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Activist, Author, and Speaker Shaka Senghor Selected as Speaker for Vanderhaar Symposium on March 31

MEMPHIS—Christian Brothers University (CBU) will welcome author, activist, and speaker Shaka Senghor to campus for the twelfth annual Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium 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. Senghor’s story has inspired thousands and serves as a powerful testament to the power of hope, compassion, and unconditional love.

Oprah Winfrey has referred to her interview with Senghor for SuperSoul Sunday as “one of the best I’ve ever had—not just in my career, but in my life…. His story touched my soul.” Senghor’s TED Talk, which he delivered at TED’s 30th Anniversary Conference, received a standing ovation and has been viewed more than 1.3 million times; TED later featured his talk in its “Year in Ideas” roundup, a collection of the most powerful TED Talks of 2014.

Senghor has been a guest on CNN, CBS This Morning, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Good Day New York, NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, and C-SPAN’s After Words. He has also been a guest on numerous radio programs, including All Things Considered, The Lenny Lopate Show, The Maggie Linton Show, and Power 105.1 with Angie Martinez.

Shaka Senghor is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2016 Ford Man of Courage Award, the 2016 NAACP Great Expectations Award, the 2015 Manchester University Innovator of the Year Award, and the 2012 Black Male Engagement (BMe) Leadership Award. He was recently recognized by OWN as a “Soul Igniter” in the inaugural class of the SuperSoul 100, a dynamic group of trailblazers whose vision and life’s work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world around them and encouraging others to do the same. Senghor was also a 2014 TED Prize finalist for The Atonement Project, is a former MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, and a current Fellow in the inaugural class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. He has taught at the University of Michigan and shares his story of redemption around the world.

This year’s Vanderhaar Symposium kicks off two days of peaceful fellowship under the banner “Know Justice. Know Peace.” in collaboration with the Gandhi-King Conference, which will be held at CBU on April 1, and the National Civil Rights Museum, which will host keynote speaker, Valerie Kaur, an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, activist, author, entrepreneur, and Sikh thought leader, on the evening of April 1. This program promises to be an eventful two days of learning, camaraderie, fellowship, and community building. Follow the CBU School of Arts on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with announcements. The Vanderhaar Symposium is free and open to the public. Registration for the Gandhi-King Conference and for Valerie Kaur will be announced soon. Click on the link below to see more details about the event:

2017 Vanderhaar Symposium with Shaka Senghor

For more information on this Speaker please visit

About the Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium:

For 28 years, Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar was a professor of religion at Christian Brothers University and spent the majority of his life promoting active nonviolence, peace, and interfaith dialogue. Since 2005, CBU has hosted the annual Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar Symposium in honor of Vanderhaar’s work. The Symposium features a noted speaker who addresses a social and moral issue related to peace and justice and/or Catholic social teaching. Open to the public, this evening event also includes the presentation of the Dr. Gerard A. Vanderhaar Student Peace Award to a Mid-South university student who has been involved in peace and justice work in our community.

Learn more about the symposium and Dr. Vanderhaar’s legacy at the Gerard A. Vanderhaar webpage.

Posted by Joshua Colfer at 11:01 AM