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Equity Speaker Series

The Center for Academic Equity strives to enhance the Tulane educational experience by attracting and presenting distinguished speakers to the University. Each year CAE partners with offices and departments across the campus to engage students in discussions on pressing issues of social equity and justice. This annual multi-day series takes place each spring semester.  Many of our speakers are nationally and locally known activists, politicians, authors, professors, and community and organizational leaders. This program seeks to promote and encourage thoughtful reflection and dialogue on contemporary issues that many of our underrepresented students face daily on our campus.  We strive to strengthen the intellectual environment by creating awareness, calling for action & change, and encouraging discussion of current events and topics of a controversial nature.

Learn more about our previous entries in the Equity Speaker Series below.

Change the Subject

Change the Subject Poster

Friday, March 27, 2020

Freeman Auditorium

As a result of university measures in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Spring 2020, the Center for Academic Equity and Tulane University Libraries cancelled the Spring 2020 Equity Speaker Series entry, Change the Subject.

Change the Subject tells the story of a group of students at Dartmouth College, who, from their first days at Dartmouth, were committed to advancing and promoting the rights and dignity of undocumented peoples. In partnership with staff at Dartmouth College, these students - now alumni - produced a film to capture their singular effort at confronting an instance of anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog. Their advocacy took them all the way from Baker-Berry Library to the halls of Congress, showing how an instance of campus activism entered the national spotlight, and how a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

A question and answer session with Eduardo Najera and Jill Baron will follow the screening.

A film by Jill Baron, Sawyer Broadley, Melissa Padilla, and Óscar Cornjeo Cásares. 

Screening made possible by the Tulane University Libraries, the Center for Academic Equity’s Equity Speaker Series, and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

How Women Advance Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity within the Academy

Breaking the Ivy Ceiling Poster

Friday, November 1, 2019

Stone Auditorium

Breaking the Ivy Ceiling: The Fall 2019 Equity Speakers Series event explores how women’s labor plays a central role in making academia a more inclusive space. It features a conversation with Dr. Rebeccca Mark, Director of the Center for Academic Equity in Newcomb-Tulane College, Chair of Tulane’s English Department, and Associate Dean in Newcomb Tulane College and Carolyn Barber-Pierre, the Assistant Vice President for Multicultural Life and head of the Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life. The conversation will take up themes of identity as a resource for success, student activism, and chart the punctuated equilibrium of growth towards inclusivity with the academy. This entry in the Equity Speaker Series will be moderated by Dr. Michael Cunningham.

"But there remain large countries in your eyes": Representing Black Women and Selfhood in Art

Countries in Your Eyes Poster

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Stone Auditorium

Inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, “TO BLACK WOMEN,” this event featured major artists, Lavett Ballard and April Bey, in conversation about the way that they portray black women in their work as black female artists. The conversation covered themes including self-representation, deciding the value in one's own art, and the indivisibility between politics, equity, and art. The inaugural discussion was followed by a question and answer session.

Co-Sponsored by Newcomb College Institute

April Bey Photo

April Bey grew up in the Caribbean (Nassau, Bahamas) and now resides and works in Los Angeles, CA as a contemporary visual artist and art educator. Bey’s interdisciplinary artwork is an introspective and social critique of American and Bahamian culture, contemporary pop-culture feminism, generational theory, social media, AfroFuturism and constructs of race.  
She received her BFA in drawing in 2009 from Ball State University and her MFA in painting in 2014 at California State University, Northridge in LA. Bey is in the permanent collection of The California African American Museum, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and The Current. Bey has exhibited internationally in biennials NE7, NE8 and NE9 in The Bahamas and has also exhibited internationally in Italy, Spain and Ghana. April has launched 3 solo exhibitions: Picky Head at Liquid Courage Gallery in Nassau, Bahamas, COMPLY at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown, Los Angeles and most recently MADE IN SPACE at Band of Vices Gallery in West Adams, Los Angeles. April travels extensively to collect data for her work having traveled to Canada, Iceland, London, Bali, Dubai, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana. Bey is both a practicing contemporary artist and art educator having taught a controversial course at Art Center College of Design called Pretty Hurts analyzing process-based art and Beyoncé hashtag faux feminism.

