Jessica Valenti

Jessica Valenti

Events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. are in full swing at the University of Wyoming, and anyone can take advantage of the various talks and events through Saturday.

Jessica Valenti is this year’s Days of Dialogue keynote speaker, presenting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. She has published several award-winning books and articles about feminism and women’s rights. Valenti is also a seasoned public speaker, appearing on “The Colbert Report” and CNN.

UW has an agreement with Valenti to not discuss the subject of her presentation.

“Past MLK speakers have not had the same requests as Jessica Valenti has outlined in her contract,” UW spokesperson Milton Ontiveroz said.

Valenti regularly visits colleges and lists her most popular presentations as “Why Feminism (Still) Matters: Sexism, Culture and Activism,” “Yes Means Yes: Battling Rape Culture and Moving Towards

a Positive Sexuality” and “The Purity Myth: Sexuality, Sexism & Power,” her website states. She has also begun a new presentation about digital feminism and its effects on politics and culture.

This year’s Days of Dialogue theme is “Untold Stories, Unheard Voices,” about giving a voice to marginalized communities, a UW news release states.

Many programs open to both the university family and community members are on the schedule through Saturday.

Saturday’s Diversity Ball is one of the major upcoming events. Tickets for the free banquet are available at the Union Information Desk — first-come, first-served.

Both students and non-students can pick up tickets. But if you aren’t quick enough for a ticket, anyone can turn up for the ball’s keynote speaker and following dance.

“Chesie Lee is an attorney and an activist,” said Macki Snyder, co-chair of the MLK steering committee. “She works for the Wyoming Association of Churches and works with Native Americans living in the Wind River Reservation.”

Families also have an opportunity to support the community during a volunteer service beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“They are taking fleece blankets, cutting the ends and tying them for Ivinson Memorial Hospital, they are making dog toys for the Laramie Animal Shelter and putting together school packs for children with the SAFE Project,” Snyder said.

Friday Night Fever, a weekly program offering various events to students, will be screening the film “Straight Outta Compton” at 5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. A panel of faculty members in African American and Diaspora Studies will be open to discussion after the 5:30 viewing.

People interested in getting involved in activism should go to the coffee conversation at 9 a.m. in the Union Skylight Lounge.

“For beginners, and even for veterans in this field, (activism) can be overwhelming and immobilizing,” Snyder said. “The intent of this Friday’s conversation is to motivate attendees to do the work and give them tools to hopefully not feel like they’re on their own and become an activist.”

Events earlier in the week have been well attended, Snyder said, and she thinks it will continue through the week.

Go to for a full list of events.

(1) comment


What is a "3rd wave feminist", as she is described to be?

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