Howard University hosts Truth In Reality's Redefining HERstory Campus Social Action Program



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   

January 9, 2015

NEW YORK, NY-- Truth in Reality, a media advocacy organization founded to combat the harmful effects of the stereotypical representations of women of color in the media, especially on violent reality television, will present its “Redefining HERstory Campus Social Action Program” at Howard University.  

Redefining HERstory is a national educational campaign that began in October 2014 and has been running concurrently on multiple college campuses. Howard University is the fourth school to partner with Truth in Reality. Sil Lai Abrams, National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) award winning writer and renowned domestic violence activist for women of color, created Redefining HERstory as a means to provide students with tools to help reshape the existing violent and over sexualized stereotypes of women of color in the media, especially on reality television; educate them on the intersectionality of media violence and domestic and sexual violence; and increase male accountability for the prevention of gender-based violence. 

Sil Lai Abrams will be on campus for the Redefining HERstory program kickoff event which will take place on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm at Howard University’s College of Medicine Auditorium, Room B5.  The Redefining HERstory Campus Social Action Program is part of a larger Redefining HERstory Public Awareness Movement that will continue to run after the Campus Program concludes at Howard in March of 2015 during Women’s History Month.  

Redefining HERstory is being brought to Howard University through the School of Communications’ Media Messaging Fellowship.  Established in 2012 by Tom Burrell, a member of the American Advertising Hall of Fame and founder of Burrell Communications in Chicago, the Media Messaging Fellowship creates opportunities for students and faculty researchers to investigate the impact of media messages on African Americans and explores ways to improve African-American images in the media. “With her work in analyzing reality shows, and her activism around domestic violence, Sil Lai Abrams has proven herself to be a valuable force to changing the perceptions and realities of African-American women. I look forward to the impact that this collaboration between Truth in Reality and Howard University’s Media Messaging Fellowship will produce as a result of their work together.”

Recent studies have revealed that violent reality shows have an adverse effect on the emotional development of young women and girls and can predispose men towards violent behavior towards women. Roughly half of all reality shows feature cast members primarily comprised of women of color whose behaviors reinforce damaging stereotypes that normalize relational aggression against women of color, including university-aged women who are at greater risk than their White counterparts to be victims of sexual and domestic violence.

Sil Lai Abrams said, “Redefining HERstory will challenge students on their existing belief systems around gender-based violence and redefine society’s existing negative narrative of Black women by using the media messaging on reality television as the basis for this much needed conversation.”

Howard University is a world-class institution and proudly holds the title of one of America’s oldest historically black colleges for students of color and is home to over 10,000 students. Upholding its tradition of providing quality education to its attendees since 1867, Howard University prides itself on creating a culturally diverse campus environment equipped with a healthy social experience for its scholars.

This partnership between Howard University’s School of Communications and Truth in Reality’s Redefining HERstory Campus Social Action Program will enhance the college’s conscious efforts toward providing its students with the best resources to ensure a rich campus social and cultural life.

For additional information on Truth in Reality, Redefining HERstory and existing partnerships, or to join the cause and download the Media Advocacy Toolkit, please visit

Contact:  Roni Francois 


About Truth in Reality

The mission of Truth in Reality is to change the way women of color and violence are portrayed in the media, especially on reality television. Through digital advocacy, public awareness campaigns and educational programs we aim to change society’s acceptance of gender-based violence and ultimately reduce its incidence in the Black community.


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