The mission of the Nelson Mandela Social Justice Day and Speaker Series is to raise dialogue at USI around current issues of human and civil rights, public service, and activism through diverse, dynamic, nationally, and internationally known public intellectuals and academics. We aim to augment each speaker’s visit with a day of educational opportunities for the USI community. In these activities we hope to commemorate Nelson Mandela, an internationalist educator, activist, and champion of human and civil rights.
Nelson Mandela was a South African Nationalist, a democratic socialist, an anti-colonial freedom fighter, an anti-racist activist, and a political prisoner for a third of his long life. He was imprisoned for his efforts to liberate South Africans from apartheid, racism, and colonialism. In addition to fighting in these struggles, he also played a crucial part in reconciliation efforts and the recreation of South Africa as an inter-racial democracy. His legacy is inspirational to those who seek a world in which social justice reigns, and human rights issues guide our leaders to create better societies.
During the spring 2021 semester the Liberal Arts Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee is partnering with the Nelson Mandela Social Justice Committee to host a two-day event on February 17 and 18. All events will be virtual. The program and description of events is available below.
9-9:50 a.m. • Immigration Panel
This panel will include a discussion between Cesar Berrios (Program Advisor at USI’s Multicultural Center,) Angela Adams (Immigration Attorney), and Carlos Mayser (USI alum and activist) on recent changes in immigration law and its effects on Evansville and the USI community.
10-10:50 a.m. • Disability Advocacy from Me to You to Y'all: A Conversation About Getting Involved
This is a discussion between Dr. Christopher Keys Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at DePaul University, and Ronda Stone, USI's Manager of Disability Resources. The conversation will revolve around advocating for oneself, as well as advocating for others.
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. • Rapper and Activist Roy Kinsey
Chicago born and raised, Roy Kinsey is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to tradition in his respective industries. where being a black, queer-identified, rapper, and librarian may be an intimidating choice for some, Roy Kinsey’s non-conformist ideology has informed his 6th album, and self proclaimed, “best work yet,” KINSEY: A Memoir. KINSEY: A Memoir, arguably more poignant than Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey, captures a dark, sinister, yet sincere, and potent musical performance by Kinsey. Kinsey’s observations are strong on ‘Memoir,’; shaped by early traumas that threatened to debilitate his belief in himself as well as the abilities of his family. It is the manifestation of a queer man, in a black body, coming of age in Chicago.Roy Kinsey is a librarian in the Teen Services/Youmedia department for Chicago Public Libraries. Learn more about Roy on his website.
1-1:50 p.m. • Moving from Political Interest to Political Action
Are you interested in creating social change but don’t know where to start? Through this workshop, you can explore the basics of activism and find tools to enable you to work in efficient and just ways.
Want to learn more about social and political change? Check out this free book chapter by the panelists.
Dr. Ericka Mingo, National Louis University, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Dr. Bradley Olson, National Louis University, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
2-2:50 p.m. • Labor Education in Action
This workshop will feature a talk and discussion led by Tony Pecinovsky. Tony Pecinovsky is the president of the St. Louis Workers' Education Society (WES), a 501c3 non-profit organization chartered by the St. Louis Central Labor Council as a Workers Center. His articles have been published in the St. Louis Labor Tribune, Alternet, Shelterforce, Political Affairs, and Z-Magazine, among other publications. He is the author of Let Them Tremble: Biographical Interventions Marking 100 Years of the Communist Party, USA and editor of the essay collection Faith in the Masses: Essays Celebrating 100 years of the Communist Party, USA, both available from International Publishers.
3-3:50 p.m. • Sports and Activism
This panel will cover activism in sports. Topics include, but are not limited to, research in the areas of social justice and advocacy in sport, what has been done systemically at the speakers' universities to address issues of inequality within athletics, and how panelists support the athletes they work with.
Jesse Steinfeldt, Associate Professor, Indiana University
Jessica David, Sport Psychologist, Towson University
Keino Miller, Assistant Professor, Florida State University
Samantha Kurkjian, Sport Psychologist, Illinois State University
Mandela Social Justice Day
9-10:30 a.m. • Jim Crow Museum
The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia uses objects of intolerance to teach tolerance and promote social justice. In fact, it houses over nine thousand racist artifacts that both shaped and reflected attitudes toward African Americans during the Jim Crow era. The museum demonstrates how racist ideas and anti-black images were pervasive within American culture. It also shows how these images and ideas have resurfaced in recent years. The virtual tour is conducted by museum staff and affords "visitors" an opportunity to not only ask questions, but also to examine many of the exhibits and objects on display.
Do note: Many of the artifacts and media pieces within the Jim Crow Museum contain explicit images of violence, nudity, offensive language, and other mature themes.
The 1.5-hour virtual tour begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday, February 18. Visitors may come and go as necessary but must register prior to the tour date.
Participants must individually register for the tour by February 15. Space is limited!
10:30 a.m. - Noon • Activism Fair
The Mandela Committee will host its second annual activism fair bringing local social justice organizations together to share information about their mission and how students can get involved.
We'll be speaking with some local activist groups via Zoom! Join in on the conversation using the Zoom ID 997-8039-7065.
See information and videos about the participating organizations on our Virtual Activism Fair page.
Noon - 1:30 p.m. • Speaker Manisha Sinha
Manisha Sinha is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut and a leading authority on the history of slavery and abolition and the Civil War and Reconstruction. She was born in India and received her Ph.D from Columbia University where her dissertation was nominated for the Bancroft prize. She is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina, which was named one of the ten best books on slavery in Politico in 2015 and recently featured in The New York Times’ 1619 Project. Her multiple award winning second monograph The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition was long listed for the National Book Award for Non Fiction. It was named the book of the week by Times Higher Education to coincide with its UK publication and one of three great History books of 2016 in Bloomberg News. Website.
1:30-3 p.m. • Student Activism Panel
This panel brings together USI student activists Anna Ardelean, Perci Hale, Tyler Henry, and Ben Pfingston to discuss their own experiences with activism.
Don't forget to visit the Virtual Activism Fair to find ways you can get involved, on campus and off campus.
The Mandela Social Justice Day Committee would like to thank the following groups for sponsoring our 2021 events: the College of Liberal Arts, the Romain College of Business, the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education, the College of Nursing and Health Professions, and USI Housing and Residence Life.
Visit the Previous Mandela Social Justice Day Speakers page.
Why a Social Justice Day and Speaker Series?
The annual Nelson Mandela Commemoration is a speaker series that directly addresses social justice issues that affect the local or national community. As USI expands its student population, questions of diversity will come into an even starker relief on campus, and this series aims to address some of those issues, helping to prepare students to live wisely in a diverse, global community.
Committee Members 2020/2021
Co-Chairs: Sakina Hughes (History), Denise Lynn (History)