TU’s Diversity Speaker Series looks at ‘Why Women of Color Matter’

By Kyle Hobstetter on April 22, 2019

Scholar and journalist Melissa Harris-Perry comes to Towson University to have a conversation about contributions made by women of color

Melissa Harris-Perry
Towson University will welcome journalist and scholar Melissa Harris-Perry to campus for the Diversity Speaker Series

As both a journalist and professor, Melissa Harris-Perry has been researching, teaching at writing about women of color. And as a woman of color herself, she is very passionate about the subject. 

She will bring that passion to Towson University as part of the Diversity Speaker Series, which takes place on Tuesday, April 22 at SECU Arena. Admission is free with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the event beginning at 6:30 p.m. 

Each semester, Towson University and the Division of Student Affairs partner to host this signature event which brings a one-of-a-kind speaker to campus to discuss social issues facing the TU Community. This semester's event is also being co-sponsored by the Office of Inclusion & Institutional Equity.

For Harris-Perry, who is the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University and has been teaching for over 20 years, she considers it an honor to be invited to talk to the TU and Greater Baltimore communities.

“A campus is a place of home, work, struggle and growth for everyone who is part of it,” says Harris-Perry. “I am excited and humbled to be invited to Towson University and hope I can contribute something valuable during my visit.” 

Harris-Perry has been committed to diversifying American journalism and mentoring emerging public voices. She is the founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race and Politics in the South, which investigates how gender and race intersect to shape women’s politics in the South. 

She currently serves as editor-at-large of Elle.com and a contributing editor at The Nation. From 2012-2016 she hosted the television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” on weekend mornings on MSNBC and was awarded the Hillman Prize for broadcast journalism. 

Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other print and digital venues. She was among the initial cohort of writers for TheRoot.com and authored highly regarded columns for both Essence and The Nation.

Harris-Perry's presentation for the Diversity Speaker Series, titled “Intersections of Campus and Community: How and Why Women of Color Matter,” will look at the distinct ways women of color approach the spheres of knowledge production, community action, and political organizing.

“Paying attention to these unique contributions made by black women and women of color provides new ways of understanding the potential and possibilities for how campuses and communities engage with each other,” says Harris-Perry.

When asked what the audience can expect from her presentation, she said she wants it to feel more like a conversation than a public lecture. That’s why she’s excited to get to campus and get a dialogue going.

“I will bring a theoretical lens, historical context, and some contemporary data but I also know the people in the audience will have their own expertise drawn from life experiences, theory, and study,” says Harris-Perry. "If we get the balance just right, then we will jointly create the message rather than simply having me come to tell a single story.”