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2015 Schedule of Events

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Vanderbilt University Commemoration

January 13-21, 2015

“Dismantling Segregation:
Race, Poverty, and Privilege”

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Our theme poses the question; what does term “segregation” mean today?  It no longer means “de jure” segregation, racial separation by law.  Instead, it means that we inhabit a society where the divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is wide and deep.   But we can and must address the troubling issues of race and class divisions; we can and must also focus on more than mere dialogue and discussion.  We must seek solutions as we indeed personify those solutions, through our own sustained and committed actions.  We must not “look the other way.”

Schedule of Events

Chancellor’s Lecture Series

The Chancellor’s Lecture Series brings to Vanderbilt and the wider Nashville community intellectuals who are shaping the world today.

Each lecture – for which reservations are not required – is free and open to the public.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965: Commemorating 50 Years

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Langford Auditorium
Reception and Book Signing – 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Lecture – 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Civil and human rights activist Harry Belafonte and award-winning historian Michael Beschloss join Jon Meacham and Chancellor Zeppos to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Mark your calendar for this important conversation that traces America’s journey from 1965-2015 and thoughtfully contemplates our country’s path forward.

Harry Belafonte

Michael Beschloss

Friday, January 16th

12:00 p.m. • Black Cultural Center Auditorium
MLK Kickoff Luncheon

Come out and enjoy great food and fellowship as we officially kick off the MLK Commemoration.  A special program will be presented to address the current situations on our campus and across the country in regard to the protest of the grand jury verdicts in Ferguson, MO and NYC.  This program does not presume to take sides but to allow our campus community to dialogue about these protests and race based violence in this country.

Friday-Sunday, January 16-18

MLK Weekend of Action

OACS invites you to join the Vanderbilt community in a weekend of action and reflection as we honor the contributions of Dr. King in seeking justice and challenging the discourse on civil (dis)obedience.  Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to join us for projects that address specific community needs through intentional service and action.  For more info please link to: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/oacs/serve-in-nashville/weekends-of-service/mlk-weekend-of-service/

Monday, January 19th

10:00 a.m.
Nashville Freedom March

Leaving from The Ingram Commons at Murray Circle and Kirkland Circle (Breakfast Refreshments)

Buses for the 2014 Freedom March arrive for pick up at 9:15 a.m. at Kirkland Circle and Murray Circle in The Ingram Commons. The buses depart campus at 9:30 a.m. and transport students to the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church and 28th Avenue North. The march will start at 10:00 a.m., and will arrive at TSU’s Gentry Center at 12 Noon. Immediately after the march, buses will be available from 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. at the TSU’s Gentry Center to transport students back to campus.

11:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Nashville Freedom Ride

Leaving from Branscomb Circle

Nashville Freedom Rider Kwame Lillard will conduct a tour of significant sites in the civil rights movement in Nashville.

11:30-11:45     • Students check in at Branscomb
12:00 p.m.         • Lunch at Harper’s Soul Food Restaurant
1:00-3:00 p.m.  • Tour by Kwame Lillard and Sandra Brown

11:30 a.m.
MLK Lunchtime Symposium • Student Life Center Board of Trust Room

Sheryl Cashin, Georgetown Law School, Vanderbilt University Alum
Activism in the 21st Century:  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Multiracial Army for Justice

For full bio please visit our website at www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.

12:00 p.m. • 208 Light Hall

Vanderbilt School of Medicine and School of Nursing
Dr. James Forman, Jr., Yale Law School
The Other America

208 Light Hall

James Forman is the son of civil rights pioneer, James Forman, Sr., who joined and served as the executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), beginning 1961.
Lunch served first come, first served.  Free and open to the public.
For full bio please visit our website at www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.

Afternoon Teach-Ins
1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Teach In (A)
Race, Class, and Immigration Status:  Conflicts and Realities •
Location TBD
Prof. Stella M. Flores
Associate Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education
Vanderbilt University
Dr. Stella Flores, whose scholarly work has addressed issues of access and equity in US education, will lead a discussion which will touch on issues relating to demographic changes, immigration, and college admissions as they relate to underrepresented populations. 

Teach In (B)
The Future of Poor Children • Location TBD
Rev. Henry Blaze, VU School of Divinity

About 15 years ago mothers of poor children were told they had to go to work (Welfare Reform).  It was said “Children growing up in homes and communities where there is work will be far better off over the long run than children growing up in homes and communities where there is only welfare.” After 30 years of growing inequality, ever expanding structural contradictions of capitalism, and predatory professional charity, what does the state of affairs suggests for the pending near future of poor children in America?

