Home » 2015 Schedule of Events » 2014 MLK Commemoration Speakers/Presenters/Artists

2014 MLK Commemoration Speakers/Presenters/Artists

Danny Glover
2014 MLK Keynote Speaker

Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. As an actor, his film credits range from the blockbuster Lethal Weapon franchise to smaller independent features, some of which Glover also produced. Most recently, he co-starred in the critically acclaimed feature Dreamgirls directed by Bill Condon and in Po’ Boy’s Game for director Clement Virgo. He appeared in the hit feature Shooter for director Antoine Fuqua and can currently be seen in Honeydripper for director John Sayles and Be Kind, Rewind for director Michel Gondry.

Glover has also gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice, and access to health care and education programs in the United States and Africa. For these efforts, Glover received a 2006 DGA Honor. Internationally, Glover has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, focusing on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and currently serves as UNICEF Ambassador.

In 2005, Glover co-founded Louverture Films dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. The New York based company has a slate of progressive features and documentaries including Trouble the Water, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Africa Uniteaward winning feature Bamako, and most recent projects Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan.

A native of San Francisco Glover trained at the Black Actors’ Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater. It was his Broadway debut in Fugard’s Master Harold…and the Boys, which brought him to national recognition and led director Robert Benton to cast Glover in his first leading role in 1984′s Oscar®-nominated Best Picture Places in the Heart. The following year, Glover starred in two more Best Picture nominees: Peter Weir’s Witness and Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple. In 1987, Glover partnered with Mel Gibson in the first Lethal Weapon film and went on to star in three hugely successful Lethal Weapon sequels. Glover has also invested his talents in more personal projects, including the award-winning To Sleep With Anger, which he executive produced and for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor; Bopha!; Manderlay; Missing in America; and the film version of Athol Fugard’s play Boesman and Lena. On the small screen, Glover won an Image Award and a Cable ACE Award and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO movie Mandela. He has also received Emmy nominations for his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove and the telefilm Freedom Song. As a director, he earned a Daytime Emmy nomination for Showtime’s Just a Dream.

Elliott Ozment

Elliott Ozment graduated from Vanderbilt Law School in 1975 and obtained a Certificate in the Program for Instruction for Lawyers from Harvard Law School in 1990. Has focused his practice in immigration law since 1998. Has been a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville Bar Association, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. He has served as the Chair of the Immigration Law Committee of the Nashville Bar Association and is the legal counsel for the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  He has provided initial consultations to over 1000 individuals and families and has represented hundreds of clients before the INS and USCIS (successor agency to the INS). He has also tried hundreds of immigration cases before numerous Immigration Courts (Memphis, Oakdale (LA), Atlanta (GA), New Orleans (LA), San Antonio (TX), York (PA),) and the Board of Immigration Appeals in Washington, D.C. He has also represented immigration clients in numerous U.S. District Courts (usually involving law enforcement and ICE violations of constitutional protections) and has represented immigration appellants before the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans), the Sixth Circuit (Cincinnati) and the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco). He has been a key player in numerous nationally-prominent cases, including Juana Villegas (mom shackled during child birth) and Daniel Renteria, which ultimately led to the shutdown of the notorious 287(g) Program in Metro Nashville. He has served as the Designated Legal Advisor for the entire State of Tennessee to the Mexican Consulate in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Ozment was recently recognized as the 2012 Lawyer of the Year by the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild for his outstanding contributions to protecting immigrants’ rights. Mr. Ozment received the Tennessee Bar Association’s Public Service Award, 2012 Harris A. Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year. Most recently, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission named Mr. Ozment as the 2013 recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award. He has formerly served as a Representative in the Tennessee House of Representatives and was a Political Analyst for local and state political affairs for Channel 2 News in Nashville.

Dr. Kenneth W. Mack

Dr. Kenneth Mack is the inaugural Lawrence Biele Professor of Law at Harvard University, and the co-faculty leader of the Harvard Law School Program on Law and History.  His 2012 book, Representing the Race: The Creation of the Civil Rights Lawyer (Harvard University Press), was selected as a Top 50 Non-fiction Book of the Year by the Washington Post, wasa 2013 National Book Festival Selection, was awarded honorable mention for the J. Willard Hurst Award by the Law and Society Association, and was a finalist for the Julia Ward Howe Book Award.  His is also the co-editor of The New Black: What Has Changed – And What Has Not – With Race in America (New Press, 2013).  He has written opinion pieces for the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, The Root, Baltimore Sun, and other popular media.  In 2007, he was named as an Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellow by the Fletcher Foundation.  In 2008-09 he was Co-Director of the Annual Workshop, on the “Long Civil Rights Movement,” at the Charles Warren Center for American History at Harvard University.  In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service by Harrisburg University of Science and. Technology.  During the 2008 and 2012 Presidential election cycles, he offered commentary on number of national television and print media outlets.  He began his professional career as an electrical engineer at Bell Laboratories before turning to law, and history.  Before joining the faculty at Harvard Law School, he clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and practiced law in the Washington, D.C. office of the firm, Covington & Burling.

