Writers and Poets Event

The Poets and Writers event gathered students for a lecture at the Davis Auditorium on Thursday, Oct. 4, as award winning political communications strategist Shanelle Matthews shared her wisdom.

Mathews turned her experiences and passion for awareness into her role as an activist for women in congress, as well as the black and LGBTQ community. Currently she is fighting to end misinformation and help social justice activist organizations to cultivate grass roots campaigns for good causes.

Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Matthews holds a degree in Journalism from Baton Rouge Louisiana and Matthews was no stranger to societal criticism. Being a black woman, who also identifies as queer, she constantly faced a stigma that she would get pregnant at a young age and become an unfit mother.

This stigma drove her to speak passionately for women so they would have a say in the choices made involving their bodies. She became a writer and a teacher to help invoke change while advocating for her students to also use their voices to create an impact in the world.

“Determine what your principles are and where you learned them from, make the assessment whether or not they are true, create a system in your life where you examine what you believe on a consistent basis allowing you to be confident in what you say,” Matthews said. “Find action similar to your principles that allow you to make changes in your community that matter which allows you to have the confidence to make change for the better.”

Matthews work emphasizes the role media plays in constructing a particular narrative whether it be in print or digital. She referenced the latest current events like Brett Kavanaugh entering the Supreme Court and acknowledged the current state of women’s involvement in congress, as women make up 29 percent and of that percentage only 19 percent are women of color.

As the Director of Communications Matthews was part of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and acted as the strategist on reproductive freedom for women and LGBTQ rights for the American Civil Liberites Union.

During the lecture, she gave examples to help find your own individual narrative and not to believe everything that you see or hear from mass media. She encouraged people to lead by example, to not knock anyone for their personal beliefs or opinions, and to support their community.

Her goal is to establish the truth and to get people to start asking questions in order to take action. Mathews urged the audience to take note that what people do now impacts the future.

You can find more information on Mathews mission by contacting Shanelle Matthews at www.helloshanelle.com.

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