SMU celebrates MLK with Dream Week 2015 Jan. 17-22

Martin Luther King Jr.
SMU celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. during Dream Week 2015.

SMU celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during Dream Week 2015, Jan. 17-22.

Sponsored by SMU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the annual observance features a variety of activities, including opportunities for community service and a commemorative walk.

The schedule of events:

Saturday, Jan. 17:

  • Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade, 10 a.m., starting at Dallas City Hall. SMU administrators, faculty and students will participate in the City of Dallas’ parade – including SMU President R. Gerald Turner and alumnus Charles Cox, who as a student introduced King when he spoke at the University on March 17, 1966. (Listen to King’s speech at SMU or read the transcriptaudio) Alumni of SMU’s annual spring break Civil Rights pilgrimage, SMU Black Alumni members, SMU Multicultural Student Affairs representatives and SMU student athletes and coaches also will march in the parade. Find more information at MLKCelebrationDallas.org.

Sunday, Jan. 18:

  • SMU Student Coalition for Equity Meeting, 2 p.m., 243 Umphrey Lee Center. The Student Coalition for Equity is a grassroots social justice movement run by and for students. The group addresses issues of social injustice and seeks to create change from the bottom up.

Monday, Jan. 19:

  • MLK Day of Service, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., volunteer meet-up in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center at assigned times. SMU students, faculty and staff will join others across the country in a national day of service. Opportunities include preparing the Vickery Meadows Learning Center for the spring semester, building ramps at homes of those with physical disabilities and helping with landscaping at local nonprofit centers. Breakfast, lunch and transportation provided. Cosponsored by SMU’s Community Engagement and Leadership Center. Find more information at smu.edu/volunteer.
  • Free screening of “Selma” for SMU students, 7 p.m., Angelika Film Center, Mockingbird Station. SMU students can catch a free showing of this 2014 release, just nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, which explores 1965 Alabama as a battleground in the fight for suffrage for African-Americans. The screening will be followed by free pizza and a discussion with experts on the civil rights movement. Sponsored by Morrison-McGinnis Commons; register at tiny.cc/SelmaMoMac.

Tuesday, Jan. 20:

  • SMU Unity Walk, 12:30-1:30 p.m., starting at Hughes-Trigg Student Center Commons. President R. Gerald Turner and student leaders lead this annual demonstration of the University’s support for MLK’s work. All members of the SMU community are invited to join the walk from the flagpole on Bishop Boulevard to Perkins Chapel.

Wednesday, Jan. 21:

  • Real Talk: Conversations Around Diversity, noon, Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom West. With a January topic of “Is Your Voice Being Heard? Social media activism: How effective is it?,” this monthly discussion is open to students and other members of the SMU community.
  • Opening reception for Helen Suzman: Fighter for Human Rights, 4-6 p.m., Bob Hope Lobby, Owen Arts Center. This panel exhibition uses letters, speeches, political cartoons and news articles to showcase the career of the South African anti-apartheid and human rights activist. The exhibit runs in the Bob Hope Lobby, Owen Arts Center, through Feb. 20, 2015. Cosponsored by the SMU Arts + Urbanism Initiative and Embrey Human Rights Program. Find more information at the Meadows School of the Arts News and Events homepage.

Thursday, Jan. 22:

  • Film screening, “Mountains That Take Wings: A Conversation with Angela Davis and Yuri Kochiyama”, 6:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom West. Based on exchanges in 1996 and 2008 between professor and writer Angela Davis and grassroots organizer and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Yuri Kochiyama, the film showcases the scope and depth of their knowledge on topics ranging from Jim Crow laws and Japanese American internment camps, to Civil Rights, anti-war, women’s and gay liberation movements, to today’s campaigns for political prisoners and prison reform. Sponsored by SMU’s Women and LGBT Center.

For more information, contact SMU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, 214-768-4580.

