and activist Talib Kweli delivered the week’s keynote address, where he discussed his personal experiences as an activist through music and the importance of continued engagement by today’s youth.
Sustaining Our Culture
The term “powwow” originates from a Narragansett word, pau wau. It became an instrumental platform for passing down knowledge such as language, song, dance and medicine. Today, the powwow at the U is an opportunity for tribal members throughout the Intermountain West and others to meet to honor the cultural and religious practices of the American Indian community.This year’s northern host drum was White Bull and the southern host drum was performed by Southern Style.
Queering Safe Spaces
When it comes to sanctuary spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community, oftentimes these spaces are found in realms of art, athletics, or various social pockets in the community. Sanctuary spaces offer refuge and a sense of freedom, but what happens when these spaces end up excluding parts of the community or are no longer safe? This year’s theme explored the meaning of a “safe space” and how they affect those included – or excluded – in those realms. Featured guests included Jeff Sheng, Sky Cubacub, and B Cole.
The Political Body
How we approach women’s health — as individuals, communities and as a country — is tied up in broad issues of political personhood and women’s rights. This year’s theme, “The Political Body” focused on the political implications of legislated regulation of women’s bodies. Topics included adoption as a form of reproductive access, campus rape culture, and local access to health care for marginalized communities. Former Texas state Senator Wendy Davis delivered a keynote address on the implications of removing access to reproductive health care.
Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are two well-known phenomena that fuel religious discrimination. Though they stem from distinctly different histories and ideologies, both have historically and recently been triggered by economic, political and social stress, and its perpetrators relied heavily on misrepresentation and misunderstanding of a religious community. Guest speakers Professors Reuven Firestone and Simran Jeet Singh explored how these two phenomena differ, but also how they illuminate one another.
Sustaining Our Culture
The Sustaining our Culture Powwow is a time for American Indian/Alaskan Native students, faculty, and staff to come together and promote appropriate representation of their culture on campus. Additionally, the Powwow provides an opportunity for the Inter-Tribal Student Association to engage and connect with the larger American Indian/Alaskan Native community in the Wasatch Front. This year’s northern host drum was North Bear, a celebrated drum group from the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Grayhawk, a local Utah group performed the southern host drum.
Pride Week at the U
Diversity and inclusiveness are core values of the U, and Pride Week celebrates the diversity of gender and sexual identities among the larger campus community and diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community. The week’s events provided a forum to promote the visibility of and diversity within the LGBTQIA+ community, engage in dialogue around LGBTQIA+ identities and issues and provide welcoming and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and staff.
Stolen Rights: Repressed. Revoked. Redefined.
Focused on civil rights that have been repressed throughout history; revoked in current events; and redefined through service, art, and activism, Princeton professor, activist and author Imani Perry gave the week’s keynote address on recent police shootings, the battle of racial inequality, and American race relations in the 21st century.
Consider it Handled
Women’s Week offers a forum for students, faculty and the community at large to have an open dialogue on issues around gender inequality, sexual identity, women in leadership, mentorship and empowerment. This year’s theme guided workshops and dialogues on advocacy and allyship within leadership, money management, networking, and community building.
Policing Sexuality Then & Now
This year’s theme explored normalization and the oppression of non-heterosexual individuals during the German Holocaust. The events were a platform to discuss ways in which sexual desire and orientation are policed in the 21st century. The University of Utah’s U Remembers logo stands both as an act of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and stance against genocide. The open hand asks for forgiveness while securing the eternal flame. We must not let history repeat itself. The U Remembers.
How does your community remember? This year’s theme, “U Remembers,” focused on communal memory – how people collectively look back at events through memorials, artwork, museums and other actions. The Holocaust epitomizes one of the darkest periods of world history – an example of human cruelty played out on a massive scale. It exemplifies a powerful majority’s refusal to tolerate minorities and to respect their right to survive. Commemorating the Holocaust provides an opportunity to reflect on this tragic failing and to understand that the victims were human beings just like us. Preventing this type of atrocity from reoccurring can only succeed if we can begin to recognize the other as ourselves.
Beneath the Hoodie: A Look at Racial Profiling in America
MLK 2014 created a platform for a discussion of police brutality and racial profiling. The keynote address was given by Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, one of the leading hip-hop generation intellectuals in the country. Additional guests included Sybrina Fulton and Joaquin Zihuatanejo.
Face Everything And Rise
James L. Farmer, Jr., leader and activist of the Civil Rights Movement, highlighted the true process of social change when he stated, “Anyone who said they weren’t afraid during the civil rights movement was either a liar or without imagination. I was scared all the time. My hands didn’t shake, but inside I was shaking.” In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and countless others who chose to vacate their comfort zones and stand for a cause, this year’s MLK Week challenges us to redefine the definition of fear and its role in the fight for freedom and equality. As individuals (and a community), we must remember to never be deterred by fear, as it is an essential milestone in successfully combating systematic racism and oppression. This year’s theme will challenge you to redefine, persevere, and overcome the urge to fear everything and run, but rather Face Everything And Rise.
