Actress Laverne Cox to Kick Off 2018-19 Distinguished Lectures Series

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Emmy Award-winning actress, documentary film producer and civil rights advocate Laverne Cox will open the 2018-19 student-sponsored Distinguished Lecture Series with "Ain't I A Woman: My Journey to Womanhood" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Fayetteville Town Center.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets are required. The event is free and open to the public. Because students fund the lecture series, tickets will be made available to students first who will be able to reserve tickets starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, by going to Tickets are limited to one per student.

"We are thrilled to be able to bring such an accomplished woman to campus this early in the school year," said Christine Carroll, chair of the student Distinguished Lecture committee. "The committee has planned a slate of excellent and diverse speakers, and we look forward to kicking off the series with this dynamic presenter."

Cox came to the public's attention in the role of Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black (2013). Burset is an imprisoned trans woman who fights for appropriate hormone treatments, and Cox received two Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (2014, 2017) for the portrayal. She was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy.

Since her breakout role, she continues to work as a trans-rights advocate through her writing, acting and producing. She hosts a column on The Huffington Post where she published an acclaimed essay on gender expression and oppression, among other articles. Cox is also the executive producer behind the documentaries The T Word (2014), which follows the lives of several trans youth, and Free CeCe!(2016), which tells the plight of an imprisoned trans woman. The Emmy she won for The T Word made her the first transgender woman to win for an executive producer role.

Cox appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims UnitI Want to Work for Diddy and TRANSform Me before she landed her role on Orange Is the New Black. She has also appeared on The Mindy ProjectDoubt and Grandma.

In conjunction with Cox's visit, several campus academic and administrative entities will co-sponsor "Free CeCe! Documentary Screening, Panel Discussion and Reception," which will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at the University of Arkansas School of Law. 

Events include a screening of the Cox-produced documentary Free CeCe!, which will be followed by a panel discussion. The panel will include LGBTQ activist and the film's subject CeCe McDonald, representative of Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and Intransitive Diego Barrera, University of Arkansas assistant professor of law Jordan Blair Woods and trans activist and community leader for transgender rights Miss Major Griffin-Gracy. Jo Hsu, University of Arkansas assistant professor of English and associate director of the Program in Rhetoric and Composition will moderate. A reception with the panelists and a book signing by Griffin-Gracy will follow the discussion. 

All events are free, and the attendance of students, faculty, staff and members of the off-campus community is encouraged. 


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law


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