The year 2020 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Centering on this historical milestone and ongoing efforts to advance gender justice, Crossroads School’s Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series will feature a slate of virtual events honoring distinguished “women revolutionaries.” In September, the School hosted an evening with renowned activist and author Dr. Angela Davis
Forthcoming speakers in the series include associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism Joanna Mendelson (Oct. 19), civil rights activist and community organizer Dolores Huerta (Dec. 7), co-executive director and founder of Women’s March Foundation Emiliana Guereca (Jan. 12, 2021) and social justice advocate and celebrated poet Nikki Giovanni (April 19, 2021). Each of these virtual events is free and open to the public.
“During an important election year, the work of the Equity & Justice Institute as a nexus of social justice education becomes even more vital for Crossroads’ students and our community,” says the Institute’s Founding Director Derric J. Johnson. “This year’s speaker series brings a range of societal issues to the forefront by examining how women revolutionaries have been instrumental in creating an equitable and just society.”
On Oct. 19, the Institute presents Joanna Mendelson
, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. In this role, Mendelson works to combat white supremacists, anti-government militia groups, terrorism and all forms of hate in the real world and online. Mendelson will be speaking about the dangerous proliferation of white supremacist extremist groups in the U.S. and in California.
The next speaker will be civil rights activist and community organizer Dolores Huerta, presenting on Dec. 7. Huerta, who founded the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez in 1962, has worked for labor rights and social justice for over 50 years. In 2012, President Barack Obama recognized Huerta’s efforts by bestowing her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
On Jan. 12, 2021, the Institute will present Emiliana Guereca, co-executive director of Women’s March Foundation, which she founded in 2016. Guereca has been the driving force behind the four official Women’s Marches in Los Angeles. In addition to this work, Guereca advocates for women’s rights, Latinx education and gender equality and has served as the bridge between community organizations and coalition building that spans national levels.
To conclude the 2020-21 the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series, esteemed poet Nikki Giovanni will speak on April 19, 2021. Giovanni has been one of the nation’s most celebrated and controversial poets since her debut in the 1960s. She is the recipient of a NAACP Image Award, Langston Hughes Medal for poetry and the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award. A passionate defender of social justice, Giovanni remains one of the most commanding voices gracing America’s political and poetic landscape.