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Contact(s):Scott Whiteley Carter

Thursday, September 13, 2007


(Little Rock AR - Thursday, September 13, 2007) – Prior to the Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, a series of events will be held to explore various aspects of issues surrounding race, education, and the law.

These plans were announced this morning in MacArthur Park by members of the Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commission. Joining that Commission in sponsoring the activities are Little Rock’s Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission, the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, and the Clinton School of Public Service.

“We gather in MacArthur Park today because WorldFest will take place here and the Legal Symposium will take place at the adjacent Bowen School of Law. But the Commission activities kick off with a Town Hall Forum on education and race,” said Dr. Andre Guerrero, a member of the Central High Commission.

Entitled “Character & Courage: Where Have We Been, Where Are We Now, Where Do We Need to Be” this event will take place on Thursday, September 20 at 7pm. It will be held at the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, located at 6420 Colonel Glenn Road.

Using this theme, six panelists will discuss the state of race and education from their individual perspectives. The panelists are: Angelo Ancheta, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of the Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center at Santa Clara University; Ralph Brodie, Central High Student Body President 1957-1958; Dr. Elizabeth Jacoway, historian and author of Turn Away Thy Son; Brandon Love, Central High Student Body President 2006-2007; Sandra Robbie, Emmy Award winning producer of the documentary Mendez vs. Westminster: For All the Children / Para Todos los Ninos; and Minnijean Brown Trickey, a member of the Little Rock Nine and a nationally-recognized speaker on issues of race and education. State Senator Irma Hunter Brown will moderate the Forum.

Following the presentation by the panelists, the audience will have opportunities for questions. Dr. Guerrero and local Civil Rights activist Annie Abrams will also offer some reflections during the evening. At the conclusion of the program, stations will be set up to allow attendees the opportunity to visit one-on-one with panelists and others whose work has focused on issues of race and education.

“This event is free and open to the public. We encourage everyone to come. We know there are many perspectives,” said Mrs. Abrams. “This is an opportunity for those different voices to be heard and for good, honest discussions to take place.”

Different voices will be heard and good, honest discussions will also take place the next day at a Legal Symposium entitled “Central High—Its History and Legacy: Can True Integration Be Achieved?” This symposium is sponsored by the 50th Anniversary Commission in conjunction with the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law and the Clinton School of Public Service.

“We are grateful to our co-presenters for their leadership in planning this event,” said Commissioner Darrin Williams, a local attorney. “We are bringing to Little Rock some of the top legal minds on issues of race and the law. These speakers will be joining with some outstanding experts who are based here in Arkansas. Without the Bowen School and the Clinton School, this event could not have happened.”

The Legal Symposium will start the day at 9:00am with an overview of the history of the Central High Crisis presented by Dr. Elizabeth Jacoway and Dr. Johanna Miller Lewis, a UALR History professor.

Following that, there will be a session on the development and implementation of the litigation that led to landmark Civil Rights court decisions at the US Supreme Court and in other courts. Professor Tony Freyer of the University of Alabama, Professor Judith Kilpatrick of the University of Arkansas, Judge Wiley A. Branton, Jr., and attorney John W. Walker will speak on this topic. 

After lunch, Professor Charles J. Ogletree of Harvard Law School will give a keynote address. Professor Ogletree is Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. He spoke at the first Clinton School program to be held in the Clinton Presidential Center in 2005.

The next discussion will be on the concept of unitary education. Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert L. Brown, Professor Wendy Parker of Wake Forest University, and attorney Faya Rose Toure will address this issue.

Theodore Shaw, director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund will deliver the closing remarks.

Six hours of Continuing Legal Education credits are available for attorneys attending this symposium. The cost for CLE credit is $50; to make arrangements for this call 501-324-9896. For the general public, there is no admission charge.

The Law School is located on the east side of McMath Avenue. Another 50th Anniversary activity will be taking place on the west side of McMath Avenue in MacArthur Park.

“WorldFest returns for another year and it is bigger and better than ever,” said Mike Madell of the National Park Service and a 50th Anniversary Commissioner. Under the theme is “The World Is Watching Us!” this two day event will take place on Friday and Saturday, the 21st and 22nd of September. Hours of operation will be 9:00am to 9:00pm each day.

WorldFest will feature over 50 booths of activities and information, live music, crafts, demonstrations, a Global Village and food. A highlight on Friday will be the Parade of Nations featuring school children from throughout the state.

WorldFest was created in 1995 by the Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission. It celebrates the different races and cultures that exist here in Little Rock through educational activities, entertainment, and tastes from around the world. In 2006, the festival was named 1st place recipient of the National League of Cities Cultural Diversity Award.

“WorldFest is a great place for families. Each year, we have people of all ages. It is great to see various races, ages, and backgrounds all interacting and having fun and there is no admission charge,” said Carlette Henderson, the executive director of the Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission. “What a better way to spend the day?” 

WorldFest also sponsors two student competitions. There will be a “Celebration of Diversity” creative writing contest for Arkansas students from 5th grade to 8th grade. In addition, there is a poetry contest for Arkansas 9th to 12th graders.

“When the Central High Integration 50th Anniversary Commission started planning activities, we knew we could not do it all,” Madell said. “We are pleased to present these three activities and are grateful for the many sponsors and partners who are helping to make these, and the other events, possible.”


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