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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Pizza Cat Vol. 9
Deirdre Northrup-Riesterer April 17, 2024

Renowned LGBTQ advocate to speak, photograph at NMU

Photographer iO Tillett Wright will be conducting a photo session and lecture on Monday, March 24 as part of Woman’s History Month.

Photo courtesy of iO Tillet Wright Wright is an artist, director, photographer, writer, film-maker, activist and actor from New York City.
Photo courtesy of iO Tillet Wright
Wright is an artist, director, photographer, writer, film-maker, activist and actor from New York City.

The photo session will take place at 3 p.m. in the University Center and the lecture will be at 7 p.m. in Jamrich 101.

Her project, “Self Evident Truths,” is a series of portraits of members of the LGBTQ community, and began in 2010. Wright has held many of these sessions across the United States and according to the project’s website,, the goal is to reach between 5,000 and 10,000 portraits.

Some of the photographs taken that day will also be displayed in the University Center’s Student Art Gallery as part of the “What’s Wrong with Homosexuality?” series, which runs in tandem with the current Diversity Common Reader, according to Shravan Rajagopal, assistant professor of graphic communication and electronic imaging, who helped organize the event.

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“One of my students brought her to my attention two semesters ago. She seemed like a really good person to have on campus because she’s young and connects with students,” Rajagopal said.

The photo session is open to all student, staff, faculty and community members to participate in. Rajagopal said that those interested must visit the Multicultural Center, 3000 C.B. Hedgcock, to sign a photo release form prior to the event. He said he found the “Self Evident Truths” interesting because the photographs give people something to connect with the issue.

“You have the collective representation of young people on campus being discriminated against because of some of the choices they make or because of just who they are,” Rajagopal said. “When you see those images, it’s pretty powerful and  that campaign is an opportunity to have our voices heard as well.”

Multicultural Education and Resource Center Associate Director Shirley Brozzo said the diversity in the photograph’s subjects are what interested her in Wright’s work.

“iO’s pictures are of real everyday people,” Brozzo said. “They are from all walks of life, from all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, body type, ability, et cetera. Everyone can see themselves reflected, and, or see someone they know or can relate to.”

Wright’s session and lecture will be part of NMU’s recognition of Women’s History Month. The events offered this year focus primarily on women artists, Brozzo said.

“The Art and Design Department was working with three women they were trying to bring to campus,” Brozzo said. These include past presenters, furniture maker Katie Hudnall and metalsmith artist Lisa Johnson. Author and Ceramic Artist Gail Nichols will be conducting a workshop later in the month.

“The President’s Committee on Diversity had already contracted with iO Tillett Wright to come to campus. And finally, Audrey Geyer was available to bring her documentary, ‘Our Fires Still Burn,’ to campus.”

Brozzo said the MERC works to bring speakers, programs or show films during ‘history’ months that highlight the people being celebrated.

“Women have and continue to make significant discoveries, invent new products, music or writings,” Brozzo said. “We need to celebrate these accomplishments.”

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