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2013 Schedule of Events

For the 2014 Schedule of Events, CLICK HERE

January 18-19

MLK Weekend of Service

Join students, staff, and faculty across the Vanderbilt campus as we serve in a diverse array of community projects during MLK Weekend, Friday, January 18th and Saturday, the 19th. Various group leaders will develop projects that address community needs and foster community engagement through intentional service and action.  Not only will we be asking “Where you see justice in the community,” but also, “What are you doing to promote it?”  Join Vanderbilt as we explore in action the various ways in which those questions are being answered.  For more information on service opportunities or if you have questions, please contact oacs@vanderbilt.edu.

CLICK HERE to sign up (Current audience: Project leaders/those designing projects):

The Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) will assist with publicity for your service project and maintain a database of available volunteer opportunities. All Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff that want to participate in your MLK Weekend of Service project will be able to sign-up online through the OACS website.

For an in depth description of available projects please contact OACS.

January 21, 2013

8:45 AM (Bus Pick Up Begins)

Nashville Freedom March • 9:45 AM
Departing from corner of 28th Avenue and Jefferson Street (Jefferson Street Baptist Church)

Join hands and hearts with the greater Nashville community in a march that commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. King and the civil rights movement.  Come represent Vanderbilt at this inspiring march where people of all races from all across Middle Tennessee will come together.  This march needs you!  Make a memory!

Buses will arrive at Kirkland Circle and Murray House in The Martha Ingram Commons at 8:45 AM, and depart for the March at 9:15 AM to transport students to the corner of 28th Avenue and Jefferson Street at the Jefferson Street Baptist Church.  A lite breakfast will be provided at each pickup site, and riders are advised to arrive at their preferred pickup site allowing enough time to receive a MLK T-shirt, and complete a liability form. Immediately after the march buses will be available from 11:00-11:30 PM at the TSU Gentry Complex to transport students back to campus.

Sign up for the Freedom March here

12 Noon

Dr. Kenneth Robinson

“MLK Day: A View from the 21st Century Pulpit”

Kenneth Robinson
School of Nursing and Medical School Keynote Speaker (In conjunction activity)

Light Hall
A native of Nashville, TN, The Reverend Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. holds a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Harvard University (1975); the Doctor of Medicine degree from Harvard Medical School (1979); and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School (1986), where his Honors Thesis focused on the interrelationship between religious faith and healing.  The delivery of health care has been integral to Dr. Robinson’s “ministry of healing”. Board-certified in Internal Medicine, while having begun his ministry during medical school, Dr. Robinson has pursued a professional synthesis of medicine and ministry; focused on the promotion of health in individuals, families and communities – on holistically “healing the land.”

CLICK HERE for complete bio.

For more information contact Jana Lauderdale at jana.lauderdale@Vanderbilt.Edu.

12:15 PM

Lunchtime Symposium • Sarratt Student Center
The Problem Of The 21st Century Is The Problem Of The Color Line

Rev. Dr. Joe Ingle, a fearless advocate, activist, and spiritual leader for wrongly incarcerated death row inmates, will engage us as our symposium speaker.  Rev. Ingle’s most recent book, The Inferno; A Southern Morality Tale, tells the story of an unjustly condemned and executed man accused of the murder of a Memphis Police Officer.  Joining Rev. Ingle at the end of his talk will be Ndume Olatashani, who himself was recently released from 28 years of incarceration.  He spent 20 of those years on death row.

1:00 PM-5PM

Nashville Freedom Ride
Leaving from Branscomb Circle at 12:15 PM

Nashville Freedom Rider Kwame Lillard will conduct a tour of significant sites in the civil rights movement in Nashville.  Buses will depart at 1:00 PM.  Participants will have lunch at historic Nashville Restaurant; Harper’s or Puckett’s downtown location.  Students must register and 50 participants will be selected at random.  The deadline to register is Wednesday, January 16, 2013.  Winners will be notified after 5pm when registration closes and must then RSVP by Friday, January 18, 2013.

For more information and to participate contact Traci Ray.

