Oakton Celebrates Women’s History Month with Dynamic Speakers During March

(Feb. 28, 2020) Oakton Community College honors the endeavors and contributions that women have made throughout history by hosting a series of dynamic speakers during March to celebrate Women’s History Month. All events, scheduled at Oakton’s campuses in Des Plaines, 1600 E. Golf Road, and Skokie, 7701 N. Lincoln Ave., are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by the Oakton Women’s and Gender Studies Program with support from the Oakton Educational Foundation.

Pioneering journalist Melissa Isaacson headlines the list of speakers with a discussion on women in sports, 6:30- 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in Room 1610 of the Des Plaines campus. She is a graduate of Niles West High School in Skokie and was on the historic 1979 women’s state championship basketball team.

Isaacson’s account about the experience, “STATE: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation,” was called one of the best books of 2019 by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. As a sportswriter, Isaacson was the Chicago Tribune beat reporter for the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. She also covered the Chicago Bears and worked for ESPN. Isaacson’s career in sports journalism was sparked, thanks in part, to Title IX Legislation that made her experience in high school sports possible. Currently, she is a faculty member of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Other scheduled speakers include:

  • Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford, 12:30-1:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 10
    Room 1606, Des Plaines
    Lightford made history when she became the first black woman to serve as Illinois’ Senate Majority Leader. She will speak about her work on education and empowerment as the chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, as well as the commissioner of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • Michelle Duster, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Thursday, March 12
    Room C140, Skokie
    Duster is a writer and advocate for racial and gender equity in public history. As the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells, her writing and activism focuses on important African-American women that are often left out of dominant historical narratives about the Women’s Rights and Civil Rights movements. This event is also sponsored by the Honors Program at Oakton and the Office of Access, Equity and Diversity.
  • Galen Abdur-Razzaq, 12:30-1:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 24
    Room 1530, Des Plaines
    Abdur-Razzaq, a dynamic speaker on the topic of jazz, will detail how women have influenced this genre. He studied at Berklee College of Music and holds a master’s degree in performing arts and education from Rutgers University. This event is also sponsored by Student Life.
  • Nadya Tolokonnikova, 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25
    Footlik Theater, Des Plaines
    Tolokonnikova is a conceptual artist and political activist from Russia. A founding member of the art collective Pussy Riot, Tolokonnikova’s work focuses on feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental activism and human rights violations across the globe.
  • Hind Makki, 12:30-1:45 p.m. Thursday, March 26, Room 1530, Des Plaines.
    An interfaith educator who holds a degree in international relations from Brown University, Makki will present on the intersections between feminism and Islam.

For more information, contact Lindsey Hewitt, co-coordinator of Women’s and Gender Studies, at lhewitt@oakton.edu or 847.376.7044.