Honors Colloquium panel features women political leaders, transgender clergy member

Tuesday’s free event is the ninth and final presentation in the 2018 series

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Gina Raimondo
Governor Gina Raimondo. Photo courtesy of the Governor’s office

KINGSTON, R.I.- December 3, 2018 – Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Executive Minister for the Rhode Island State Council of Churches the Rev. Donnie Andersen will address “Gender in Politics: Voices, Power, Action” in a free panel discussion to conclude the University’s 2018 Honors Colloquium on Reimagining Gender: Voices, Power, Action.

The discussion will be held Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in Edwards Hall, 64 Upper College Road, Kingston campus. Maureen Moakley, URI professor emerita of political science and The Public’s Radio commentator, will moderate.

Two-term Democrat Gina Raimondo is the 75th governor of Rhode Island and the first woman elected to the position in the state. Prior to her initial election in 2014, she served as general treasurer of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015, and was the second woman to hold that office.

The governor routinely promotes the role of women in elected office, encouraging women to get involved in the political process and run for elected office. On the national stage and locally, she frequently notes the disparity of women in elected office throughout the country and insists that it is important to bring a woman’s perspective to issues facing the state and nation. In May, Gov. Raimondo received the endorsement of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Nellie Gorbea
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. Photo courtesy of the RI Department of State

Nellie Gorbea is the secretary of state of Rhode Island and is the first Hispanic to win statewide office in New England. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Gorbea moved to Rhode Island in the mid-1990’s and served as the deputy secretary of state from 2002 until 2006. She was sworn in as secretary of state on Jan. 6, 2015. In her first term, Gorbea has worked to pass automatic voter registration, helped improve the elections system, ushered in tough legislation to increase government transparency and launched a new online business portal that makes it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses in the state.

Donnie Anderson is the executive minister for the Rhode Island State Council of Churches and the Rhode Island Bible Society, which comprises churches from 11 Protestant denominations, numerous other local congregations and seven affiliated church organizations. The council advocates for social justice issues in Rhode Island, provides guidance on contemporary issues from a theological perspective and seeks to provide resources for pastoral care.

Rev. Donnie Anderson
Rev. Donnie Anderson. Photo courtesy of Donnie Andersen

Anderson began her career teaching in a program that was part of Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and continues to speak to issues that address the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Currently she is active in the Interfaith Coalition to Reduce Poverty. She has served as pastor at churches in Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as Rhode Island. In addition, Anderson has served in administrative positions in religious organizations of higher education, publishing and denominational ministry. She holds a bachelor of science degree in business education from Barrington College, a master of arts degree in religious studies from Providence College and a doctor of ministry degree from Eastern Baptist (now Palmer) Theological Seminary.

After living as a man and after almost seven decades of confusion, dysphoria and shame, Anderson revealed that she was transgender and began the process of transition. In September, she returned to work following a three-month sabbatical as the Rev. Dr. Donnie Anderson. She continues to work for social justice from a faith perspective with an additional emphasis on her experience as a transgender woman.

Maureen Moakley
Maureen Moakley. URI photo courtesy of Nora Lewis

Maureen Moakley is a professor emerita of political science at the University of Rhode Island, specializing in American government, Rhode Island politics and media and politics. She writes extensively on state politics; her books include “The Political Life of the American States,” “Party Alignment and State Politics” and “Rhode Island Politics and Government” with Elmer Cornwell. Her current research focuses on the question of statehood for Puerto Rico. In addition to her academic work, she does regular political commentary on state politics on Rhode Island PBS and The Public’s Radio.

Reimagining Gender: Voices, Power, Action explores at this pivotal time in society, the relevance of gender in shaping human rights and how our rising consciousness about gender issues is leading to vibrant social discussions, rearrangements of power and perceptions, and new possibilities. The series includes lectures, exhibits, a theater production and a film screening, all intended to help demonstrate the significant impact of women in society and to deepen the conversation about gender roles and stereotypes and the impact they have on our actions.

Coordinators of the 2018 colloquium, marking its 55th year, are Rosario Pisa, professor and director of URI’s Gender and Women’s Studies program; Kyle Kusz, associate professor of kinesiology; Helen Mederer, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; and Smita Ramnarain, assistant professor of economics.

MAJOR Sponsor URI Honors Program

Sponsors URI Office of the President • URI Office of the Provost • The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment • The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment • URI College of Arts and Sciences • URI College of Arts and Sciences Kenneth and Susan Kermes Distinguished Lecture Endowment • URI College of Pharmacy • URI John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service • URI Gender and Women’s Studies Program • URI Office of Community, Equity and Diversity • URI Theatre Department • URI College of Engineering • URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences • URI College of Health Sciences • URI College of Business • URI College of Nursing • URI Division of Student Affairs • URI Department of Communications and Marketing • URI Department of Publications and Creative Services • URI ITS Instructional Technology and Media Services • URI Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Education and Professional Studies • URI Department of Computer Science and Statistics • URI Department of Economics • URI Department of English • URI Department of Sociology and Anthropology • URI Gender and Sexuality Center • URI Multicultural Student Services Center • URI Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.