Drexel University Campus Activities Board began their initiative to have a consistent series of prominent guest lecturers speak to students Nov. 7, 2017. The program, called CABx, is modeled after the TedxTalks series. The inaugural lecture featured Terry Baum, a famous playwright and notable expert on gay and immigrant rights. As 2017 was a violent year for the LGBT community across the globe, Drexel CABx decided that Baum speaking was important for raising awareness of an important issue that needed to be addressed.
Since then, Drexel has hosted CNN’S Jake Tapper for a discussion about his 2018 novel “The Hellfire Club” and his modern journalism, along with another lecture from Symone Sanders — Bernie Sanders’ press secretary for his 2016 presidential campaign — who discussed the importance of intersectionality, equality and social movements with Drexel’s students.
This spring CAB, The Good Idea Fund and the Women’s Gender Studies Department have all joined together to bring another lecture series to Drexel.
As the three organizations form a joint partnership with the Drexel Office of Equality and Diversity and their Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign, the next speaker arriving on Drexel’s campus will be none other than Tarana Burke, the founder of the “me too.” Movement.
“An Evening With Tarana Burke” will take place in the Mitchell Auditorium April 26 from 6-9 p.m., offering a free chance to learn from, interact with and connect with the pioneer of programs for sexual assault survivors. Burke being a survivor herself knows all too well the importance of having a space in which survivors can voice their thoughts and opinions in a safe and meaningful way.
After speaking with Christian Maxey, Drexel CAB’s Director of Culture and Diversity, I further understood that Drexel has been patiently planning this event for Sexual Assault Awareness Month for a reason. “We reached out to her in December; she got back to us really quickly and was super excited,” Maxey explained.
The evening will be broken down into three main components. There will first be a lecture, where Burke will address the audience as a whole. Following the lecture, there will be a series of questions from BlackStar Film Festival founder Maori Holmes for Burke. Holmes, who will serve as the moderator during the event, is also a prominent figure in the social justice work scene, promoting diversity and inclusion of African American women. After Holmes’ questions are finished, the floor will be open for a question and answer session with members of the audience.
The purpose of this, Maxey told me, “was to get an interactive experience and not just have it be another lecture. We sit through too many of those already as students.” Drexel CAB urges anyone who is attending to bring potential questions they may want to ask Tarana Burke, just in case there is a chance for it.
Another big selling point of this event, besides its free cost, is that it is completely open to both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Drexel faculty. While the majority of tickets are reserved for undergraduate students, there are still a decent number of tickets available.
In regard to more specific information about the event, Maxey offered more detail about it. “Doors will open for the actual auditorium at 6:30 [p.m.], but there will be light refreshments and giveaways starting at 6 [p.m.],” he said. With all of the student organizations combining to work on this, Maxey confirmed that they will all be at the April 26 event. “They [the four organizations] will all be there in some capacity, so there will be anything from tables to representatives present,” he explained.
Aside from the event itself, the overarching goal is to get students to understand that there are resources available to them every single day here at Drexel. As Maxey put it, “The goal is to show how much of Drexel involved with this event… The goal is to go beyond what Tarana is going to talk about.”
To reserve your free tickets for this event, please go to www.drexelcab.com/tickets and click on the link to the appropriate event.