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(2,841 posts)
Thu Mar 17, 2016, 11:53 PM Mar 2016

(Janet) Mock cancels lecture at Brown Univeristy amid student protest

Janet Mock, a black, native Hawaiian trans woman and activist, announced Wednesday morning that she had canceled her campus talk, “Redefining Realness,” which was originally scheduled for March 21. Mock was invited to be a keynote speaker by Moral Voices, in association with the Brown Center for Students of Color, Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, LGBTQ Center, Sexual Assault Peer Educators, Swearer Center for Public Service, Office of the Chaplains, the Rhode Island School of Design’s Office of Intercultural Student Engagement and Brown/RISD Hillel.

Moral Voices is a student group that aims to raise awareness about social justice issues of global importance each year, wrote Moral Voices co-chairs Natalie Cutler ’16 and Rachel Levy ’16 in a written statement published on medium.com.

After the group invited Mock to lecture on campus, students drafted a petition on Change.org asking Mock to disassociate her lecture from Hillel.

Hillel co-sponsored the lecture, and Moral Voices is a student group funded by a grant from within the Hillel budget, said Marshall Einhorn, executive director of Hillel. The statement published by Cutler and Levy states that the group is run “through Brown/RISD Hillel and funded by a private donor.”

The petition argued that the invitation was an attempt to “pinkwash” the history of Israel or “improve Israel’s image and rebrand it as a liberal, modern and ‘hip’ country.” Petitioners saw the move as an attempt to deflect attention from Israel’s previous track record on LGBTQ rights, racism and the occupation of Palestinian territories, the petition stated.

“We do not condone the use of queer people of color as props to hide occupation,” the petition concluded. Petitioners did not intend for Mock to cancel her lecture but instead urged her “to accept Brown students’ sponsorship instead of Hillel’s,” the petition stated.

The petition received 160 signatures, according to a member of Students for Justice in Palestine who wished to remain anonymous for fear of professional repercussions. He added that the petition was drafted and signed by “a broad coalition” of students from various student groups — including trans and queer students — who felt that there was a contradiction between Mock’s message and what Hillel stands for as an organization.

“With an Israeli government that time and time again is exploiting LGBTQ individuals for the sake of covering up (its) crimes, then it becomes really important that we don’t let a Center who is time and time again supporting the Israeli regime to then claim that they are also supporting LGBTQ voices. There is a serious contradiction there,” the SJP representative said.

“We feel the focus of Janet’s work was lost leading up to the proposed event,” wrote Mock’s representatives in an email to Moral Voices, later shared on the group’s Facebook page. The representatives added that Mock’s visit “was received with controversy and resistance rather than open dialogue and discussion about the issues closest to Janet’s work in movements for trans liberation, racial justice and intersectional feminism.”


Looks like campus activism and anti-Semitism intertwine once again. Such a shame for Brown to miss out on Mock's lecture.
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(Janet) Mock cancels lecture at Brown Univeristy amid student protest (Original Post) romanic Mar 2016 OP
She should have given the lecture and told them to go to hell Ex Lurker Mar 2016 #1
160 signatures is nothing, and I bet half didn't quite know what they were signing. DemocraticWing Mar 2016 #2
I blame the administrators romanic Mar 2016 #4
Bigotry wins again. Behind the Aegis Mar 2016 #3

Ex Lurker

(3,804 posts)
1. She should have given the lecture and told them to go to hell
Thu Mar 17, 2016, 11:57 PM
Mar 2016

ETA: and 160 signatures (which there's apparently no proof of because of "fear of repercussions or whatever) out of what, eight or nine thousand students, or however many Brown has? People need to stop being such cowards and bowing down to the fringe element.


(1,290 posts)
2. 160 signatures is nothing, and I bet half didn't quite know what they were signing.
Fri Mar 18, 2016, 12:51 AM
Mar 2016

A lot of petitioners are dishonest about what they're getting people to sign, and then boom you've signed something stupid. Most people ignore them or read them though, which is why basically a rounding error of the overall student body signed onto this thing.

Pretty sad that Janet Mock was not allowed to speak though. I understand objections to Israel's policies but that's not why Janet was there.


(2,841 posts)
4. I blame the administrators
Fri Mar 18, 2016, 06:49 AM
Mar 2016

for caving into a fringe group whose petition is nothing more than thinly veiled Antisemitism much more than the student activists. They're the ones who allow this shit to go on.

It just pisses me off because it caused a well-respected LGBT speaker felt like she had to stop herself from speaking for fear she was "Pro-Israel"or something stupid like that.

Behind the Aegis

(53,651 posts)
3. Bigotry wins again.
Fri Mar 18, 2016, 01:18 AM
Mar 2016

I just 'love' that this type of homophobia and anti-Semitism is claimed to be "pinkwashing." Was she even going to speak about Israel? Highly unlikely. The very fact that a "Jew group" co-sponsored it, and the wrong type of "Jew group", then suddenly a lecture about transgender and GLB issues in minority communities is silenced. Those "activists" made it about their issue and shit all over GLBT issues.


ETA: "...who felt that there was a contradiction between Mock’s message and what Hillel stands for as an organization. "

Brown RISD Hillel encourages and supports a diversity of students as they explore, develop and deepen their Jewish identities. We are committed to having Judaism serve as a source of meaning and growth during their time on College Hill and in their lives after graduation.

To this end, we cultivate an environment in which students can:
•Enjoy a safe and welcoming Jewish home on campus
•Celebrate Shabbat, holidays, traditions and culture
•Engage in Jewish learning and spiritually nourishing pursuits and conversations
•Practice and exemplify Jewish ethical values and social responsibility
•Take part in intellectual and political discourse
•Ensure Hillel is an integral part of the Brown, RISD and local communities
•Build connections with Israel and the global Jewish community
•Become leaders in their community
•Establish lasting friendships
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