Wednesday, April 8, 2020

MSU Museum hosts Teal Talk dialogue

February 18, 2020
Dr. Brian Johnson speaks at the Teal Talk at the MSU Museum Feb. 14, 2020.
Dr. Brian Johnson speaks at the Teal Talk at the MSU Museum Feb. 14, 2020. —
Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

To encourage a dialogue about sexual violence between students, staff and faculty, the MSU Museum hosted a Teal Talk Friday as a part of a series of discussions about sexual assault under the lens of different areas of study.

The talk was hosted by Brian Johnson, a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State held in the exhibition Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak

"It's been a great way of outreach, but also just to give people to spend — even if it's just an hour — thinking about what the exhibit talks about, that they've had the opportunity just to do that," said Elesha Newberry, MSU Museum campus liaison.

The most recent talk focused on how sexual violence impacts families and children.

“One of the things I tell my students is that advocacy takes a lot of different forms,” Johnson said. “Once they’re aware of events and things that are happening, that’s a form of advocacy — that’s a way they can let others know about it, they can help prevent things from happening again. I think these discussions and the knowledge, and just talking about it, knowing that this is a resource, is a way we can help that.” 

The talks have touched on a range of subjects, including how to explain sexual violence in the lens of K-12 education and institutional ethics.

“So many students, we talk about it, but in every class it’s affected someone," Johnson said. "... It’s a topic that’s relevant, and it affects all of us. We either know someone who has been through it — we're going through it as a campus — so it’s relevant to all of us. These are the things that we need to talk about, and we need a dialogue about it."

The museum began hosting these talks in September on the second Friday of each month between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The last one will be at the same time March 13. 

"That was a goal of the Teal Talks — to get as many voices thinking and talking about this issue as possible," Newberry said. "Trauma affects the person who is directly traumatized, but it also has effects on the family, the friends and the community at large where that trauma took place, and so I think that it's great forum for students and staff and community members to talk about it, to hear each others' voices and to hopefully think about the issues in a deeper, new way."

The exhibit on sister survivors will be closing at the end of Spring Semester 2020.

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