SMU to honor global and local human rights champions with inaugural ‘Triumph of the Spirit’ awards Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014

Eliana Elias
Eliana Elias

Peruvian champion of indigenous women’s rights Eliana Elias and global-minded local educator Bhavani Parpia will be honored at SMU Wednesday, Nov. 12 as the first two recipients of Embrey Human Rights Program Triumph of the Spirit Awards. The awards carry a combined $30,000 in funding for the recipients made possible by an anonymous supporter of SMU’s undergraduate human rights program.

The inaugural Triumph of the Spirit event will include a 7 p.m. dinner in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom and 6 p.m. courtyard reception. The evening will feature interviews with Elias, Parpia and other human rights leaders, a mix of music and spoken-word performances and mixed-media art by past and present Embrey Human Rights Program students.

Bhavani Parpia
Bhavani Parpia

Reserved tables and individual tickets for the event are available at various sponsorship levels. For details, visit SMU’s Triumph of the Spirit ticketing page, call 214-768-3241 or contact Bradley Klein.

The Triumph of the Spirit Awards aim to “reward people doing great work for others, sometimes at great risk to themselves,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. “The awards represent a microcosm of life-changing work being done locally and around the world on issues affecting everyone. The awards also are meant to give us all hope that change can be made even by small steps of awareness and action.”

Elias and Parpia were selected for Triumph of the Spirit Awards from among several dozen human rights defenders nominated for providing selfless work on behalf of individuals and communities. The award selection committee, comprised of 19 SMU faculty and staff members, University alumni and regional community leaders and activists, chose Elias and Parpia for work best exemplifying the missions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Embrey Human Rights Program.

Global Award/$25,000 recipient: Eliana Elias

Eliana Elias has worked more than two decades in the Peruvian Amazon and other rural areas to engage and empower indigenous women and activists about their human rights.

As an expert in intercultural communications for social change, Elias has helped hundreds of non-governmental organizations and indigenous groups develop ways to strengthen leadership, education, health and conservation initiatives.

In 1998, Elias co-founded Minga Peru, an award-winning model geared to improving communication, gender equity and social change. Since then her work has been recognized and rewarded by groups including the Clinton School for Public Service in Arkansas, the Global Philanthropy Forum, Funders without Borders, Family Funders and Funders for Human Rights.

Regional Dallas Award/$5,000 recipient: Bhavani Parpia

Montessori teacher Bhavani Parpia is founder of the educational nonprofit ConnecTeach, helping underserved communities in South Asia and the Middle East improve the quality of education for hundreds of thousands of children one teacher at a time.

Parpia also serves as district world languages coordinator for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District (HEB ISD), where she develops and oversees Arabic, Chinese and Hindi programs.

Before joining HEB ISD, Parpia founded the Primary School at North Hills Preparatory in Irving. Under her leadership, North Hills was ranked 13th-best performing school in the United States, and in 2013 she received the World Affairs Council International Educator of the Year award.

Written by Denise Gee

> Read the full story from SMU News

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 engage@kera.org.

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

Calendar Highlights: Feb. 19, 2014

Myra Greene at Meadows: Artist and professor Myra Greene visits SMU Wednesday, Feb. 19 to speak on “issues of difference, beauty, physical and emotional recollections as they play out on the surface of the skin” for the Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Greene is an associate professor of photography at Columbia College Chicago, and her work is part of numerous permanent collections at museums across the country. She received her B.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and M.F.A. in photography from the University of New Mexico. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall, Owen Arts Center.

Killing-The-Messenger

The deadly cost of news: SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program screens Killing the Messenger: The Deadly Cost of News, exploring the danger journalists go through to get a story. (Murder is the number one cause of journalist deaths worldwide.) Following the screening is a discussion with the filmmaker, Eric Matthies, and SMU Adjunct Assistant Professor Kael Alford, whose work in Iraq is featured in the film. The event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Forum.

Why are they NOT Impressionists: Dallas Morning News art critic Rick Brettell visits SMU for a lecture on artistic styles Thursday, Feb. 20 in SMU’s Meadows Museum. Brettell, the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair and co-director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums at UT-Dallas, will focus on “the masters of the loaded brush” – Sorolla, Zorn, Boldini and Sargent – and compare their work to that of Impressionists, pointing out similarities and stressing their differences. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. in the Bob Smith Auditorium.