1:30 PM-2:30PM

Art Exhibit:  A Story of Hope by Ndume Olatushani
Black Cultural Center (Refreshments served)

Ndume Olatushani is a self-taught artist who discovered his passion for painting while on death row.  Wrongly convicted of murder in Memphis in 1985, Ndume spent 20 years on death row, and another 8 years in prison, before he was freed.   A court finally overturned his conviction in 2011 in the face of overwhelming proof that the prosecutors in his case had buried a mountain of evidence demonstrating Ndume’s innocence.  The bulk of the buried evidence showed that an entirely different group of suspects were the real perpetrators of the crime. On June 1, 2012,

Ndume Olatushani

he walked out of the Memphis jail a free man.

While in solitary confinement on death row, Ndume picked up a pencil and began sketching portraits. Over time, he began experimenting with paint.  Rather than try to capture the tragic images of prison life, Ndume let his mind wander outside of his 6 by 10 foot death cell.  He fleetingly escaped the monochrome, concrete of his world by filling his canvases with the color and beauty of Africa.

All of the paintings in this exhibit were created during Ndume’s long years behind bars.  Though painting was a critical escape during those years, it did not come easily. He was dependent on support from the outside to send him art supplies. And, in his cell, he didn’t have an easel or adequate lighting to facilitate his craft. Typically, he sat on his steel bunk and set the canvas board on his lap.  Because of the dim light, he sometimes needed to use a magnifying glass when working on detailed portions of his work.

Since his release from prison in June of 2012, Ndume has been busy spending time with family and just relishing all of the ordinary things that most of us take for granted. He refuses to be consumed by bitterness for what happened to him.  Having faced the very real prospect of death at the hands of the state, he deeply appreciates the amazing gift of each day he is alive and free.

Ndume feels strongly about not forgetting all the men he left behind in prison. He is deeply committed to working for criminal justice reform. He recently began working as an organizer with the Children’s Defense Fund to help challenge polices resulting in the mass incarceration of people of color.

2:30 PM-4:00PM

Afternoon Teach-Ins

Teach-In (A)

Living Wage – The Commons Center Multi-Purpose Room • Moderated by Frank Wcislo, Dean of The Martha Ingram Commons and Sebastian Rogers
Inspired by the documentary “Enough is Enough”, Vanderbilt students take a stand for the Vanderbilt Dining Workers. Join us in a discussion with students and dining workers as they discuss what working justice means to them.

Teach-In (B)
Sarratt Cinema
From Rosa Parks to Roc-A-Fella:  Black Bodies, Voices and Images In Hip Hop and Beyond – Sarratt Student Center • Moderated by Terrance Dean, Vanderbilt Divinity School with Lori Read, Supervising Producer for Harpo Studios and Stephen Dent, Producer for Sean “P-Diddy” Combs.

This panel explores how our images have been impacted in media vis-a-vie Hip Hop and the culture of social media. The powerful images of Rosa Parks, and those in the Civil Rights Movement, to the images displayed in Hip Hop and in other media outlets have drastically changed. This discussion takes an in-depth look into how media impacts the Black community via television, film, print, and social media.  Do we need a new Dream, or is Dr. King’s Dream still relevant? How do we move forward? Can we impact media, and what needs to be done to change the negative stereotypes attributed to Black people?

4:00 PM

When Is Service Social Justice?
Office of Active Citizenship and Service

Rand 304
Join us in our discussion of service and social justice while we consider Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s conceptualization of social justice and how it relates to service and active citizenship today?

5:00 PM

Prison Galleries:  Imagining Justice From The Inside Out • Sarratt Gallery
The Art of Riverbend Maximum Security Inmates
Gallery reception 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.
“That wall isn’t there just to keep me in, but to keep you out.” —Tyrone W., prisoner and former participant in the Inside Out Prison Exchange

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Sarratt Gallery exhibits outsider art work in conjunction with members of the Vanderbilt University Department of Philosophy and prisoners on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. The United States incarcerates more of its own citizens than any other country in the world, and we are the only Western democracy to retain the death penalty. In the spirit of dialogue, Sarratt Gallery presents a series of paintings, sketches, and sculptures created by prisoners on death row, many of whom have been participating in a weekly philosophy discussion group. The artwork seeks to convey the prison environment and to explore the possibilities for living, thinking, working, and creating while on death row.

