By Derrick Jean-Baptiste

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Florida Southern College students, faculty and staff had an opportunity to attend a special lecture hosted by famed social activist Jackson Katz. Katz in internationally recognized for his groundbreaking work in gender violence prevention in schools, in sports and in the military.

Born in Swampscott, Massachusetts, Katz’s developmental years did not give a hint to the man he would eventually become. Moving on from the Captain and Quarterback of his high school football team to becoming the first man to minor in Women’s Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. When speaking on this topic, even Katz admitted that it was a very interesting jump in personal ideology. After graduating with his Ph.D. in cultural studies and education, Katz hit the ground running with his activist plans.

For ten years, starting in 1988 Katz was the director of Real Men, a grassroots organization that intended to root out sexism in the city of Boston, Massachusetts.

Another social activist organization Katz is a part of is the multiracial, mixed-gender Mentors in Violence Prevention (Or MVP) program at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society. Founded in 1993 MVP was one of the first big social organizations that adopted the Bystander approach.

This approach was, in fact, helped created by Katz himself and challenges bystanders to take a stand to the injustices they may encounter. This relatively new method’s goal is to help people move from being passive bystanders to being empowered and active ones.

Today, the MVP program is one of the most widely utilized sexual and domestic violence prevention programs in colleges and professional athletics. In fact, it has been implemented by almost a quarter of active teams in the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, as well as a number of other sports organizations.

Since 1990, Katz has lectured at over one thousand colleges, high schools, middle schools, conferences, and military installations all around the world. So it was rather surprising that Florida Southern was able to get him to come to its campus.

While Katz has had a long career in the social activist spectrum upon his visit to Florida Southern College, he only had one subject in mind. The subject and name of this lecture was The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help.

Throughout the lecture, Katz wanted to argue for a Paradigm Shift. He wanted to convince everyone that violence against women is not just a women’s issue but a men’s issue as well. He went on to say a bold statement that garnered a roar of applause from around the room “Men must realize that only saying ‘I am not a rapist’ is not enough to curb gender violence.”

Jackson Katz believes that Men and Women work hand and hand we can end gender violence. He pushed for the idea that men should just stand up for what they know is right and help the wrong that has so permeated in society. With his final, words reverberating around the room and another fine lecture presented at Florida Southern College came to a close.


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