Undergrad Men & Sexual Assault

Despite my reputation as a humorless feminist, I’ve been working with a small group of undergrad men (& one female student!) on a group called M.A.R.S. – Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault. We have a huge – huger than predicted or expected – event happening tomorrow night where we’ll be showing that short clip on safety and I’ll be speaking super-briefly.

And it’s been amazing, to be honest. I know a lot of you roll your eyes at this kind of thing, and I know an awful lot of queer women, especially, who just can’t and won’t work with the guys, & all for very good reasons. But I like guys. Always have. In so many ways. So this work was really right up my alley, especially as I got to partner with a local community leader, my friend Shannon Kenevan, and the local sexual assault center, SACC. I’m the faculty advisor to Lawrence’s feminist group, DFC, too, so it really brought a lot of worlds together for me.

There are staff and other faculty on board who have been helping organize, too, and of course we needed funding and meetings and space and all of the many things that have to come together. Joe Samalin of Breakthrough is coming to speak as well – so this event draws from campus, local, statewide, and national talent.

But mostly I’m just thankful to be able to do what I do, to know such amazing, inspired, angry young people who want to make a difference, but most especially I’m thankful for all of the women who have stood up to tell their stories and worked to dismantle rape culture from the ground up.

Mara Keisling Comes to Appleton

She’ll be coming here to Lawrence University in 8 days, that is, & I’m very please that LU’s Gender Studies program and Government department, as well as the Fox Valley INCLUDE initiative AND the LU student group GLOW are all helping co-sponsor.

Mara is one of my favorite people, an amazing speaker, funny, wonky, and deeply compassionate.

Here’s the FB event page, and more info:

Thursday, April 11th

Changing Minds, Changing Policy: Lessons from a DC Activist – NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling will discuss creating alliances in order to achieve policy and legislative changes that benefit marginalized communities.

This event is free and open to the public, so please, invite anyone who may be interested.

Lynda Barry Talk

Lynda Barry spoke at a recent Lawrence University convocation, & it was one of the best I’ve seen. This is a totally worthwhile hour whether you’re an artist, a fan of Barry’s, or neither.

I’m not sure how she became who she is, but she’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned.

Happy Holidays!

And this, a new video created by my lovely spouse and performed by members of Lawrence’s amazing Conservatory. Or, this is the pretty place where we work.

Get Off the Bus: Anton Valukas

I had the pleasure of attending Lawrence’s 2012 Commencement, where I saw so many of the very best of my former students graduate. But the commencement address by Lawrence ’65 alum Anton Valukas really inspired me, both personally and professionally:

It is so, so rare to hear anyone talk about economic justice and the class system in America. And while I love the “Paint the Bus” idea, I was far more struck with what it would take to “Get Off the Bus” – the story he tells about a minister who had to do so as a Freedom Rider really made me wonder if I could do it. I don’t know that I could. But I do know, from other things I’ve done, what it means to feel that kind of free. They are terrifying and profound moments, but they are some of the only times in my life that I feel an intense connection to life, to being present, to the amazing dignity of what it can mean to be a human being.

Thank you, Mr. Valukas. It’s not often an activist gets this kind of adrenaline shot of re-affirmation.

First Watch

One of the great pleasures of working at Lawrence is getting to see someone like Michael Mizrahi play on a regular basis: different music, different groups, different stages, but all of it thoughtful, moving, and beautiful.

& He makes me miss my town with this clip, too.