MTSU observes National Women’s History Month by celebrating persistence

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As part of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, National Wear Red Day members of the campus community created and photographed a red heart in support of women’s heart health in the lobby of the Science building.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — An award-winning actress will deliver the keynote address for MTSU’s celebration of National Women’s History Month.

Selenis Leyva, who portrays jail inmate Gloria Mendoza in Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” will speak at 6 p.m. Monday, March 19, 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 monthlong theme of “Nevertheless She Persisted,” the opening ceremony for the month’s activities will introduce the official button that will be distributed around campus.

Featured on the button is Tennessee’s own legendary college basketball coach, the late Pat Summitt. The ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 1, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Speakers will include MTSU assistant women’s basketball coach Shalon Pillow and Tiffany Woosley, both former players for Summitt at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Various campus organizations and departments will come together to create the “Tunnel of Oppression,” which will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in the Tom Jackson Building. This 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 Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, in the Miller Education Center, 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 Saturday only is $35. To register by the Monday, March 12, deadline, or for more information, go to

The documentary “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric” will be shown at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, 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 on Thursday, March 22, and Friday, March 23. On Thursday, 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.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on that Friday, 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, all National Women’s History Month events are free and open to the public. 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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