MTSU to observe National Women’s History Month by celebrating persistence

Selenis Leyva, who portrays jail inmate Gloria Mendoza in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” will speak March 19 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. The New York-born actress of Cuban and Dominican descent also portrayed the first Latina U.S. senator on the HBO series “Veep.”

Leyva is the recipient of a 2014 “Special Achievement Award” from the Association of Latinos as Motivating Action, or ALMA, for breaking down barriers in the arts and the 2015 “Jose Ferrer Tepsis Award” from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors, or HOLA.

With the month-long theme of “Nevertheless She Persisted,” the opening ceremony for the month’s activities will introduce the official button that will be distributed around campus.

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Various campus organizations and departments will come together to create the “Tunnel of Oppression,” which will be open March 28 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Tom Jackson Building. The interactive exhibit will highlight several different types of oppression at the intersection of various communities.

The American Association of University Women will conduct its 2018 Tennessee state convention March 16-17 in the Miller Education Center at 503 E. Bell St. in Murfreesboro. State Rep. John Ray Clemmons, of Nashville, co-sponsor of an equal pay bill in the Tennessee General Assembly, and Kimberley Churches, national AAUW chief executive officer, will be among the speakers.

Conference passes are $50 each or $30 for each student. A pass for March 17 only is $35. To register by the March 12, deadline or for more information, visit

The documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” will be shown March 21 at 4 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. The film, hosted by the former NBC News reporter and “Today Show” co-anchor, will explore the rapidly evolving changes in perceptions of gender identity.

MTSU history professor Marisa Richmond will facilitate a discussion following the film. Richmond is a member of the Metro Nashville Human Relations Commission and the only openly transgender member of the Democratic National Committee.

Students will have two opportunities to rock the campus March 22-23. On March 22, students can paint words or pictures on small rocks to encourage love, unity and empowerment for women on campus at a table on the Keathley University Center’s second floor.

On March 23 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., students will meet at the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership on the third floor of the Student Union to distribute the painted rocks.

With the exception of the AAUW conference and the Selenis Leyva address, all National Women’s History Month events will be free and open to the public. The Selenis Leyva event is open to MTSU identification holders only. For more information, contact Barbara Scales, director of the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, at 615-898-5812 or

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