6:30 PM

MLK Keynote Address • Langford Auditorium
A limited number of tickets are still available at the Sarratt Box Office for Michelle Alexander’s keynote address at 7 p.m. on Monday, January 21, in Langford Auditorium. Pick up your ticket with your VU ID card. There is no cost but a ticket is needed for entry.

6:30 • Opening Performances

Performances by Voices of Praise, Jeremiah Generation, Victory A Cappella and the Blair Chamber Choir.

6:45 • Essay Contest Readings

The winners of the MLK Essay Contest from middle and high schools will recite their essays before the keynote address by Michelle Alexander.

7:00 PM

  • Welcome:  Chancellor Nick Zeppos
  • Introduction of Keynote by Maryclaire Manard, VSG President and Kiersten Chresfield, Multicultural Leadership Council President

Keynote Address: Michelle Alexander • Langford Auditorium

  • “The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (Tickets required). Tickets are free and available through Sarratt Cinema Box Office.  Student tickets available on December 1st.  General Admission tickets available on January 3rd.  Contact Sarratt Box Office at 615.322.2425.
  • Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar.  In recent years, she has taught at a number of universities, including Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor of law and directed the Civil Rights Clinics.  In 2005, she won a Soros Justice Fellowship, which supported the writing of The New Jim Crow, and that same year she accepted a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University.  Since the publication of The New Jim Crow, the book has received rave reviews and has been featured in national radio and television media outlets, including MSNBC, NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, the Tavis Smiley Show, C-Span, and Washington Journal, among others.  In March, the book won the 2011 NAACP Image Award for best nonfiction.

Prior to entering academia, Alexander served as the Director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU of Northern California, where she coordinated the Project’s media advocacy, grassroots organizing, coalition-building, and litigation.  The Project’s priority areas were educational equity and criminal justice reform, and it was during those years at the ACLU that she began to awaken to the reality that our nation’s criminal justice system functions more like a caste system than a system of crime prevention or control.  She became passionate about exposing and challenging racial bias in the criminal justice system, ultimately launching and leading a major campaign against racial profiling by law enforcement, known as the “DWB Campaign” or “Driving While Black or Brown Campaign.”

In addition to her non-profit advocacy experience, Alexander has worked as a litigator at private law firms, including Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, in Oakland, California, where she specialized in plaintiff-side class action lawsuits alleging race and gender discrimination.

Alexander is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Vanderbilt University. Following law school, she clerked for Justice Harry A. Blackmun on the United States Supreme Court and for Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.   She currently devotes much of her time to freelance writing, public speaking, consulting with advocacy organizations committed to ending mass incarceration, and, most importantly, raising her three young children—the most challenging and rewarding job of all.

Question and answer segment immediately following the keynote and moderated by Divinity School Professor Dale Andrews.

8:10 PM

Candlelight Vigil
Join us for an inspirational evening Candlelight Vigil. The Vigil will offer an opportunity to reflect on the rich experiences of the day, to give thanks for the shining light Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. continues to have in our lives, and to look forward with hope as we light candles that illumine the darkness.

8:30 PM

Reception • Light Hall

In Conjunction

Monday, January 14th

12 Noon
Vanderbilt School of Law MLK Jr., Memorial Lecture • Renaissance Room, Law School

Dr. William Darity

William Darity is an Arts and Sciences Professor of Public Policy Studies and Economics and Chair of African and African American Studies and director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke University.  CLICK HERE for complete bio.

Thursday, January 24th

Dr. Lucille Zeph

4:10 p.m. • Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center MLK Commemorative Lecture

Lucille (“Lu”) Zeph, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Inclusion & Disabilities, University of Maine will speak as part of the Kennedy Center MLK Lecture.  Her lecture is entitled “Creating Inclusive Communities-One Dream at a Time.”  CLICK HERE for complete bio.