Marking the 50th anniversary of the slaying of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, the American Studies Program at Brandeis a hosting a conference, "Blacks, Jews and Social Justice in America," on June 10-12.
Congressman John Lewis (left), a leader in the civil rights movement for more than a half-century, will deliver the keynote address.
The conference is funded, in part, by the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice.
Ndaba Mandela (left) and Kweku Mandela-Amuah (right) with Professor Chad Williams, chair of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies, at the 2014 'DEIS Impact keynote address.
Since its establishment in 2006, the Legacy Fund has sponsored a series of initiatives designed to help students, enrich the University community, and address social justice concerns on and off campus. Projects supported by the Legacy Fund include:
-- Despite a snowstorm that canceled classes and shut down the university, Kweku Mandela-Amuah and Ndaba Mandela, grandsons of the late Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and first black president of South Africa, delivered the keynote address for the third annual ’DEIS Impact festival of social justice. Organized by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life and the Student Union with support from the Louis D. Brandeis Legacy Fund for Social Justice, the 10-day festival featured more than 50 events. Talks, workshops, performances and exhibitions were organized by students, faculty, clubs and academic departments to raise awareness of social justice on campus, in Waltham and around the world. “'DEIS Impact is an audacious, bold undertaking whose goals are not beer and football,” Mandela-Amuah said. “[Social justice] is a goal you are destined to fail [to achieve.] No society has ever achieved it. You remind us that each and every one of us can try.”
-- Activist, scholar and journalist Peter Dreier, the Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College, visited campus to deliver a lecture, “What Makes Social Justice Movements Succeed? Lessons from the Past, Present and Future. Dreier has worked as a reporter, community organizer and senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. He writes regularly for The Nation, American Prospect, Dissent, the Los Angeles Times and Huffington Post about American politics, activism, sports, and popular culture. Peter’s new book, “The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame,” was available for purchase.
-- More than 150 Brandeis faculty, students and community activists gathered to assess the state of poverty in the United States today – 50 years after the publication of Michael Harrington’s “The Other America: Poverty in the United States.” Speakers included Robert Kuttner, author, founder and editor of the American Prospect and a Boston Globe columnist, and Bob Herbert, former New York Times op-ed columnist, Demos distinguished fellow and senior adviser to the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. Heller School faculty and community organization officials led discussions, which explored how economic and policy trends affect poverty and the “new poor” today, and what can be done to address the crisis.
-- About 30 Brandeis students, faculty and staff made a "field trip" to “The Other America Then and Now,” a conference marking the 50th anniversary of the breakthrough analysis on poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington. Speakers at the conference, which was held March 22-23 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., included Harrington biographer Maurice Isserman; Michael Kazin, a Georgetown professor and co-editor of “Dissent;” and William Julius Wilson, a Harvard professor and author of “When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor.”
-- Brandeis marked the 50th anniversary of one of the most pivotal events in the American civil rights movement when three Freedom Riders and the alumnus whose historical scholarship helped bring their stories to prominence visited campus. More than 300 people -- students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the local community -- watched excerpts from the Emmy Award-winning documentary "Freedom Riders" and then heard Freedom Riders Diane Nash (left), Ellen Ziskind and Paul Breines and leading historian Ray Arsenault, MA ’74, PhD ’81 discuss the efforts of civil rights activists to challenge segregation in the American South in 1961.
-- Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree, one of the country’s foremost experts on race and justice and a passionate advocate for the rights of the accused, spoke about race, class and crime in the United States.
-- More than 200 people attended an event featuring leading anti-racism activist Tim Wise, who spoke about his new book, "Between Barack and a Hard Place: Challenging Racism, Privilege, and Denial in the Age of Obama."
-- Brandeis Celebrates Brandeis, a pair of events that paid tribute to Justice Brandeis as he returned to the public consciousness through the issuance of a U.S. postage stamp (right) in his honor and the publication of a new biography in the fall of 2009.
-- The Brandeis Explores the Journey of Humankind Project, which gave student volunteers the opportunity to trace their family ancestry, while highlighting the existence of a shared human history. Renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells, the explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and director of the Genographic Project, gave a public lecture on campus as part of the project.
-- The visit of Kim Bobo, a leading voice for workers’ rights and justice and the founder of Interfaith Worker Justice, who came to campus to talk about her experiences as a social justice leader and organizer. PDF of Bobo's address.
-- The 40th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Transitional Year Program at Brandeis.
-- The Justice Brandeis Jubilee, a year-long campus celebration of Justice Brandeis’s 150th birthday during the 2006-07 academic year, which included academic symposia, art and archival exhibitions, a birthday reception, and other events.
-- Publication of an award-winning, scrapbook-style biography of Louis D. Brandeis, which is presented to each member of the incoming freshman class.
-- Production of “Louis Brandeis: The People’s Attorney,” a 50-minute documentary directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Charles Stuart that aired on PBS.