SYZYGY: Diva Dolce joins SYZYGY for a performance Friday, Feb. 21. The musical groups will perform Nico Muhly’s How Soon?, based on a poem by George Herbert, and other works of 20th and 21st century music for winds, strings and percussion. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center.

The Vagina Monologues: SMU’s Women’s Interest Network presents its annual staging of The Vagina Monologues Feb. 21-22. The show is based on playwright Eve Ensler’s interviews with more than 200 women and helps raise awareness and stop violence against woman locally and globally. Tickets are $5 for SMU faculty, staff and students and $10 for the public; they can be purchased at the door or by calling 214-768-4412. All proceeds benefit the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center. Doors open at 7 p.m. and performances start at 7:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

Embrey Human Rights Program seeks nominees for new award

SMU's Embrey Human Rights Program graphicSMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program will present its first Triumph of the Spirit Award and $25,000 to a person who has dedicated his or her life to social justice and human rights issues on a local, national or global scale. A related award and $5,000 will go to a human rights defender in the Dallas-Fort Worth region.

“The Triumph of the Spirit Award is meant to serve as a symbol of hope in the continued struggle for human rights,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin.

Award winners must exemplify the missions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Embrey Human Rights Program, says Halperin, adding, “Often these human rights defenders are working against tremendous odds and at grave personal risk.”

The deadline to submit Triumph of the Spirit nominations is Monday, March 3. Winners will be announced Tuesday, July 1 and honored at a fall reception.

> Read more about the Triumph of the Spirit award and make a nomination online

SMU is the first university in the South and the only one west of Ohio to offer a Bachelor of Arts in human rights. Approved in 2011 by the SMU Board of Trustees, the academic degree was offered five years after the creation of the Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

For more details about the Triumph of the Spirit Award, contact Bradley Klein, assistant director of the Embrey Human Rights Program, 214-768-3241.

Written by Denise Gee

> Visit SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program homepage

Calendar Highlights: Nov. 5, 2013

Meadows Percussion Ensemble: On Wednesday, Nov. 6 the Meadows Percussion Ensemble will perform their fall concert. The evening will include a range of works from classic pieces to premieres. The second half of the concert begins with a world premiere of alum Lane Harder’s new piece, “Whispered Interior.” The concert is directed by Jon D. Lee, Meadows adjunct lecturer and director of Percussion Ensemble. The concert starts at 8 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center.

Financing the flames: SMU Embrey Human Rights invites you to a lecture and book signing from investigative reporter and author Edwin Black. Black will speak on the issues reported in his new book, Financing the Flames: How Tax-Exempt and Public Money Fuel a Culture of Confrontation and Terrorism in Israel – specifically how “highly politicized, American taxpayer-supported human rights organizations…are financing the flames that make peace in Israel difficult if not impossible.” While researching for his latest book, Black spent time in Israel and Palestine, and he will share details of this at the lecture. The event is Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in McCord Auditorium.

Brazen Brass
Brazen Brass 5. Image via SMU Meadows

Brazen Brass: Meadows group Brazen Brass 5 will have their debut performance as an Ensemble-in-Residence, Saturday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. The Brazen Brass 5 formed in January 2012 and performs brass quintet music. The group is made up of current SMU undergraduates and SMU graduate school alums. In January 2013, the group was named runner-up in the Aspen Music Festival brass quintet fellowship competition. Saturday’s concert is in Caruth Auditorium and will include music from the Baroque era to the 20th century.

Calendar Highlights: Oct. 29, 2013

Fame & photography: The Meadows Museum presents a lecture on the evolution of art and its influence on society, “The Construction of Artistic Celebrity in the Late Nineteenth Century,” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29. The lecture focuses on the 1850s and the introduction of mass-produced photographic prints, and “how art dealers, photographers and journalists worked in concert to transform artists into trendsetters and their works into status symbols for nouveau riche collectors.” Anne McCauley, Professor of the History of Photography and Modern Art at Princeton University, will give the lecture and use the album compiled by William H. Stewart, recently acquired by Meadows, to convey her point. The lecture will be in the Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium and is free to attend.

