SMU experts join KERA for Freedom Summer 50th anniversary film preview & panel discussion Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Embrey Family Foundation

SMU experts join KERA for Freedom Summer 50th anniversary film preview & panel discussion Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Freedom Riders Julia Aaron and David Dennis

Julia Aaron, left, and David Dennis participated in a Freedom Ride from from Montgomery, Alabama, to Jackson, Mississippi in 1961. The Freedom Riders paved the way for Freedom Summer student volunteers. Photo credit: Paul Schutzer via ‘Freedom Riders’ c/o PBS

During the summer of 1964, more than 700 student volunteers joined with thousands of organizers and local African Americans to register new voters in Mississippi.

The violence that followed included the murders of three civil rights workers and the burning of dozens of churches, homes and community centers. Public outrage against these acts helped spur the U.S. Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In honor of Freedom Summer’s 50th anniversary, two SMU experts will join a former student activist and UNT law professor for KERA’s Freedom Summer Community Screening and Panel Discussion.

The screening and discussion take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 17, 2014 in KERA’s Community Room, 3000 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas. Admission is free; advance registration is required by 5:30 p.m. on the day. For details, contact

The event – which includes a preview of the June 24 PBS show “Voices of Freedom Summer” – is sponsored by KERA and the Embrey Family Foundation/SMU Embrey Human Rights Program with support from the South Dallas Cultural Center and the Dallas Faces Race think-tank.

“The racist issues civil rights activists confronted, primarily to ensure voting rights, aren’t just in the pages of history. They’re deeply entrenched to this day, but perhaps not as overtly visible,” says SMU Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin, event moderator.

Featured panelists include:

Ernie McMillan, a Dallas native and former member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Student Congress On Racial Equality (SCORE). McMillan was an integral part of Texas-based civil rights demonstrations that, although often successful, led to his imprisonment for more than three years.

Dennis Simon, SMU’s Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of political science in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and organizer of SMU’s Civil Rights Pilgrimage, now in its 10th year.

Cheryl Brown Wattley, a University of North Texas law professor who spent more than 21 years in private practice, primarily as a criminal defense attorney and civil rights litigator. At UNT she is director of Experiential Education and teach courses in professional skills, criminal law, and professionalism.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story at SMU News

June 16, 2014|Calendar Highlights, News|

SMU panel to explore the history (and future) of privacy Oct. 31, 2012

A panel of SMU faculty members from a wide range of disciplines will examine the history of and emerging ramifications for the concept of privacy in the 21st century at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center West Ballroom.

The program launches the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s IMPACT (Interdisciplinary Meetings to Address Pressing Current Themes) series of symposia. Sponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation, the symposium is free and open to the public and includes a 3 p.m. reception.

Lee Cullum, journalist and fellow in SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include SMU professors whose studies touch on some aspect of privacy:

  • George Holden is professor of psychology in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Holden specializes in developmental psychology with a focus on family violence and parent-child interactions. His current research involves analyzing home audio recordings of mothers and their preschoolers. “Psychologists are in the business of exploring people’s private lives — such as their secret thoughts and behavior behind closed doors,” Holden says. “Consequently, we are confronted with various thorny issues.”
  • Alexis McCrossen is associate professor of history in Dedman College whose specialty is U.S. social and cultural history. “Privacy is an institution that came of age in early modern Europe,” she says.
  • Beth Newman is associate professor of English and director of the Women and Gender Studies Program in Dedman College. Newman, whose specialty is 19th-century British literature, says “The concept of privacy developed alongside the rise of the novel, which reinforced its importance — especially for the middle class.”
  • Santanu Roy is professor of economics in Dedman College. Roy’s research interests are in industrial organization, natural resources and environment, international and economic growth.
  • Mary Spector is associate professor of law and director of the Consumer Law Project – both in Dedman School of Law. Spector’s research interests are in the areas of consumer credit, landlord-tenant law and clinical legal education.
  • Suku Nair is chair and professor of computer science and engineering in the Lyle School of Engineering. Nair’s research interests are in network and systems security and reliability.

The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute was made possible by a $5 million gift from the Dedman Family and the Dedman Foundation. The Institute was created to bring together faculty and students from the humanities, sciences and social sciences for collaborative research and other programs. The Institute will host annual seminars bringing together faculty, graduate and undergraduate students and members of the community to discuss global issues.

Written by Kimberly Cobb

> Read the full story at SMU News

October 30, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Panel examines ‘Seeking Justice in the Face of Hate’ April 5, 2012

How long does a person or community have to wait for justice? A state legislator – representing an Allen family that believes their son’s 2009 stabbing death was a miscarriage of justice – will join four others with uniquely compelling perspectives on crimes involving hate and what Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, describes as “legal systems that have let us down.”

The panel discussion, “Seeking Justice in the Face of Hate,” will take place 7-9 p.m. in SMU’s McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, the Embrey Family Foundation and Project X: TheatreDanceMusicFilm.

Featured panelists include:

  • Acclaimed playwright Erik Ehn of Brown University, whose work addresses violence, genocide and faith — and whose play Diamond Dick, about the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, opens in Dallas April 13. A musical preview will be presented during the panel event.
  • Rep. Lon Burnam, who will highlight the legal issues surrounding a local Muslim family seeking justice for the murder of their son.
  • Cece Cox, executive director & CEO of Resource Center Dallas, one of North Texas’ primary LGBT and HIV/AIDS service organizations.
  • Detective Terry Trail of the SMU Police Department, who will talk about hate groups in America and how they use the Internet.
  • Hate-crime survivor and World Without Hate peace activist Rais Bhuiyan.

For more details, visit or call 214-768-8347.

Above, Rais Bhuiyan talks about his experiences as a hate-crime survivor in an SMU-TV story by student journalist Bridget Bennett dated Sept. 12, 2011. Click the Vimeo screen to watch, or click this link to watch the Rais Bhuiyan interview in a new windowvideo

Written by Denise Gee

April 5, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Human Rights Program hosts discussion on U.S. women’s rights April 28

A panel of experts will discuss emerging encroachments on U.S. women’s rights at the next presentation of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program.

“Under Fire: Women’s Rights in the U.S.” is cosponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation and will take place 7:30-9 p.m. Thursday, April 28, 2011 in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Rick Halperin, director of the Embrey Human Rights Program in SMU’s Dedman College, will moderate a panel that includes:

Event parking will be available in the Daniel Avenue lot behind Dallas Hall. For more information, call 214-768-8347.

April 28, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News|
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