Ongoing Campus Dialogue Takes Committment…. Yours.

There is a significant event in Baker Hall tomorrow night. The Kenner Lecture series has invited Michele Norris back to campus to support campus wide conversations about race and it’s impact on our society. Many of us may have heard her speak at last year’s MLK Convocation. Her return this year includes a panel of noteworthy actors reading selections from her book, “A Grace of Silence” and “The Race Card Project.” And, if you’re a fan of our own, Dr. James Peterson, he will speak with Michele to take audiences behind-the-scenes of The Race Card Project and open up the conversation to the audience. 

Ms. Norris is one of the most respected voices in American journalism. As a National Public Radio host and special correspondent, she produces in-depth profiles, interviews and series. She also leads “The Race Card Project,” an initiative to foster a wider conversation about race in America. In the book she turns her insightful interviewing and investigative skills on her own background to unearth long hidden family secrets that raise questions about her racial legacy and shed new light on America’s complicated racial history. Tickets are free, but can’t stress enough that if you want to attend, you should reserve a ticket. If you reserve online, you will be charged a $3 service fee. Alternatively, stop by the Zoellner Box office today or tomorrow between noon and 5pm to pick yours up with no service charge.
Here’s a few thoughts to consider exploring to deepen your experience at the Kenner lecture Thursday, Jan 30th at 8pm.
In a recent tweet, Norris wrote about submissions to The Race Card Project, “Sometimes the comments that flow from a 6-word story are as interesting or arresting as the submission itself.” If you are on Twitter, we encourage you to follow @michele_norris to get a sense for how she encourages dialogue in many forums.
On December 4th, 2013, Lehigh University Africana Studies Post-Doctoral Fellow Imaani Jamilla El-Burki wrote an article for the Huffington Post, “College Students Are Unprepared to Talk about Racism.” We encourage everyone to read this article, again if necessary especially in tandem with the Kenner Lecture.
Another perspective to the issue of racism in America is available in the current exhibit in the Lehigh University Art Gallery inside Zoellner. 
image by William Earle Williams

image by William Earle Williams
Bishop Peter Spenser Memorial and Grave, Wilmington, Delaware, 2006

“A Stirring Song Sung Heroic: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom” is a series of black and white silver gelatin prints of photographs by William Earle Williams. Through his work, the artist asks, “What is freedom? How have we determined it for ourselves and how has it been determined for others in America? And how do the events of the past forever mark the landscapes of the present.”

It is clear that the climate issues on this campus resonate beyond our ivory towers. It’s time for all of us to remain active in the dialogue. We all must embrace a personal responsibility to understand cultural issues beyond our own ethnic, social, religious and sexual identities. This campus, its faculty, administrators, program directors, staff and student body has work to do. While many of the resources are available for those who seek insight, answers and connection, we can’t spoon feed you.