Collage c/o SMU Women's & Gender Studies Program
Shelby Knox (Collage c/o SMU Women’s & Gender Studies Program)

Feminist, Activist, Texan: Women’s rights activist Shelby Knox will speak at SMU, Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. Knox started her women’s rights journey at 15 years old when she campaigned to have her Lubbock high school adopt comprehensive sex education as well as allow a gay-straight alliance. Her work was then chronicled in the 2005 Sundance film, “The Education of Shelby Knox.” Knox now travels across the country speaking and hosting workshops on women’s issues; she is also working on a book. The SMU Women’s and Gender Studies Program invites you to this free event in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

As the Nation May Direct: The Clements Center for Southwest Studies presents a Noon Talk on “Pensions and the Financing of a Post-Removal Cherokee Nation” Wednesday, Oct. 30at noon. The talk will focus on the history of Cherokee pensions, starting with the Red Stick Revolt in the War of 1812, and how they have changed since then and what that means for the Cherokees. Julie Reed will host the talk; she is the David J. Weber Research Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America at the Clements Center. Reed is also revising for publication her book manuscript, Ten Times Better: Cherokee Social Services, during her time at the Clements Center. Noon Talk is free and open to the public and will be held in DeGolyer Library.

MSO: Meadows Symphony Orchestra invites you to a concert featuring guest violinist and SMU Meadows Artists-in-Residence Chee-Yun Kim. Kim attended Juilliard School of Music, has received several music honors and has even appeared in an episode of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Kim will perform Jean Sibelius Violin Concerto, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and more. There will be performances Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3 at 3 p.m in Caruth Auditorium. Tickets are $7 for faculty, staff and students, please call 214-768-ARTS for more information.

Common Reading author Wes Moore visits SMU Aug. 29, 2013

Wes Moore
Author Wes Moore will speak at SMU Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Moore wrote the University’s 2013 Common Reading book, The Other Wes Moore.

New York Times best-selling author Wes Moore will visit SMU Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, to discuss his book, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.

The free lecture is part of the University’s 2013 Common Reading Program and will take place 5-6 p.m. in the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom, Umphrey Lee Center.

> RSVP online for the Wes Moore lecture

Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Early arrival is highly encouraged. In addition, SMU will broadcast the lecture via live streaming.

The Other Wes Moore uses alternating dramatic narratives to tell the story of two kids with the same name, liv­ing in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, dec­o­rated com­bat veteran, White House Fellow and business leader while the other is serving a life sentence in prison for murder.

SMU Forum: One name, two fates: SMU’s 2013 Common Reading

The story “both disturbs and inspires readers with questions about the influence of family and education in the choices a young person makes,” said SMU Associate Provost Harold Stanley.

The event is sponsored by the Provost’s Office; the Gartner Honors Lecture Series; the Scott-Hawkins Lecture Series; Friends of the SMU Libraries; Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility; Department of English; Embrey Human Rights Program; Residence Life and Student Housing; and the Office of Student Affairs.

> Watch the Wes Moore live stream beginning at 4:50 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29 at smu.edu/live video
Visit the Maguire Center’s Common Reading site

Written by Alyssa Eubank ’14

SMU examines the costs of capital punishment April 15-18, 2013

The Goddess of Liberty statue, Capitol Building, State of TexasAs the State of Texas draws closer to executing the 500th death row inmate since capital punishment resumed here in 1982, a multidisciplinary symposium on the SMU campus will address “Death By Numbers: What Moral, Legal and Economic Price Are We Paying to Maintain the Death Penalty?” April 15-18, 2013.

“Such a morbid milestone should make us stop and look at the record number of people being executed, the high cost of maintaining capital punishment and the increasing number of states eliminating it,” says Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program, the symposium’s sponsor.