Teach In (C)
Check Your Privilege • Location TBD
Dr. Sheila Peters
Fisk University

This session focuses on the microinsults and microaggressions that we commit in our daily interactions within our human experience.  Privilege in our human interactions empowers to rise above the insults and dehumanizing behaviors.  Participants will address how privilege belittles others and restricts open dialogue.  In addition, participants will address how to use privilege to provide leadership in the fight for social justice.

2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Teach-In (D)
Signs of the Movement:  From Memphis to Ferguson • Black Cultural Center
BCC Photo Exhibit by Alexis Jackson

Photographer Alexis Jackson presents a cross generational exhibit exploring the themes of place, time, and protest within her body of work allowing the viewer to connect the protests surrounding the deaths of unarmed black men to the protests during the Civil Rights Movement.  She intends for this body of photographs to serve as a visual reminder of the history of injustice in this country while encouraging viewers to think critically about how far we have come and how much further we have to go.

Teach-In (E)
Remembering Those Rendered Invisible • Location TBD
Dr. Frank E. Dobson, Jr.
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Frank Dobson and VU graduate students will discuss racial hostility and its victims, by focusing on little-known historical occurrences as well as contemporary headlines.   This teach-in will be interactive, with a video presentation as well as large and small group discussions.  A further focus of the discussion will be on reconciliation and healing, how we each can become instruments of reconciliation across racial and class lines.

Teach-In (F)
How to Talk About Race • Location TBD
Justin Hua, Katherine Nash, Devin White

This teach-in seeks to help people identify what makes them uncomfortable when talking about race in a multicultural setting, develop an awareness of the implication of their word choice, and equip them to engage in challenging, constructive conversations about race. The multi-cultural panel will set the example of what intercultural conversations about race should look like. People should walk away empowered to engage in these crucial conversations. 

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Reflections on Service and Social Justice •
OACS Lounge (305 Sarratt/Rand)

Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS)

Students, faculty and staff who dedicated time to service over the weekend are invited to reflect with us on their experiences through the lens of our great social justice leaders.

For more info please link to: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/oacs/2013/12/mlk-jr-weekend-of-action/

6:30 p.m.
Keynote Address by the Honorable Andrew Young
Langford Auditorium

6:30 p.m.
Opening Performances • Langford Auditorium
Vanderbilt Choir, Voices of Praise, Rhythm and Roots

6:45 p.m.
MLK Middle and High School Essay Contest Winners’ Recital
For complete essays and poems please visit our website at www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.

7:00 p.m.
Keynote Address

Welcome by Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos
Introductions by Nazharie Brandon, Black Student Alliance President and Tanner Owen, Vanderbilt Student Government President
MLK Keynote:  Former U.S. Ambassador the Honorable Andrew Young
General admission tickets are free and available 
January 5th at the Sarratt Box Office. Tickets available for students and the general public at 4 per person.  No tickets may be held at the box office or Langford.  For info
 ticket availability, call 615-322-2425.


Honorable Andrew Young

8:10 p.m.
Candlelight Vigil (following keynote)

Join us for an inspirational interfaith service that bears witness to the shining light that Dr. Martin Luther King was in our world and to the continuing light of his legacy among us. Vanderbilt University and Divinity School students will lead this service. Thanks to Professor Rev. Dr. Dale Andrews and Assistant Dean Rev. Dr. Amy Steele for coordinating the planning of this service.

8:30 p.m.
Reception in Light Hall Lobby

In Conjunction Activities

Monday, January 12th
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Vanderbilt School of Law

Bennett Miller Room

Professor Dylan C. Penningroth

Northwestern University
Faith and Prosperity on African American History

For full bio please visit our website at www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.

Please contact Antoinette.bolden@vanderbilt.edu or 615.322.9800.
Box lunches available and this event is free and open to the public

Monday, January 19th12:00 p.m.
Vanderbilt School of Medicine and School of Nursing

208 Light Hall
Dr. James Forman, Jr., Yale Law School
The Other America

Lunch served first come, first served.  Free and open to the public.
For full bio please visit our website at www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.

Wednesday, January 21st
4:10 p.m.
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Magnolia Circle Building
Andrew J. Imparato, J.D.
The Future of Disability Policy

With the retirements of longstanding champions Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman George Miller, the disability community has an opportunity to cultivate new Congressional leaders to advance a compelling new policy agenda for children and adults with disabilities. The recent bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (co-authored by Senator Lamar Alexander) and the ABLE Act include elements that will be building blocks for future policy. Join us as Andy Imparato gives an insider’s perspective on the opportunities and challenges our country faces as we seek to realize the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act almost 25 years after its passage.

For full bio please visit our website at www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.
Register at: vkc.mc.vanderbilt.edu/events

We would like to thank all of our gracious sponsors.  For a complete listing of sponsors as well as speaker bios and other information please go to our website at: www.vanderbilt.edu/mlk.