OITNB’s Laverne Cox to tell her story in inaugural ‘campus climate’ talk

If you’re a devoted fan of Orange Is the New Black — or simply a supporter of cultural diversity and equal rights for all — you won’t want to miss the upcoming campus talk by OITNB star Laverne Cox, “Ain’t I a Woman — My Journey to Womanhood.”

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox

The Emmy-nominated actress — who draws from personal experience in playing a transgender inmate on the show, set in a women’s prison — will kick off the Campus Climate Speaker Series, presented by UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion and its Campus Climate Initiative. The Speaker Series will bring a host of scholars, culture critics and activists to add to the campus discussion on campus climate.

In addition to her acting career, Cox is a documentary film producer and an outspoken advocate for equal rights. She was named one of The Grio’s “100 most influential African Americans” and one of the “top 50 trans icons” by the Huffington Post, and received the Anti-Violence Project’s courage award. She is the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role in a mainstream scripted television show.

The event will also launch “Make the Most of Your Moment,” a public campaign to inspire dialogue and action for a healthier, fully inclusive campus climate at UC Berkeley.

Cox will speak Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pauley Ballroom. The program will include remarks by Vice Chancellor Na’ilah Nasir and an audience Q&A session moderated by Professor Juana María Rodriguez. While the event is open to the general public, members of the UC Berkeley community can pre-register for the free event — co-sponsored by the ASUC, the LEAD Center and Cross-Cultural Student Development — beginning Friday, Nov. 20.