Ohio University’s Women’s Center will host its final Thirsting for Knowledge Thursdays event next Thursday, Nov. 19 from noon to 1 p.m. The event, which is titled Indian Country Coverage: Jurisdiction and Justice, wraps up a series that has gone entirely virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Thirsting for Knowledge Thursdays is a signature event series developed by the Women’s Center. The series gives students, staff, faculty and community members access to different perspectives and viewpoints and the opportunity to engage with presenters, assistant director of the Women’s Center MaryKathyrine Tran said in an email.
“What’s really special is that each Thirsting for Knowledge Thursday is so different--even while being housed under the same annual theme--that participants can leave each session learning something different,” Tran said in an email.
Tran added that the program is one of her favorites, due to its speakers and facilitators that the Women’s Center has featured.
“When planning programming, the Women’s Center is extremely intentional about providing different topics, themes and focuses of identity to ensure a robust, intersectional programming series,” Tran said in an email.
This year, a theme of the series is centered on women’s leadership in social movements. Speakers from both OU and other schools discussed topics such as #SayHerName and #BlackLivesMatter.
Women’s Center director Geneva Murray said that choosing the theme of leadership highlights how leadership can be collaborative, rather than one individual leader. Previous events in the series emphasized the benefit of not having a singular leader and reflected on social movements like Black Lives Matter.
The Thirsting for Knowledge Thursdays event series has experienced a number of positives in its newly online format, such as drawing speakers from far outside of Athens.
“We’ve actually been really excited about the opportunity to explore remote engagement with the Thirsting for Knowledge Thursdays,” Murray said. “Being virtual has allowed us to be able to introduce our students to speakers that we wouldn’t normally be able to have.”
Murray said that the events going virtual also made Thirsting for Knowledge Thursdays more accessible and gave people the ability to watch and interact with speakers from their homes.
The Indian Country Media Coverage: Jurisdiction and Justice event is being held to bring awareness to issues occurring in Indian Country, specifically because Native Americans are frequently overlooked by the mainstream media and research studies.
First-year journalism graduate student Sarah Liese and journalism professor Victoria LaPoe will be speaking at the event, highlighting issues that Native American communities are facing, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The event will also focus on how media covers Indian Country, specifically coverage on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
“I want to help shed light on what it is like to be a Native American women in 2020, and I want to further the discussion about media coverage of MMIW and the Violence Against Women Act,” Liese said in an email.
Liese, who is also LaPoe’s research assistant, is excited for Thursday’s event because it will give journalists an opportunity to learn best practices when covering stories on Indian Country. Liese explained that journalists play a big role in shaping how people perceive Indigenous people, therefore it is important to ensure accurate reporting.
“My main goal is to eliminate the stereotypes that attendees may have going into the event and fill them with a correct representation of Native American communities and the issues they face,” Liese said in an email. “Maybe then, we can all work together toward positive change, toward a solution, toward justice.”
More information on the Indian Country Media Coverage: Jurisdiction and Justice event can be found here.
More information on Indian Country Media Coverage: Jurisdiction and Justice event can be found