MLK Teach-In to Focus on Gender and Social Justice
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — “Gender and social justice” is this year’s theme for Illinois
Wesleyan University’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Teach-In on Monday, Jan.
21 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hansen Student Center. The Teach-In is free and open
to the public.
Illinois Wesleyan alum Charlene Carruthers ’07 – one of America’s most influential
activists – will deliver the keynote address at 1 p.m. titled “Gender Justice is Social
Justice: An Unapologetic Perspective on Black Liberation.” Carruthers will discuss
the legacy of fighting for a world without gender-based oppression across racial,
economic and LGBTQ rights movements.
A strategist, writer and leading community organizer in today’s movement for Black
liberation, Carruthers has more than a decade of experience in racial justice, feminist,
and youth leadership development movement work. She is the founding national director
of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), an activist member-led organization of Black
18- to 35-year-olds dedicated to creating justice and freedom for all Black people.
Recognized as one of the top-10 most influential African Americans by The Root 100,
Carruthers was also the recipient of the Illinois Wesleyan University 2017 Outstanding Young Alumna Award. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and international studies at Illinois
Wesleyan, Carruthers received a master’s degree in social work at Washington University
in St. Louis. She is the author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements which was released on Aug. 28, 2018.
Following Carruthers’ keynote address, President of Prairie Pride Coalition Dave Bentlin
will present a talk at 2 p.m. titled “Pre-Stonewall Actions That Formed the Foundation
for a Modern-Day LGBTQI+ Movement.” Bentlin, who serves in the Office of the President
at Illinois State University, is an advocate for the LGBTQ community. In addition
to his leadership position with the Prairie Pride Coalition, Bentline has played major
roles in the Bloomington Human Relations Commission and the Central Illinois Chapter
of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Teach-In will conclude with a session beginning at 3 p.m. focused on "gender identity
and human rights." The session will be led by the IWU Pride Alliance, which is a student-run organization dedicated to equality for all students regardless
of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Held annually, the Teach-In honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who spoke at Illinois Wesleyan in 1961 and 1966 in his only visits to the Bloomington-Normal community.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Teach-In Schedule Date: Monday, Jan. 21 Location: Illinois Wesleyan University Hansen Student Center Theme: Gender and Social Justice Free and Open to the Public 1 p.m.: Keynote Address by Activist and Author Charlene Carruthers '07 2 p.m.: Dave Bentlin, President of Prairie Pride Coalition 3 p.m.: Session on Gender Identity and Human Rights led by IWU Pride Alliance