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Civil rights activists Angela Davis and Alicia Garza to discuss social activism for MLK Day event

For Immediate Release Jan 6, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS – As part of Indiana University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, the Madam Walker Legacy Center and the university will present “A Call to Action: Then and Now” from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 18.

Man addresses crowd from podium
Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a speech on May 17, 1967, at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California.Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The virtual program will feature two of the nation’s most prolific civil rights activists: Angela Davis and Alicia Garza. They will discuss activism then and now for civil rights, social justice, inclusion and equality, offering pathways to build a world more reflective of King’s dream.

“I am thrilled with this partnership and the opportunity to bring these two legendary activists together for a moderated dialogue answering questions about what has changed, what remains the same and the future of social justice in America,” said James C. Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs; dean of The University Graduate School; and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership at Indiana University.

The program will offer a first-time dialogue by the two internationally recognized leaders, who will discuss their social activism process, their experiences, and connecting generationally to current social justice and equality issues.

Moderating the dialogue will be Angela Rye. A prominent political strategist offering on-air commentary, she also serves on boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee and the Seattle University School of Law Alumni. Rye has served as Executive Director and General Counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus for the 112th Congress.

Immediately following the panelist discussion, there will be a community conversation with local leaders. This conversation will highlight lessons learned and further discuss where we as a community go from here, regarding social justice and racial equity.

Moderator for the community conversation will be Karen Vaughn with Radio One Indianapolis. Local panelists are:

  • David W. Greene, Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, President
  • Jessica Louise, Indy 10 Black Lives Matter Organizer
  • IPS Advisory Council Student
  • Lemuel Warren Watson, Indiana University

Davis, a distinguished professor emerita of history of consciousness and feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the author of 10 books. A lecturer known for powerful speeches and dialogue about injustice, she has been involved in social justice movements worldwide.

Garza is co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, which now has 40 chapters in four countries. She serves as the strategy and partnerships director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance and is co-founder of Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism. Her activism involves health issues, student services and rights, rights for domestic workers, ending police brutality, anti-racism, and violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people of color.

“Combining efforts to host this event in honor of Dr. King speaks to the importance of organizations coming together to create partnerships that take them beyond the ordinary to create the extraordinary,” said Madam Walker Legacy Center board chair Joyce Q. Rogers. “This year’s MLK Day of Celebration shines a spotlight on decades of advocacy and activism in American history to move beyond injustice for some to justice for all. Esteemed beyond the timeline of their combined experiences, we are poised to receive a powerful message with solutions for change. When we ask ourselves ‘What has changed,’ this dialogue provides a stark reality that brings it all into focus.”

To register or to learn more about this event, visit the Madam Walker Legacy Center website or IU’s MLK Celebration site.

Other details about IU’s celebration are available on the MLK Celebration site, including a list of events on multiple campuses, details about how to share a video about how King’s legacy has inspired you, and a virtual toolkit to provide members of the community with at-home experiences surrounding the day, including examples of service opportunities.

Media Contact

Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs

Elizabeth Blevins

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