During the presentation of the inaugural Voice for Justice Award presented by the University of Oklahoma Women’s Gender Studies Board of Advocates, on Friday at the Voices for Change Gala, the #MeToo movement, which is similar to the Time’s Up movement of the alumna were recognized. These movements were pioneered by women who felt the need to draw attention to the way they were treated in the workplace. In her keynote address, Munn stated that the floodgates have opened and it is no longer just about women but now about the general abuse of power.
Individuals who have worked tirelessly to spread opportunity and equality in their respective fields are recognized during the Voices for Change gala. Voices of courage Awards were given to Suzette Grillot, the Dean of the College of International Studies, OU and the late Luper Clara, an important person in the begining of the civil rights movement in Oklahoma, got the Voices of Courage awards.
Linda Scoggins, who introduced Munn remarked that we definitely have some amazing women in this state. Munn was a student at OU, she studied journalism, graduated and later got important roles in the HBO show “The Newsroom” and “X-Men” movie franchise and has used her story to voice support for the #MeToo movement. She is one of the 6 women who have stepped forward to accuse Brett Ratner of sexual harassment.
She is one of the pioneers of the Time’s Up movement as well. In her best selling book titled; “Suck It, Wonderwoman”, she wrote about the Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek although no names were mentioned at the time. While giving her keynote address, she highlighted some of the risks women face whenever they decide to put a foot forward on issues like this. According to her, it sometimes follows you when you go after powerful, rich people. Then there’s the stigma that women use their sexuality to advance their careers and this is a stigma that women have to carry all through their careers.
She also pointed out that women had to put up with these inappropriate treatments for too long because they didn’t want to upset the status quo. We want to be polite so we end up ignoring our own intuition. We keep quiet because we do not want to disturb peace – according to Munn.
She went on to point out that it is something that the male counterpart haven’t necessarily had to deal with. However, she feels the recent events and movements would force people to think and re-evaluate their interactions with women and how they are treated.
Munn spent time during the day with OU students who were also advocating for women rights and fair treatment of women in the society and generally, the outlook is that things are getting better and would continue to do so. Munn stated that no significant change ever occurred without a big turmoil.
Grillott was honored for her struggles to ensure that women get equal and fair treatment. She was well known for her advocacy for kids of undocumented immigrants as well as recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection.
Luper, who was the first African American in the OU graduate history program, organized sit-ins at drug store counters where blacks weren’t served and this helped spark a civil rights movement in Oklahoma. This effort was the most significant stride towards the end of statewide segregation. Although she passed on in 2011, she was still recognized at the gala and her daughters Marilyn and Chelle accepted the award on her behalf.
When introducing Luper’s award, Brenda Wheelock described her as the mother of Oklahoma’s civil rights movement and that is exactly what she is. She persisted in the face of racism and injustice to fight for what is right.