The University of Utah has a strong commitment to helping women succeed. The university has programs in place to support women year-round, and taking a week to celebrate women elevates those programs. This year aimed to allow women to connect with each other, identify goals and passions and learn skills to confront challenges that inhibit their progress. This included a dialogue on how to support parents in the workplace, collaborative workshops, and exploring social barriers that prevent success.
Imagine U: Beyond Marriage, Moving Forward
This year’s theme focused on living authentically by achieving equality beyond marriage and gender expectations. Keynote Laverne Cox shared personal experiences to explore how the intersections of race, class, and gender affect the lives of transgender women of color.
70 Years Later: Remembering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943
This year’s theme recalled the largest Jewish revolt of World War II. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising represents the indomitable human spirit rising up against impossible odds in the face of abject horror and inhumanity. Keynote Peter Black, Senior Historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, focused on genocide motivated by religious and ethnic hatred. Highlights included the significance of religious discrimination as well as the role that all religions play in resisting and combating intolerance.
Justice for All: At What Cost?
The keynote address was given by Rev. Jesse Jackson, a world-renowned civil rights activist and politician who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and has since continued the fight for social change. At his sold-out event, he challenged attendees to “honor the American promise of equal rights and possibilities for all”.
Learning through Giving: Mentoring Young Women
Keynote Dr. Edith “Winx” Lawrence presented her thoughts on the benefits of mentoring to both adolescent and college women in the areas of self-esteem and finding one’s passions and meaningful careers that can make a difference in critical issues young women face today.
Pride Has No Borders
The theme for the week was “Pride Has No Borders.” Some of the more notable events included: A special production of “Geography Club” was put on by the Theatre Department; bingo night with the Cyber Sluts; showing and discussion of the documentary “Transgender Basics—Gender Identity Project (GIP)”; a panel discussion on the intersection of immigration and LGBTQIA+ identities; the annual Gay-la and Silent Auction.
70 Years Later: Remembering the Wannsee Conference and the “Final Solution”
“1942 was the most astounding year of murder in the Holocaust. One of the most astounding years of murder in the whole history of mankind.” On the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, Holocaust historian and keynote speaker Mark Roseman shared insights into the infamous January 1942 meeting in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, where top Nazi leaders met to discuss and coordinate the Holocaust. “Wansee offers a window into a paradigm of a chilling, recognizably human, indescribably inhumane process of evolution and adaptation. [At Wansee] what we find is the capacity in individuals and the system to evolve and adapt into murder.”
Powerful Beyond Measure: Women, Work & Education
This year’s theme honored the achievements women have made professionally and the importance of education in those achievements while focusing on the conflicts and challenges encountered by various identities in education, research, healthcare, and the workplace. Keynote Dr. Cynthia A. Bioteau, the first woman CEO of Salt Lake Community College, discussed her expertise and passion for establishing accessible and critical education for all community members.
Are U Out?
Pride Week at the University of Utah celebrates the contributions of LGBT students, faculty and alumni who enrich the culture of the campus and community. Together, we work to create an educational environment that fosters greater understanding and respect for all people. This year celebrated the remodel for the LGBT Resource Center and welcomed nationally-renowned gender rights activist Pauline Park and Broadway performer Staceyann Chin to campus.
70 Years Later: Remembering the Nazi Invasion of the Soviet Union
On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in what has been called a “war of annihilation” in Hitler’s quest for world domination and Jewish extermination. This week commemorated the Holocaust of World War II with an examination of this tragic invasion, in which hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. Millions of victims, including over 6 million Jews, were murdered by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. The commemoration featured a keynote address by Peter Black, chief historian at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D. C.
Reaffirming Equal Opportunity: Keeping the Dream Alive
This year strove to ‘keep the dream alive’ and highlighted the contributions and legacy of the late community leader as work continues toward the realization of equal opportunity for all. Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw and Dr. Michael A. Olivas gave keynote addresses on reaffirming equal opportunity and the dangers of anti-immigrant narratives, respectively.
Ain’t Misbehaving: Women Making History, Fighting for Equality
In many areas, women are still fighting for equality. Both nationally and locally women are paid less than men for doing the same work; lag behind in graduation rates and in entering the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Women’s Week celebrates women’s accomplishments but also reminds us there is work to be done. Women’s Week 2011 highlighted the progress women have made toward equality in the workplace, education, athletics and more, while underscoring the need for continued strides toward full parity.
Rights, Resistance, and Resilience: Indigenous Peoples Continue the Struggle
This year explored topics surrounding ethnocultural respect and indigenous rights on both a national and global perspective. Nobel Peace Prize recipient Rigoberta Menchu Tum gave the keynote address on resistance, activism, social justice, and ethnocultural reconciliation.