Dr. Courtney H. Lyder

Dr. Courtney H. Lyder is Dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, Professor of Nursing, Medicine and Public Health; Executive Director, UCLA Patient Safety Institute and Assistant Director of the UCLA Health System.  Dr. Lyder is an international expert in gerontology. His clinical research has focused on chronic care issues affecting older adults. More specifically, he hasfocused his attention to pressure ulcer prevention, identifying erythema in darkly pigmented skin, wound healing, quality improvement in skilled nursing facilities, and elder patient safety. His research helped shaped the U.S. government’s position on surveying their 16,000 skilled nursing facilities. Most recently, Dr. Lyder served as the lead investigator for pressure ulcer incidence and prevalence in U.S. hospitals. This work assisted the U.S. government’s decision to stop paying for hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.  He has over 200 publications and has been awarded over $22 million in research and training grants. Since becoming dean at the UCLA School of Nursing in 2008, research funding has increased 400% ($18 million annually). Dr. Lyder is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. In 2011, he was appointed by U.S. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to the National Advisory Council for Nursing Research. In 2012, he was presented with the coveted National League of Nursing, President’s Award and awarded an honorary doctorate from Saint Xavier University for his significant contributions to nursing and advancing health.

John Seigenthaler

John Seigenthaler is a native of Nashville, TN who worked as a newspaper reporter at The Nashville Tennessean prior to working with Robert Kennedy on a committee investigating organized crime. In January 1961 he became a special assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.   As special assistant to the Attorney General, Seigenthaler initially served as the intermediary between the federal government, the Freedom Riders, and white segregationist state officials. His task was to convince theFreedom Riders to cease their direct action and accept a “cooling off” period, whileensuring their physical safety from mob violence. The administration believed that as a white Southerner from Tennessee, Seigenthaler would share a common bond with Governor Patterson of Alabama and other members of the Deep South establishment.  Seigenthaler successfully arranged for the original CORE Freedom Riders to depart from Birmingham on May 15 by plane, after a lack of willing bus drivers had blocked their progress. However, he soon learned that the federal government held little sway on the issue of race relations in Alabama. He was knocked unconscious while attempting to aid two Freedom Riders during the May 20 riot at the Montgomery Greyhound Bus Station, after telling assailants to stop and respect his authority as a federal official.  Seigenthaler went on to work on Robert Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign, before returning to journalism. He later became editor, publisher, and CEO of Nashville’s The Tennessean and founding editorial director of USA Today. He founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in 1961 with the mission of creating national discussion about First Amendment rights and values.

Dr. Velma McBride Murry

Velma McBride Murry, Ph.D., is the Lois Autrey Betts Chair in Education and Human Development and Professor, Human and Organizational Development in Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Her work has focused on the significance of context in studies of African-American families and youth, particularly the impact of racism on familyfunctioning. This research has elucidated the dynamics of this contextual stressor in the everyday life of African Americans and the ways in which family members buffer each other from the impact of the external stressors that cascade through African-American lives. Professor McBride Murry served as principal investigator of The Strong African American Families Program, a universal a RCT prevention trial designed to deter HIV-related risk behavior among rural African American youth residing in Georgia. Murry continued from NIMH to conduct a RCT in Tennessee to determine the efficacy and viability of a technology-driven, interactive family-based preventive intervention, The Pathways for African American Success Program, as a delivery modality for rural families.  Prior to joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2008, Murry was professor of Child and Family Development and Co-Director of the Center of Family Research in the Institute for Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia. She received a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Carolyn McDonald