Since the modern era, nearly 40 percent of all U.S. executions have occurred in Texas. “That significant number should make us wonder why this state so eagerly embraces capital punishment, despite evidence that mistakes have been made,” Halperin says.

All symposium events are free and open to the public. They include:

April 15 — The Legal Path to Execution, noon to 1:30 p.m., 201 Florence Hall. Dedman School of Law faculty will discuss the development of the U.S. Supreme Court’s limitations on capital punishment, the trend among states to abolish the death penalty, profiles of people who have been executed and changes that a person can undergo during incarceration. Panelists will be associate professor Vicki Palacios, assistant professor Meghan Ryan and instructor/mitigation specialist Vince Gonzales.

April 17 — Capital Punishment: Theological Perspectives, 12:30 to 1:25 p.m., Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. Faculty members from Perkins School of Theology will discuss the death penalty from the vantage points of their academic disciplines. Panelists will be Susanne Scholz, associate professor of Old Testament; Joerg Rieger, Wendland-Cook Endowed Professor of Constructive Theology; Theodore Walker Jr., associate professor of ethics and society; and Joseph Allen, Professor Emeritus of Ethics. Note: Lunch can be purchased for $5 in the Prothro Hall Refectory at 12:15 p.m.; food and beverages will be allowed in the Great Hall.

April 18 — Literary, Societal & Economic Impacts of the Death Penalty, 7 to 9 p.m., 131 Dedman Life Sciences Building. Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences professors Dick Hawkins (Sociology), Mike Holahan (English), Steve Sverdlik (Philosophy) and Beth Wheaton (Economics) will engage in a panel discussion moderated by Dallas Morning News Editorial Writer Tod Robberson.

“Lighting the Torch of Conscience” — On May 7, closer to the projected date of the 500th execution, the Embrey Human Rights Program will sponsor the “Lighting the Torch of Conscience” demonstration expected to be the largest anti-death penalty event ever held in Dallas. It will include a press conference and vigil at 6 p.m. in front of the Dallas County Old Red Courthouse, 100 S. Houston Street in downtown Dallas, where public lynchings once took place.

For more details, contact Sherry Aikman, 214-768-8347.

Written by Denise Gee

Edwin Black discusses ‘IBM and the Holocaust’ at SMU Nov. 7, 2012

Bookcover, 'IBM and the Holocaust' by Edwin BlackEdwin Black’s account of how one of America’s most powerful corporations helped Nazi Germany systematically keep track of Jews, run trains and operate death camps will be examined when the acclaimed journalist-historian visits SMU Wednesday, Nov. 7, to discuss his New York Times-bestselling book, IBM and the Holocaust.

The free public talk and book signing, sponsored by SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom East.

Black writes of a secret alliance between the Third Reich and IBM, and the company’s subsequent “structured deniability.” The 2001 book, set to become a motion picture produced by Brad Pitt, also addresses U.S. corporate ethics and responsibility during one of the world’s darkest chapters, in which 11 million people were killed.

“IBM and its subsidiaries helped create enabling technologies, step-by-step, from the identification and cataloging programs of the 1930s to the selections of the 1940s,” Black says. Though computers as we know them did not exist, Black notes, IBM’s Hollerith punch-card technology helped facilitate the Nazis’ “Final Solution.”

“Edwin Black shatters the myth that powerful U.S. corporations, including Ford and Chrysler, had few dealings with Nazi Germany,” says Embrey Human Rights Program Director Rick Halperin. “In fact, his findings raise disturbing questions about America’s profits from the murder of millions of people across Europe.”

Black’s books include British Petroleum and the Redline Agreement (2011), The Farhud (2010), Nazi Nexus (2009), The Plan (2008), Internal Combustion (2006), Banking on Baghdad (2004), War Against the Weak (2003 and 2012), The Transfer Agreement (1984 and 2009) and the novel Format C: (1999).

For more information, call 214-768-8347 or visit smu.edu/humanrights.

Written by Denise Gee