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Know Justice. Know Peace.

Two-Day Collaboration between Three Organizations Addresses Civil and Human Rights

(l-r) Shaka Senghor, Gabriela Benitez, Josh Spickler, Mahal Burr, Valerie Kaur

MEMPHIS — In a first-ever collaboration, the Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium at Christian Brothers University (CBU), the Gandhi King Conference, and the National Civil Rights Museum have collaborated to organize two days of compassion discussion that will welcome dynamic speakers and workshop leaders from the Mid-South and across the country to address civil and human rights issues facing our nation today.

The twelfth annual Vanderhaar Symposium kicks things off when it welcomes author, activist, and speaker Shaka Senghor to CBU’s campus at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 31, 2017. Senghor is a leading voice in criminal justice reform and the president and co-founder of #BeyondPrisons, an initiative designed to uplift the voices and experiences of those impacted by the criminal justice system. His memoir, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison, was released in March 2016 and debuted on The New York Times Best Seller List as well as The Washington Post Best Seller List. An unforgettable tale of forgiveness and second chances, Writing My Wrongs reminds readers that our worst deeds don’t define who we are or what we can contribute to the world.

Additionally, the Symposium honors one Mid-South area college student each year with the Gerard A. Vanderhaar Student Peace Award, presented to the student who best exemplifies the spirit and practice of active nonviolence consistent with Dr. Vanderhaar’s life and work. This year’s recipient is Justin Davis, a senior at Rhodes College and a community organizer for the Memphis Bus Riders Union (MBRU), a grassroots organization that advocates for social and economic justice in the city's public transit system.

The Vanderhaar Symposium is free and open to the public. More information can be found at

Christian Brothers University welcomes the 2017 Gandhi-King Conference to campus on Saturday, April 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Launched by Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma K. Gandhi in 2004, the conference brings together academics, activists, and community leaders to address racial, economic, environmental, and gender equality as they relate to historical and contemporary movements. This year the conference welcomes New York Times bestselling author, Shaka Senghor; Gabriela Benitez, Organizer for the Detention Watch Network in Chicago; Josh Spickler, Executive Director of JUST CITY; and Mahal Burr, Bridge Builders Community Action Coordinator for BRIDGES USA. The conference is free and registration is required at

As part of its Catalyst For Change Speaker Series, the National Civil Rights Museum hosts Valerie Kaur, an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, activist, author, entrepreneur, and Sikh thought leader on April 1 at 6 p.m. Kaur is a graduate of Stanford University, Harvard Divinity School, and Yale Law School, and has been a regular television commentator on MSNBC and opinion contributor to CNN, NPR, PBS, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Hill and The New York Times. Her talk, titled “Revolutionary Love,” is free and open to the public. Registration is required at

Follow the Rosa Deal School of Arts at Christian Brothers University on Facebook for updates and announcements.

For more information, contact:
Sean MacInnes
(901) 321-3335

Posted by Cory Dugan at 4:25 PM