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Women's March co-chair to speak at KU on violence against women, including gun violence

In this Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, civil rights activist Tamika Mallory speaks at a news conference in New York.

Tamika Mallory, the activist who helped organized this year’s Women’s March on Washington, will visit the University of Kansas campus Tuesday as the Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series speaker.

Mallory will discuss violence against women, particularly those from marginalized communities, during her hourlong lecture at Kansas Union’s Woodruff Auditorium.

The 10th annual event, slated for 7 p.m., is sponsored by the Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity, with help from several KU and Lawrence organizations.

Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor Center, said Mallory became a frontrunner for the annual lecture series after serving as a national co-chair for the Women’s March, which drew an estimated 470,000 people to the nation’s capital and millions more in related marches across the country this past January.

“We identified Tamika Mallory after the Women’s March because of her phenomenal ability to mobilize the nation in a way that really hasn’t been done before to talk about these issues — gender equity and sexual violence — and to raise important conversations that need to be had,” Rose-Mockry said.

Those conversations, she noted, have become even timelier in recent months with the emergence of the #MeToo campaign and heightened media coverage of sexual harassment and assault.

Mallory has also generated headlines within the last month with allegations of racial discrimination after being kicked off an American Airlines flight from Miami to New York.

Aside from women’s issues, Mallory’s work also extends to advocacy for LGBTQIA rights, health care, and ethical police conduct and stronger gun restrictions, all with a focus on providing platforms for underrepresented voices in social activism.

In her remarks Tuesday, Mallory will also address what she sees as a link between the prevalence of guns in America and the perpetuation of sexual violence.

“She’s been very involved in including that in her conversations, and we thought, given the whole discussion about guns on campus, that it was very timely to include her for that reason as well,” Rose-Mockry said.

A followup event to Mallory’s presentation, titled “Coming to the Table to Make a Difference,” will ideally keep the conversation going, Rose-Mockry said. The student-organized talk will take place from roughly 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Kansas Union’s Alderson Auditorium.

The event is hosted by the Emily Taylor Center, Students United for Reproductive & Gender Equity, and Multicultural Student Government and Student Senate.

Rose-Mockry hopes both events will inspire attendees to reflect, organize and continue asking questions, such as:

“How does this impact me? What ways can I be part of the solution?” she suggests. “What things can I do as a campus or community member to get more involved and step up? And what more can I do to education myself about these very critical, complex issues?”

Both events are free and open to the public.

The Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series was created in honor of Jana Mackey, a former KU student, feminist and activist who was murdered in 2008 by her ex-boyfriend. Mackey was well-known in Kansas for her advocacy in women's rights and for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. At KU, she was also the president of the student activist organization now called Students United for Reproductive & Gender Equity.

The lecture series named in her memory seeks to raise awareness for the issues that fueled Mackey's life's work.

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