Carolyn McDonald executive produced, co-wrote and directed P.N.O.K., a film chronicling a day in the life of two soldiers on Casualty Notification Detail, featuring Irma P. Hall, Danny Glover, Robert Ri’chard and Elle Fanning.  Upon arriving in Nashville, she executive produced Country artist Big Kenny Alphin’s (Big & Rich) documentary “Bearing Light” which aired on National Geographic Channel, as well as his music video “Share the Love” generated from a student film competition she created. Following this, she directed Shannon Sanders’ music video “Run”.  Later Carolyn produced and directed the documentary and short film WHO’S REAL? forNashville Film Festival’s Youth Outreach Film Program. She continues to produce the program, comprised of inner city teens generating short films based on their own lives. In 2011, she produced and directed the documentary “Design Your Neighborhood” for the Nashville Civic Design Center, a program also supporting youth education.  Carolyn has also directed & produced a number of PSAs for the Design Center.  As partner of Danny Glover at Carrie Productions in Los Angeles for nine years, she executive produced the Emmy & Image Award-nominated TNT civil rights saga, FREEDOM SONG.  Written and directed by Oscar® nominee Phil Alden Robinson (FIELD OF DREAMS), the film features Vondi Curtis-Hall, David Strathairn and Loretta Devine.  Carolyn also co-produced the critically acclaimed Western BUFFALO SOLDIERS.  Earlier at Carrie, she executive produced the prestigious HBO trilogy AMERICA’S DREAM. Comprised of powerful short stories by celebrated African- American authors, Maya Angelou, Richard Wright & Dr. John Henrik Clarke, the film featured Wesley Snipes, Danny Glover & Jasmine Guy, with segments directed by Bill Duke, Kevin Sullivan & Emmy-winner Paris Barclay.  The program won 4 Cable Aces and an NAACP Image Award for Best Made-for-TV Movie.  Fresh out of New York University’s Dramatic Writing/Film Program, Carolyn joined the East Coast advertising/publicity division of Warner Bros. Television in New York. There she ran buyer screenings and developed network publicity campaigns for such films as THE ROAD WARRIOR, CHARIOTS OF FIRE and BLADE RUNNER, and conceived marketing campaigns for the Warner Bros. cartoon catalog.  Carolyn also served as a Creative Executive at Cinecom Entertainment Group, where she was involved in various stages of development & production on such films as THE HANDMAID’S TALE, ONCE AROUND, MISSISSIPPI MASALA and TUNE IN TOMORROW. While at Cinecom, Carolyn also co-created two television pilots in association with Propaganda Films, THE RAGE and BACKBEAT.  A prolific screenwriter, Carolyn adapted the popular faith-based romance novel “Smitten” for GMC. Previously she co-wrote the comedy RETURN OF THE SWEETBIRDS from her story for 20th Century Fox, “polished” Glynn Turman’s feature directorial debut, NONE SO BRUTAL, and scripted the romantic comedy, ROCKET LOVE, which she will direct.  Other original works include BODY BY BRET, a comedy about an obsessive personal trainer, 5 EAST BROADWAY, a drama based on her migration from a farm to the inner-city as a teenager. Spawned from this project, Carolyn is also developing 16th + ARDOYNE, a multimedia project that parallels the nonviolent Civil Rights movements of Catholics in North Ireland and blacks in the American South. She is also developing a project on black jockeys entitled RUN.  Carolyn continues to expand her photography project “Nouns in the Road” which “chronicles the faces, places and spaces of her terrestrial quest.” She has had successful private shows in Los Angeles, at the African-American Cultural Center in Charlotte, NC, and galleries in Nashville, TN. Carolyn recently completed the photo journal “Nouns in the Road, vol. 1” available on Blurb.com; and has launched a line of lifestyle accessories available at Zazzle.com/ByCarolyn, featuring a limited edition prints of the collection.  While an Artist-in-Resident at Scarritt Bennett Center’s Gallery F in 2011, Carolyn was one of 24 artists selected to participate in Creative Capital’s first Professional Development Program in Nashville. Founded by the Andy Warhol Foundation, Creative Capital provides grants, workshops and ongoing support to artists of many disciplines.  Adding author to her diverse creative disciplines, Carolyn wrote and published her ‘memoir in essays’, INFLUENTIA: 50 YEARS ON EARTH AS IT IS IN CAROLYN, available as an ebook on Smashwords, and in paperback on Amazon. Next spring, she will publish her short story “That Extra Something” from her upcoming collection, POSTCARDS FROM WANKERVILLE via her imprint Araminta Press.  Carolyn has served as a consultant for the American Film Institute’s Digital Content Lab, a mentor for FilmIndependent’s Project: Involve, studied acting with Uta Hagen and Geraldine Page, and is an alumni of Judith Weston’s Actor/Director Lab.

Eric Etheridge

Eric Etheridge was born in 1957.  He grew up in Carthage and Jackson, Mississippi, and is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. He has worked as an editor at a number of magazines, including Rolling Stone, 7 Days, the New York Observer and Harper’s magazine. He as also worked online, creating and running websites for Microsoft, the New York Times, and others. He lives in New York City with his wife, Kate Browne, and their daughter, Maud.