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Activists will confront social justice issues at Western Reads event

On three consecutive days, Western will welcome a trio of social justice activists to speak and discuss issues relevant to Western Reads’ 2015-16 book, “Do it Anyway: The New Generation of Activists.” Each speaker was selected to tackle tough subjects that Western Reads Program Director Dawn Dietrich said she feels will further a conversation about social issues ranging from gay and lesbian rights to racial rights, and everything in between. “(Injustices) are happening across the nation. We want to look at activism today and let the students decide how to react to the speakers confronting change head on,” Dietrich said. “People like this are changing the world.” The first speaker will be Charlene Strong, an advocate for equality of human rights, especially in the lesbian and gay community. The 2008 award-winning documentary, “For My Wife…” tells Strong’s story of inspiration in the midst of her wife’s death. Strong will speak in the Wilson Library reading room at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26, according to a Western Today article. On Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. in Miller Hall 138, Dean Spade will discuss transgender activism, and the legal services he helps to provide, in conjunction with his book, “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law,” according to a Western Today article. The presentation, “Reflections on Race and Education in the Time of Racial Unrest,” will conclude the three-day event on Thursday, Jan. 28 in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room at 6:30 p.m. by Dena Simmons, according to a Western Today article. Simmons is acclaimed as both an educator and activist who has a doctorate that emphasizes combatting bullying as a teacher. Each talk is free and open to the public. Dietrich said the speakers can leave their mark on all in attendance. “We wanted a book students can have a dialogue about,” Dietrich said. “Each speaker has an inspiring story, everyone will be able to hear something they can relate to.” Contact Dietrich for more information on any of the speaking engagements at


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