Human rights, gender activist speaks at CSU for International Women’s Day


Collegian | Reuel Indurkar

Reverend Naomi Tutu speaks on international women’s day in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University March 8.

Katherine Borsting, Staff Reporter

The month of March is Women’s History Month, which is to highlight the accomplishments and strides women have made throughout the past. Beginning in 1978, as a week to commemorate women’s history and gradually became the month people acknowledge now. On March 8 the U.S. acknowledges International Women’s Day.

Reverend Naomi Tutu came to speak at Colorado State University on March 8 in celebration of International Women’s Day, where she discussed her experiences as a woman of color and elaborated on how women can become more unified. 


Tutu is a human rights, race and gender activist. Born and raised in South Africa, Tutu elaborated on how she struggled to find her voice when coming to the U.S.

Reverend Naomi Tutu speaks on international women’s day in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University March 8. (Collegian | Reuel Indurkar)

During her time speaking, Tutu reflected on her ideas of how women can grow together if they overcome the barriers they have been led to build. 

“Justice and peace will come when we cross the lines we have been taught are dismantled,” Tutu said. 

When discussing the topic Tutu continually told jokes and stories that kept the audience engaged and laughing, all while keeping the important message of unifying women as the center focus of her talk.  

Other points Tutu discussed were the importance of breaking the silence women have been taught to keep and fighting the standard that women should always be polite. 

“We have been conditioned to be polite,” Tutu said. “Silence is building wars.” 

She told personal anecdotes of how uncomfortable conversations are what allowed her to break barriers with women who have different viewpoints and how these created unity when it was needed most. 

Tutu finished her time speaking by asking the crowd to think about how to give women the space to speak their stories in their own voices. 

“We should speak our stories with an awareness of our own context,” Tutu said. 


She explained how women have been told to look down on each other’s differences rather than try to understand the many different backgrounds and cultures they experience.

Shauna DeLuca, assistant director of global co-curricular initiatives at CSU, helped organize the event and bring Tutu to campus. 

“By bringing the world to Colorado State University, we can create a community that is better informed and more prepared to address the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century,” DeLuca said. 

She went on to emphasize how having a university such as CSU hold these events allows engagement with important leaders and opens discussions for crucial and sometimes difficult topics. 

DeLuca also explained that Tutu’s speech was crucial because it educates on how women and people of color can overcome the barriers that have been placed before them.

“(Tutu’s) experiences taught her that our whole human family loses when we accept situations of oppression, and how the teaching and preaching of hate and division injure us all,” DeLuca said. 

Reverend Tutu left many students and staff at CSU with a new understanding and perspective on how to have conversations about race and gender issues. Her knowledge on the struggles minority groups face was a new perspective that highlighted her ideologies.

Reach Katherine Borsting at or on Twitter @katbor2025.