University of Southern Indiana

Mandela Social Justice Day

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.


Save the Date

"Democracy and Civil Engagement"
Keynote address by speaker Dr. Angela Davis
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 6 p.m. in Carter Hall

Iconic activist, author, and professor Angela Davis has made it her mission to share her life story and challenge her audiences to join the struggle for racial, economic, and gender justice.

Angela’s outspoken ways made her a focal point of criticism. Her radical ties led then-California Governor Ronald Reagan in 1969 to try to bar her from teaching at any California university. The attempt failed; she is now professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in its History of Consciousness Department.

Angela has campaigned for social justice – particularly with what she calls the “prison industrial complex” that has grown since the 80s with the emergence of the private-prison industry. She is one of the founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization fighting for changes in the prison system. Her books include Are Prisons Obsolete and Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire.

Angela writes and frequently speaks as part of her mission to build engaged communities that seek to reform the U.S. prison system. She urges her audience to “hone their critical skills, develop them and implement them" while fighting for racial, economic and gender justice.

See the film Free Angela and All Political Prisoners on January 30, as a part of the Africana Studies Film Festival.

Prior to the discussion on February 5, join us for a Social Justice Activism Fair in the concourse leading to Carter Hall.

Schedule for February 5, 2020

  • 2 – 5:30 p.m.:  Social Justice Activism Fair in the Carter Hall Concourse
  • 6 – 7:30 p.m.:  Keynote Address by Dr. Angela Davis in Carter Hall
  • 7:30 –  9 p.m.:  Community Reception in Traditions Lounge, drinks and light hors d’oeuvres will be served

Sponsored by the USI's College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Housing and Residence Life, Pott College of Science, Engineering and Education, Gender Studies, Multicultural Center, Center for Social Justice, USI Foundation, Office of the Provost


Mandela Social Justice Commemoration Day 2019

Keynote Speaker: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
USI Performance Center
6 p.m., February 26, 2019

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author and assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, is a widely sought after public speaker and writer. In 2016, she was named one of the 100 most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. She has been appointed as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians for 2018-19, and the Charles H. McIlwain University Preceptor at Princeton University for 2018-21. Her writing has been published in the New York Times; the Los Angeles Times; Boston Review; Paris Review; Guardian; The Nation; Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society; Jacobin and beyond.

This event is free and open to the public. Please contact Sakina Hughes at shughes1@usi.edu if you have any questions.


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 2019/2020

Co-Chairs: Sakina Hughes (History), Denise Lynn (History)

Members:  Aimee Adam (Psychology), Timberly Baker (Teacher Education), Stephanie Cunningham (Counseling Center), Ashley Evearitt (Counseling Center)Adrian Gentle (Mathematics), Pam Hopson (Multicultural Center), Joy Howard (Teacher Education), Veronica Huggins (Social Work), Karen Huseman (Housing and Residence Life), Joseph Uduehi (Art and Design), Lovey Marshall (Housing and Residence Life)

Previous Speakers

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