Lavett Ballard PhotoLavett Ballard is an Artist, Art historian, Curator, and Author. She holds a dual Bachelor’s in Studio Art and Art History with a minor in Museum Studies from Rutgers University. She also has an MFA in Studio Arts from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Her work has been included in notable collections and exhibited in museums, galleries, and public and private institutions nationwide. Ballard has been nominated for a Pew Arts & Heritage funded residency, in alliance with the African American Museum of Philadelphia. Ballard is listed among the “Top 10 Emerging Black Female Artists” in Black Art in America.  She also is a regional finalist for both New York & Philadelphia for the Bombay Artisan Emerging Artist competition. Her Art has been included in literary, film, and theater productions. Lavett’s interest lies in themes of History, Colorism, Afro-futurism & feminine beauty and her art translates these into visual narratives of people of African descent. Ballard’s work is a diverse collection of people of African descent in a historical context. She uses formal elements of paint, charcoal, oil pastel, and collage, and combines them with reclaimed items. Ballard creates in the Philadelphia, PA area.

Border Li(n)es: Excluding, Extracting, and Expelling Immigrants

Border Li(n)es Poster

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Freeman Auditorium

The Fall 2018 Equity Speaker Panel focused on immigration on our Southern border and featured specialists whose experiences vary from grassroots to professorial work. Following a summer of turbulent immigration relations in the United States, panelists included: Josiah Heyman, Director of the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, Ronald Martinez, New Orleans immigrant activist and spokesperson for the Congress of Day Laborers, Hiroko Kusuda, Clinical Professor and Director of Immigration Law at the Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at Loyola, and Laila Hlass, Clinical Professor of Law at Tulane Law School and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. These four distinguished speakers shared the stage of Freeman Auditorium to discuss the drastic variation in immigrant relations across national, regional, and local spaces and ways that members of American society may engage in or change the now toxic and polarized political climate. The inaugural discussion was followed by a question and answer session.

Josiah Heyman PhotoJosiah Heyman is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Inter-American and Border Studies.  He is the author or editor of four books and over 120 articles and chapters, concentrating on U.S. border policies, officers, power relations, and human rights.  His latest co-edited book is The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region: Cultural Dynamics and Historical Interactions (University of Arizona Press, 2017).  Working closely with national and border community organizations, he recently published “Why Caution is Needed Before Hiring Additional Border Patrol Agents and ICE Officers” and “Blockading Asylum Seekers at Ports of Entry at the US-Mexico Border Puts Them at Increased Risk of Exploitation, Violence, and Death,” and previously addressed alternative border policies and analysis of data on U.S. officer verbal and physical abuses.

Laila Hlass PhotoProfessor Laila L. Hlass, of Tulane University School of law, focuses her teaching and scholarship on the law, policy and practices that affect access to justice within the immigration law regime for particularly vulnerable communities including children, detainees, asylum-seekers, and survivors of violence, as well as emerging pedagogy and practices in experiential learning.  She regularly speaks and appears in the news regarding migration, refugees and immigrant children and has written op-eds for Slate, the Boston Globe and Times-Picayune. She is the Board-Secretary of the ACLU of Louisiana and board member of the Clinical Legal Education Association. 

Hirojo Kusuda PhotoHiroko Kusuda is a Clinical Professor and Director of Immigration Law at the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice. Prior to joining Loyola, Professor Kusuda was Detention Attorney at Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a subsidiary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. During her tenure at CLINIC, she represented hundreds of detained immigrants before the Oakdale Immigration Court and conducted the Know Your Rights immigration program at Louisiana detention centers. Professor Kusuda is co-founder of the Louisiana Immigrant Representation Working Group (LIRWG) where she serves as the chair of the Special Immigrant Juvenile Sub-Group of LIRW. 

Ronald Martinez-Rivera is a lifelong activist and member-organizer in the Congress of Day Laborers, an immigrant rights organization that formed following hurricane Katrina to fight wage theft, racial profiling, and other injustices and continues to fight criminalization and family separation at the hands of ICE. Mr. Martinez-Rivera is actively leading a campaign in Kenner to to compel Kenner Chief of Police Michael Glaser to end arrests for misdemeanor charges. Mr. Martinez Rivera also led an game-changing campaign in 2013 to stop an Obama era pilot program, the Criminal Alien Removal Initiative (CARI), a group of raids that were later deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court due to their methodology of profiling, stopping, and illegally searching and fingerprinting latinx community members on their way to work, bible study, grocery stores, in the street or near their homes.  A survivor of multiple attempts on his life in his country of origin, Honduras, Mr. Martinez Rivera continues to fight for justice at home from abroad. He has actively participated in fighting against the Trump administration-backed coup that ousted rightly elected Salvador Nasralla and held business and narc-backed right wing leader Juan Orlando Hernandez.