Social Justice Activist Mandy Carter to Speak at BVU

Social Justice Activist Mandy Carter to Speak at BVU



Mandy Carter, an internationally known African-American lesbian social justice activist, will be at Buena Vista University to conduct two programs open to the public on April 17 and 18.

For 43 years, Carter has been involved in social, racial and lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) organizing. She was a co-founder of Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC).  SONG’s purpose it to build a progressive movement across the South by developing models of organizing that connect race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. NBJC is a national civil rights organization of concerned Black, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. She was also a national co-chair of Obama Pride, the LGBT grassroots infrastructure for President Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign.

Carter will present two programs as part of BVU’s Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES), which are open to the public.  Both programs will be held at 7 p.m. in Hanson 8 in the Siebens Forum. They are:

Tuesday, April 17:  Screening of Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard RustinRustin, who died in 1987, worked in the civil rights movement and was an advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. Despite his achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in the fiercely homophobic 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. The film reflects on Rustin’s position as an outsider, a troublemaker and an eloquent speaker who refused to be silenced.

Wednesday, April 18:  “Justice or Just Us?  Our LGBT Movement at a Crossroads?” In light of the long history and struggles of women and people of color, and the changes occurring in today’s society, Carter believes that LGBT rights to secure employment, marriage equality, serving in the military, etc. are, in fact, civil rights and it is important to acknowledge and remember the work and sacrifices of those who made the path for full LGBT equality possible.

Carter’s visit to BVU was initiated by Dr. Swasti Bhattacharyya, associate professor of religion, who met her at the national conference of the Peace and Justice Studies Association in Memphis, Tenn. last year. Bhattacharyya is a board member of the association.

“Mandy Carter introduced me to the life of Bayard Rustin last year at the national PJSA conference,” says Bhattacharyya.  “It is unfortunate that it is only now that I learned about this man of courage. Because of BVU’s ACES program, our students will learn about Mr. Rustin and his contributions to the civil rights movement. Through their interactions with Ms. Carter, they will see how the principles of this movement are carried on into our day.” 

During her time on campus, Carter will also meet with students and faculty and visit some classes.