Rachel Cargle, a public academic, writer and lecturer, will be delivering a talk on the way race impacts everyday life as the first program of Mercer’s Women’s History Month celebration. The keynote address, “For Your Consideration,” will be hosted by several programs in the community, including the department of Women’s and Gender Studies (WGS), Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives and Wesleyan College.
Cargle’s website describes this talk as “eye-opening” as it discusses the intersectionality of race in people’s everyday lives in the U.S.
“By both teaching often untaught history as well as fleshing out the modern manifestations of what we often think of as ‘left in the past,’ this lecture will ignite critical conversation among audiences,” the website reads.
Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies program Virginia Young said a student on the WGS executive committee, Cam Wade, suggested Cargle as the speaker for the program.
“After researching Cargle and looking into some of her social media posts, I was drawn to her anti-racism work, especially how she has called out injustices in the realm of white feminism,” Young said to The Cluster in an email.
According to Cargle, “white feminism” is a version of feminism that focuses exclusively on the experiences of white women, ignoring other, more marginalized identities that intersect with womanhood.
Intersectionality, conversely, calls for acknowledging that people can be marginalized on more than one level — for example, not just on the basis of gender but also the basis of race.
Ansley Booker, Mercer’s director of diversity and inclusion initiatives, said that she believes this event will be a great opportunity for everyone, not just women, to celebrate the month.
“We're celebrating so much,” Booker said. “We're encouraging study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.”
Booker said she expects Cargle’s lecture to have a high turnout, not just because of Cargle’s address, but also due to the format of the event.
“We've seen greater turnout with our speakers — they're on a higher caliber — when we offer the Zoom format,” she said. “Then we can share it with the community and the students as well.”
The celebration will take place March 2 at 7 p.m., and attendees must register to receive the Zoom link.
Cargle’s address is not the only event taking place this month in honor of Women’s History Month. Several organizations have events in store, Booker said.
QuadWorks is hosting an International Women’s Day event March 8 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Connell Student Center.
Among the planned events, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives is partnering with Macon Periods Easier, a volunteer group that focuses on period poverty in the Macon-Bibb County area, by asking members of the Mercer community to donate period products. Student organizations will compete in a challenge lasting the entire month to donate the most period products.
The Mercer community will be hosting several other events in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Mary Helene Hall ‘23 is a journalism and women’s and gender studies student who has worked for The Cluster throughout her time at Mercer. She has held internships at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AL.com, where she covered a variety of topics including politics, crime and culture.