Univ honors MLK Day with gender identity 'teach-in'

  • Illinois Wesleyan University will mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a gender identity "teach in."
  • The afternoon-long event will feature two speakers, including a "black, queer feminist community organizer" and an LGBT activist.

Illinois Wesleyan University is planning to mark Martin Luther King, Jr. day with a gender identity "teach-in." 

The Jan. 21 event at the United Methodist Church-affiliated university will feature two speakers. Charlene Carruthers, whose website describes her as a "black, queer feminist community organizer," will deliver the keynote for the famed civil rights activist and former Baptist minister. LGBT activist Dave Bentlin, president of Prairie Pride Coalition, is also slated to speak. 

Charlene Carruthers, whose website describes her as a "black, queer feminist community organizer," will deliver the keynote...   

The afternoon-long event will conclude with a "session on gender identity and human rights" which will be led by the IWU Pride Alliance. The theme of the event, according to a university news release, is gender and social justice. 

[RELATED: OWU offers 'social justice' major with mandatory 'activism' work]

Carruthers, who received IWU's Outstanding Young Alumna Award in 2017, authored the book Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements, which was released in August. 

"Drawing on Black intellectual and grassroots organizing traditions, including the Haitian Revolution, the U.S. civil rights movement, and LGBTQ rights and feminist movements, Unapologetic challenges all of us engaged in the social justice struggle to make the movement for Black liberation more radical, more queer, and more feminist," a description of the book on Carruthers' website reads.

To honor King in 2018, Florida State University hosted former Communist Party USA member Angela Davis. The university said Davis' invitation served “to bring the FSU Tallahassee communities together to reflect on the past and challenge one another to be engaged in creating social justice and advocating for the civil rights of all.”

 [RELATED: Communist leader gives MLK Day speech at Florida State]

The King Center, whose stated mission is "educating the world on the life, legacy, and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," and IWU did not return a request for comment in time for publication. 

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Jon Street is a news editor for Campus Reform. Six years ago, Jon cut his reporting teeth fresh out of college as an intern at Media Research Center's CNSNews.com, where he interviewed multiple members of Congress and former presidential candidates. From there, he went on to complete a stint at Watchdog.org, where his exclusive, investigative work was picked up or cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Review, and the Drudge Report, among others. More recently, Jon spent three years as an assistant editor at TheBlaze.com. In his free time, Jon enjoys trying new coffeehouses around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and traveling back to his home state of Missouri to spend time with his family.

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