The Daily Illini

Activist Shaun King to speak at University Thursday

Portrait of Shaun King.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia user Jp16103.

Portrait of Shaun King.

The Illini Union Board is hosting Shaun King, a civil rights activist and political commentator, to speak about civil rights issues on March 9 at 7 p.m.

Senior justice writer at New York Daily News, King often discusses issues such as police brutality, mass incarceration and discrimination in the United States.

“The Illini Union Board has a semester-long lectures program that tries to bring lecturers that we feel the student body can identify with and will make our campus more inclusive, welcoming and maybe even open eyes for some people who might not be as in the know on some topics,” said Jenna Wicks, program director for the Illini Union Board.

Last month, the Union hosted Miss America 2014, this month, they are hosting Shaun King and next month another speaker will be brought in.

“Our students put together a list of potential speakers that they would like to bring to campus. Based on availability and cost, we try to make it happen,” Wicks said. “ We have been working on bringing Shaun King before the semester even started.”

King has been a large contributor to the Black Lives Matter Movement, often focusing on getting attention for little-known instances of racially motivated injustice. He became popular through social media outlets, namely Twitter and Facebook.

“Sometimes controversy isn’t a bad thing, and Shaun King does bring up a lot of issues that are controversial,” Wicks said.

Wicks said that being able to talk about controversial topics is important because it gets other people’s perspectives to fit into a bigger picture.

“What King does is he brings to light things that are not normally in the light,” Wicks said.

Wicks said that they are expecting a large turnout of around 600 to 800 people for King’s lecture.

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