Gustavus to Tackle Sexual Violence at 20th Annual Building Bridges Conference

Posted on February 5th, 2015 by

Building Bridges LogoDue to unexpected circumstances, there has been a change to the keynote speakers at this year’s conference. Kyle Tran Myhre, better known by his stage name, Guante, has replaced Zerlina Maxwell as one of this year’s keynote speakers.

Access the live stream of this year’s Building Bridges Conference.

The 20th annual Building Bridges Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College will be held on Saturday, March 7, and is titled “Hidden in Plain Sight: Recognizing and Rejecting Rape Culture.” Keynote speakers for this year’s conference include writer Jessica Valenti and hip-hop artist and National Poetry Slam champion Kyle Tran Myhre, better known by his stage name, Guante.

“This year’s conference will provide a rewarding opportunity to engage in important dialogue that will challenge how sexual violence is pervasive and normalized in our communities,” said conference co-chairs Leah Soule and Kyle Maloney. “In particular, we will discuss the ways media, race, gender, and identity interact to create a culture of sexual violence.”

Valenti, who will speak at 9 a.m. in Christ Chapel, is a daily columnist for the Guardian US and the author of four books on politics, feminism, and culture. Her third book, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women, won the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award. She is also editor of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009. Valenti founded the feminist blog, which has evolved into a hub for young feminists.

Guante, who will deliver the afternoon keynote address at Noon in Christ Chapel, is a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, activist, educator and writer. He and/or his work has appeared on Upworthy, MSNBC, Racialicious, Feministing, MPR, Everyday Feminism, and The Progressive. He has performed everywhere from the United Nations to the Soundset hip hop festival to hundreds of colleges, clubs, and theaters across the country. Guante also serves as a teaching artist on the rosters of COMPAS and TruArtSpeaks (where he also serves as Communication Director), engaging in writing and performance residencies with youth, as well as regularly facilitating workshops and classes on a range of social justice issues.

The afternoon will feature a Q&A session with Valenti and Maxwell, as well as several workshop sessions. The entire schedule for the Conference is as follows:

  • 8:30 a.m. / Registration
  • 9 a.m. / Opening remarks, I Am We Are performance, Jessica Valenti address / Christ Chapel
  • 11 a.m. / Lunch break
  • 12 p.m. / Guante address
  • 1 p.m. / Q&A with Valenti and Guante
  • 2:15 p.m. / Workshop session
  • 3:15 p.m. / Workshop session and Interpretive Walk Through
  • 4:15 p.m. / Workshop session and Interpretive Walk Through
  • 5:30 p.m. / 20th anniversary celebratory reception / Torrey Atrium, Beck Hall

Tickets for this year’s Building Bridges Conference are available online at or by calling 507-933-7520. Tickets are free for students and are $10 for adults. Solidarity tickets are also available for $15 and include a $5 donation to help sustain and grow the conference.

Building Bridges is a student-led, student-initiated diversity conference dedicated to addressing today’s pressing social and global issues. The conference works to increase awareness and action, promoting mutual respect and understanding about diversity. These aims are achieved through inspirational speakers supplemented by interactive workshops and action steps.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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