Mizzou to host 'powerful' Symposium focused on marginalized minority groups

The Center for Leadership & Service at the University of Missouri will be holding its fifth annual “Social Justice Symposium” to educate students on issues of social justice activism.

According to the website for the Symposium, it is a “collaboration between the Department of Residential Life, the Center for Leadership & Service, the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Resource Center, the Multicultural Center, the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, and the Women’s Center.”

“The Social Justice Symposium is a one day conference designed to create conversation around three core aspects of social justice: awareness, advocacy, and activism,” the website states. There will be a keynote speaker and multiple breakout sessions that could address topics including “ethnicity, culture, multiculturalism, women’s advocacy, LGBTQ advocacy, gender, ability, serving our veteran student population, and sustainability.”

In a video promoting the Symposium, titled “What Don’t We Talk About Enough?” students are encouraged to get involved with the Symposium by becoming a presenter or attendee.

Answers to the video’s titular question vary. One woman says, “Money, death, and sex. Definitely sex. Definitely queer sex.” While Jonathan Butler, the student whose hunger strike catapulted Mizzou to the national stage last semester says, “humanity.”

Later in the video, Butler states that the Symposium is a space where students can feel safe “for once, on a campus that normally doesn’t accept them for who they are.”

Another person in the video describes the Symposium as “powerful” and “healing.”

According to The Maneater, Mizzou’s student newspaper, sessions at the 2015 Symposium included discussions on how to intervene on behalf of marginalized minority groups, presentations highlighting colleges divesting in industries that support injustice, and a session called “APIA and LGBTQ” on bridging the gap between the Asian and Pacific Islander American and LGBT identities.

The Center for Leadership & Service did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

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