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Teach-in, justice fair at IU Bloomington will highlight issue of violence against women of color

For Immediate Release Mar 13, 2017

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A teach-in event – featuring a panel presentation and town hall-style discussion, followed by a justice fair consisting of about 30 campus and community organizations – will take place on the Indiana University Bloomington campus at 6 p.m. March 21.

The event, “Violent Intersections: Women of Color in the Age of Trump,” will focus on violence against women of color both before and since the presidential inauguration and will take place at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union. It is open to both the IU Bloomington campus and members of the community.

“I am so pleased that this event is taking place on the IU Bloomington campus and providing a forum for individuals to connect,” said James Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and dean of the University Graduate School. “With the excellent panelists and organizations who will be present, I think it’s a great opportunity for students, faculty, staff and area residents.” 

Panelists include Asma Afsaruddin, an IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures; Kali Gross, a professor of African-American studies at Wesleyan University; and Evelyn Smith, community outreach coordinator for Bloomington’s Middle Way House, which offers programs and services to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Afsaruddin will discuss Islamophobia and gendered violence against Muslim women. Gross, a historian, will focus on black and Latino women and state-sanctioned violence from a national perspective. Smith will tackle intimate-partner and domestic violence in Monroe County, with an emphasis on women of color.

The discussion will be moderated by Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, IU Bloomington Ruth N. Halls associate professor of history and gender studies. Myers previously organized a 2015 teach-in and justice fair at IU Bloomington called “It’s Not So Black and White: Talking Race from Ferguson to Bloomington,” about 2014 police shootings that sparked nationwide protests.

“I think it’s important to expose our campus and the community to the best and brightest minds that are working on these particular issues,” said Myers, winner of a 2017 IU Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Building Bridges Award. “If we don’t talk about these things on a university campus, where else can we? This is where we have not only incredibly smart faculty and staff but where we have incredibly intelligent, inquiring students who want to know and who are going to be our future leaders.

“The hope is to actually not have just people who are already active; it’s to reach out and engage people who are not yet involved but are curious, who are open and would like to learn more about these issues. I think it’s important that we reach a cross-section of people: administrators, faculty, staff, students, residents of Bloomington, just regular, average everyday people.”

Following the panel, which encourages attendees to engage in the discussion, the justice fair will take place in the University Club, also in the Indiana Memorial Union. The participating organizations will have tables with representatives available to provide resources about the issues discussed and information on how to get involved.

Additionally, there will be two creative presentations by IU faculty. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, an assistant professor of contemporary dance in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance, will perform a choreographed piece about Muslim women and the Islamic faith. Professor Ross Gay, an acclaimed poet and the director of the creative writing program in the Department of English, will read one of his original poems.

“Amrita has organized a truly remarkable event with distinguished and knowledgeable panelists, impactful campus and community organizations, and other talented IU faculty all making contributions,” said John Nieto-Phillips, assistant vice provost for faculty development and diversity and associate professor of history. “I believe it will be very beneficial to all who attend, and I personally look forward to learning more about the issues at hand myself.”

Sponsoring the event are IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, the Union Board, the Office of First-Year Experience and the Department of History. The panel discussion will be streamed live and archived on

Media Contact

Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs

Elizabeth Blevins

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