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CONTACT: NADEJA WESLEY
Women's Resource and Action Center
130 North Madison St.
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-1486
e-mail:courtney-jenkins@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Sister Souljah to highlight conference to celebrate, connect African-American women

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Well-known rapper, organizer and educator Sister Souljah will present an evening lecture at "The Sister Connection," a one-day conference at the University of Iowa Thursday, March 4.

The Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC) at the UI is sponsoring the conference "The Sister Connection: African-American Women Sharing Tools for Success," which includes workshops and speakers on issues impacting African-American Women college students. The conference will be at the Iowa Memorial Union on Thursday, March 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A registration fee of $10 includes lunch. Sister Souljah's lecture will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in nearby MacBride Auditorium. Her lecture is co-sponsored by the University Lecture Committee and is free and open to the public.

"The Sister Connection conference was planned with the goal of reconnecting African-American women with the strong tradition that fosters empowerment, celebration and education," says Nadeja Wesley, UI student and conference coordinator. Workshops will focus on such issues as the importance of becoming leaders on campus, establishing financial independence and developing a professional identity, Wesley adds.

Co-sponsors for the conference include these UI offices and programs: Office of Affirmative Action; Opportunity at Iowa; College of Law; Special Support Services; Career Development; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Staff and Faculty Association; and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Also co-sponsoring the conference is the Iowa Women's Foundation, Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Rape Victim Advocacy Program, Emma Goldman Clinic for Women in memory of Theresa Riffe, African-American Council and others.

The luncheon keynote speaker will be Adrien Wing, professor in the UI College of Law, where she teaches in the areas of constitutional law, critical race theory and comparative law. Author of more than forty publications, Wing has written on diverse subjects ranging from affirmative action to mothering to Black women and gangs. She is editor of "Critical Race Feminism: A Reader" and the forthcoming "Global Critical Race Feminism."

Sister Souljah has been described by fellow rapper Chuck D. of Public Enemy with a term he coined: Raptivist. "Her strongest message is to African women: to encourage them to understand who they are, to develop self-definitions based on history and not modern American media, and to recognize their legacy of strength, of fighters, which gives them the strength to do anything."

Wesley says that she developed the idea for the conference based on the fact that "for many African-American students, finding support networks and maintaining the confidence needed to reach high levels of educational attainment can be especially difficult when attending an institution where only a small percentage of the students look like you. As an African-American woman, I feel that this reconnection needs to occur in an environment that facilitates positive interactions with other African-American students, administrators and professionals."

For information or to register for "The Sister Connection" conference, contact the Women's Center at 335-1486, or visit the conference web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~wrac/sisters. People who need childcare during the conference should contact the Women's Center by Friday, Feb. 26.

2/24/99