Activities & Organizations News

Valenti to host series on social issues, media


The year long “Big Talk” series will invite diverse speakers to share their views with students, faculty and staff. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

The Jack J. Valenti School of Communication will debut a new lecture series, “Big Talk,” which discusses social issues and their relations to media, Tuesday at noon in the Houston Room in the Student Center South.

The first lecture, “Big Talk on Race & Media,” will feature Damon Young, editor-in-chief of the daily digital magazine Very Smart Brothas and a contributing editor for Ebony Magazine.

Students will see an open conversation between Young and interpersonal communications senior Deyontrius Sims, one of the creators of “Big Talk.” After the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, Sims said a professor in her summer school course began a discussion.

“I was surprised that she would use her position as a professor to be vulnerable,” Sims said. “Racism and oppression is often something we want to sweep under the rug.”

LaRahia Smith, the communication manager for the Valenti School of Communication, overheard one of those conversations. Temple Northup, the director of the Valenti School of Communication, came up with the idea for the “Big Talk” series. Sims was chosen to interview Young for the first “Big Talk.”

“I’m excited that this conversation can be held with someone who talks about these sensitive topics daily,” Sims said. “And someone who is renowned for having these conversations in a way that doesn’t intimidate others.”

“Big Talk” aimed to be in an on-campus space where students are free to talk about things that matter, Sims explained. Its creators hope that students can talk about heavy issues in the professional world and in life.

Other “Big Talks” may cover gender, sexuality and religion. All lectures will be open for to students and non-students alike.  The number of lectures per semester will depend on how many individuals engage in it, Smith said.

“The interest in this event spread like wildfire,” Smith said. “If it persists, we want to have as many of these as possible.”

For students who are unable to attend the lecture, the Valenti School of Communication will livestream the event on their Facebook page.

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