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Activist is MLK DOD Keynote Speaker Feb. 4

January 19, 2016
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Jessica Valenti

Women’s rights activist Jessica Valenti, from New York City, is the Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Dialogue (MLK DOD) keynote speaker Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the University of Wyoming Union Ballroom. Her talk is free and open to the public.

MLK DOD events are scheduled during the week of Feb. 1-6 -- later dates than in previous years. Events each year are offered to raise awareness of diversity issues, build a sense of community and celebrate diversity.

This year's MLK DOD theme, “Untold Stories, Unheard Voices,” recognizes “the importance of dialogue that gives voices to marginalized communities,” say the committee’s co-chairs, Ryan Dinneen O'Neil and Macki Snyder.

Valenti has been called one of the Top 100 Inspiring Women in the world by The Guardian, a British national daily newspaper, for which Valenti is now a daily columnist. She has written four books on feminism, politics and culture. Her third book, “The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women,” won the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award and was made into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation.

She also is editor of the anthology “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape,” which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009. Valenti founded, which Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.”

Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian, The American Prospect, Ms. Magazine and Salon. Valenti has won an IBIS Reproductive Health Evidence in Activism Award, a Choice USA Generation Award and the 2011 Hillman Journalism Prize for her work with Feministing.

She speaks at colleges, organizations and events across the country and abroad. A frequent media commentator, she has appeared on “The Colbert Report,” CNN, MSNBC, PBS and the “Today” show.

Valenti received her master’s degree in women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University.

To view the entire week’s events with more details, visit the MLK DOD website at

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