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Kathy Rose-Mockry
Emily Taylor Center for Women & Gender Equity
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Anti-human-trafficking advocate to present 2014 Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture

Tue, 04/29/2014

LAWRENCE — Almost six years after the death of Jana Mackey, a former student and women’s rights activist, the University of Kansas community will join together once again for a lecture series dedicated in her honor. Urmi Basu, an advocate nationally recognized for her work on human trafficking and gender rights, will speak at the sixth-annual Jana Mackey Distinguished Lecture Series. The event will be 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 30at in the Kansas Union Ballroom.

Basu is a native of Kolkata and founder of New Light, a secular community development project in India that provides education and shelter to girls and women at high risk of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. Her work was recently featured on PBS as part of the Half the Sky Movement, a transmedia project that raises awareness and takes action to end global oppression of women and girls. Introducing Basu will be Jennifer Rapp, deputy director of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit in the Victim Services Division of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

“We are very lucky to host Urmi Basu for this year’s lecture series,” said Kathy Rose-Mockry, director of the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity. “Basu is a well-known activist in women’s rights and human trafficking issues and an engaging speaker on advocacy efforts. She is a perfect speaker for this year’s lecture due to recent campus efforts to research human trafficking.”

Basu’s work complements the efforts of Hannah Britton and KU’s Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Initiative, a program designed to collect empirical data on trafficking to help citizens and decision-makers understand its causes and consequences. Britton, an associate professor of political science and women, gender and sexuality studies, founded the initiative, which works to research, teach and advocate on the growing issue of human trafficking.

Basu’s commitment to others reflects the university’s emphasis on global awareness and civic engagement as well as Mackey’s passion for service and action. After receiving a degree in women’s studies, Mackey served as a lobbyist for the Kansas National Organization for Women from 2004 to 2006. She then returned to KU to pursue a law degree. In 2008, at the age of 25, Mackey was murdered by her ex-boyfriend.

Lawrence and the campus community honor this exceptional young woman, who dedicated her short life to the pursuit of equality for all, with an annual lecture designed to raise awareness and engage students in issues central to Mackey – dismantling structures and norms that perpetuate sexual violence, promoting equity for women, and promoting activism and empowerment. Basu’s work to educate at-risk women and girls embodies Mackey’s passion for women’s issues, her determination to bring about change and her efforts to engage others to join her in these efforts.



David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he works with KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, are important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.” Tags: #KUcommunities #CivilRights #History American Studies at KU
Turning rural America healthy: Christie Befort uses $10 million award. http://t.co/rrFjFtHbYT #KUcommunities http://t.co/Bsuek4k9QC
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


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