Sojourner Truth lecture to examine the power of politics and protest

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Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, Aja Clark, and Yevette Richards Jordan

George Mason University’s annual Sojourner Truth Lecture features a conversation about the collaborative power of politics and protest in the pursuit of justice.

The event features Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, PhD, former chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, and Mason alumna Aja Clark, activist and reproductive justice educator. The discussion will be moderated by Yevette Richards Jordan, faculty member in Mason’s Department of History and Art History, the Women and Gender Studies Program, and African and African American Studies. The event takes place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. Individuals interested in attending the forum can register here.

Cummings is president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, a Washington, D.C.-based policy firm. Clark, who graduated from Mason with a BA in 2017, is creative director and founder of the Black Feminist Freshman Orientation, which prepares women for college. As a reproductive justice educator, she also creates culturally appropriate workshops and videos on reproductive issues, such as self-advocacy at the doctor’s office.

“The purpose of the panel is to engage our students as the next generation of scholars and activists by having them hear from and interact with people engaged in politics and activism on the ground right now,” said David Powers Corwin, associate director of the Women and Gender Studies Program and one of the organizers of this year’s Sojourner Truth Event. “We want them to see women of color on the forefront of activism and politics.”

Jordan said that presenting activists at both the start of a career and further along will “hopefully be an inspiration by showing the possibilities for long-term political and activist engagement.”

In addition, the Prince William County Community Foundation will be honored at the event for its work on social justice, hunger and coronavirus-related issues.

“By presenting a local organization with this honor, we hope that students will see that activism is happening right in our backyard,” said Corwin.

While the discussion is open to the public, there will also be invitation-only events with students, faculty and staff.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the lecture, as well as the 30th anniversary of the creation of Mason’s Women and Gender Studies Program. The lecture was started as a celebration of both Black History Month and Women’s History Month. As such, it is held either in late February or early March.

Over the years, the even has featured Black female scholars and activists, such as Sybrina Fulton, Dorothy Roberts, and Anita Hill. This year marks the first time that the event will be held virtually, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event is sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies Program, the African and African American Studies Program, University Life, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Programs Fund.