2012-2013 Diversity Lecture Series Speakers
The Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series is
celebrating its 25th Anniversary this season. The series is a
collaborative diversity initiative between Butler University and
the Office of the Mayor, with generous support from the Eli Lilly
and Company Foundation, Citizens Energy Group, Indianapolis Power
& Light Co., Old National Bank, Kroger Co., Radio One, and The
Butler University invites the community to join us as we
continue Butler's legacy of providing an avenue to promote ethnic
diversity and multicultural awareness through increased interaction
with high profile multicultural scholars, dignitaries and
personalities on our campus.
Monday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.
Lt. Dan Choi
Truth or Consequences
Clowes Memorial Hall
19, 2009, Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq veteran
fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddow
Show. Because of three words - "I am gay" - his life changed
forever. Despite his extreme value as an Arabic speaker, able to
communicate quickly and clearly with the Iraqi people, one month
after his announcement Choi was notified that the Army had begun
discharge proceedings against him. He was one of only eight
soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.
The West Point Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and
honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or
hiding behind comfort. Following the Honor Code isn't always easy,
but honor and integrity are 24-hour values. Choi served for a
decade under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a policy that forces American
soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation and
forces others to tolerate deception and lying. These values are
completely opposed to what he learned at West Point.
Choi continues to advocate for full lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender civil rights and veteran's health. He has served as
grand marshal of the San Francisco, N.Y. City, Miami and Wichita
LGBT Pride Parades, appeared frequently on national and
international news programs, and serves on the boards of Marriage
Equality USA and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He is a
graduate of the U.S. Army Scout Leaders Course, Air Assault School,
Parachutist School, and is currently pursuing graduate studies at
Monday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.
The Rev. Allan Boesak
The Righteousness of Our Strength: Reconciliation, Justice
and the Historic Obligation of the Oppressed
Atherton Union Reilly Room
Allan Aubrey Boesak was
born in Kakamas, Northern Cape, in 1946, the second youngest of
eight children. He grew up and completed high school in Somerset
West, studied at the University of Western Cape and received his
Ph.D. in Theology from the Protestant Theological University in
Kampen, the Netherlands, in 1976.
Boesak first became known as a liberation theologian with the
publication of his doctoral dissertation, "Farewell to Innocence."
He has served the church and the ecumenical movement in various
senior capacities since 1978, including as President of the World
Alliance of Reformed Churches, the first third world person and
youngest ever to be elected into that position.
Although retired from active party politics, Boesak is still
deeply and passionately involved in human rights, gender and sexual
justice issues across the world. He is currently Theologian in
Residence at the International Institute for the Study of Race,
Reconciliation and Social Justice, Extraordinary Professor of
Public Theology at Stellenbosch University and Honorary Professor
of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Boesak will serve as a visiting professor and theologian at
Butler University during the fall semester of the 2012-2013
Thursday, Jan. 24, 201, 7:30 p.m.
Common - "The King of Conscious Hip-Hop"
"Lessons of Life: One Day It'll All Make Sense"
Clowes Memorial Hall
Common, hailed as one of hip-hop's most poetic and respected
lyricists, delivers messages of self-respect, love, and activism in
music and speeches that inspire all audiences. He rose to
prominence in hip-hop, having recorded over seven albums: Can I
Borrow a Dollar?, Resurrection, One Day It'll All
Make Sense, Like Water For Chocolate, Electric
Circus, BE, and Finding Forever. To produce
both BE and Finding Forever, Common joined forces
with fellow Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West. This
dynamic partnership resulted in four Grammy Award nominations in
addition to two MTV Video Music Awards nominations, including one
for Best Hip Hop Video.
In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite
Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys, and Ryan Reynolds in
Smokin' Aces for Universal Pictures. He is currently
starring in the new AMC TV series, Hell on Wheels, which
debuted in November, 2011.
In 2007 he launched the Common Ground Foundation, dedicated to
empowering urban youth to realize their full potential. In 2009,
Common was able to motivate and empower collegiate minds across the
country, speaking at such prestigious institutions as California
University of Pennsylvania, University of Memphis, Wright State
University, University of Rochester, and KIPP Charter Schools.
Common also offers a younger generation a better understanding
of self-respect and love, utilizing the cultural relevance of
hip-hop, in the children's books he has written. The first one,
entitled The MIRROR and ME, teaches lessons of life, the human
spirit, and human nature. His follow-up book,I Like You But I Love
Me, was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and his third
book,M.E. (Mixed Emotions), was released in 2008. His latest
book,Someday It'll All Make Sense, a memoir about life and growing
up, was released in September 2011.
Tuesday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. CANCELED
"An Evening with Maya Angelou, Global Renaissance Woman"
Clowes Memorial Hall
Free of charge; tickets are required.
Limit of two tickets per person; tickets available at Clowes
Memorial Hall Box Office beginning Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.
Maya Angelou is one of the
most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a
global renaissance woman, Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist,
novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian,
filmmaker, and civil rights activist.
Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Mo., Angelou was raised in
St. Louis and Stamps, Ark. In Stamps, Angelou experienced the
brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the
unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family,
community, and culture.
As a teenager, Angelou's love for the arts won her a scholarship
to study dance and drama at San Francisco's Labor School. At 14,
she dropped out to become San Francisco's first African-American
female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving
birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young
single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and
cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry
would soon take center stage.
In 1954 and 1955, Angelou toured Europe with a production of the
opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha
Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in
1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she
moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted
in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The
Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for
In 1960, Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt, where she served as
editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer.
The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the
University of Ghana's School of Music and Drama, worked as feature
editor for The African Review, and wrote for The
While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to
America to help him build his new Organization of African-American
Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was
assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X's
assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Angelou to serve as
northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership
With the guidance of her friend, the novelist, James Baldwin,
she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the
Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged
Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous
popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and
fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.
Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972
film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an
African-American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a
She continues to appear on television and in films including the
landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots" (1977) and
John Singleton's "Poetic Justice" (1993). In 1996, she directed her
first feature film, "Down in the Delta." In 2008, she composed
poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary "The Black
Candle," directed by M.K. Asante.
Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded
the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008,
and has received three Grammy awards. President Clinton requested
that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993.
Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds
Professor of American Studies at
Wake Forest University.