"Celebrating Civil Rights – Past and Present" is theme of campus-wide observance

September 5, 2013

Bradley University has adopted a university theme for the 2013-14 school year "Celebrating Civil Rights – Past and Present," a year-long campus-wide theme, with collaborations between and among all colleges and departments on campus.  

The theme was initiated by the 50th anniversary of passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and the key role that U. S. Minority Leader Everett Dirksen played in getting 27 of 33 Republicans to support the bill.  

This is the first time the university has adopted a year-long campus-wide theme and Bradley President Joanne Glasser says she is proud that the University will focus on civil rights. 

“For America, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was transformative.  It paved the way for better education, better job opportunities and better quality of life for millions of people and generations to come,” Glasser said.   

From its earliest days, Bradley University has maintained an open admission policy providing a means to gain an exemplary education to all men and women regardless of age, race ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic level or sexual orientation.  President Glasser sees this celebration as an extension of that policy.  “I see this as the beginning of an ongoing discussion on inclusion and understanding for students, faculty, staff and society.”

Celebration co-chair Dr. Stacey Robertson, Interim Dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is passionate about the importance of understanding our history.  “Having and understanding a working knowledge of where we have been and the issues we as a society have been through, will help us to deal with situations that are happening in the present day.  The lessons learned during this time in our history can indeed play a pivotal role in our future.”

Brad McMillan, Executive Director of the Institute for Principled Leadership in Public Service at Bradley,  co-chairs the committee and says it’s important to take note of the important role Central Illinois leaders played in advancing civil rights in the United States.  “Abraham Lincoln gave his first speeches against the expansion of slavery in central Illinois.  Betty Friedan, from Peoria, wrote The Feminine Mystique, which is often credited with sparking the second wave of women’s rights in America.  Everett Dirksen was from Pekin and he had a significant role in getting this legislation passed.  Unfortunately, this generation and many others are simply not aware of the important roles that central Illinoisans had.”

The first event of the year-long celebration will be the showing of To Kill a Mockingbird in Neumiller Lecture Hall located in Bradley Hall on September 25 at 6 p.m. There will be an introduction by President Glasser and commentary by Cliff Scott-Rudnick and Don Jackson, Peoria NAACP President. The screening and discussion is a free event and open to the public, but space is limited so reservations are required.  Visit http://www.bradley.edu/academic/continue/public/mockingbird/index.dot to reserve your seat. 

Other events throughout the year will include visiting speakers including Terrence James Roberts (one of the Little Rock 9) and U.S. Representative John Lewis; re-enactments and performances; poetry contests; campus wide book reads; showing of movies 42 and Lincoln; plus much more.

For more information on "Celebrating Civil Rights – Past and Present" at Bradley please visithttp://www.bradley.edu/civilrights.  To arrange interviews, call the Bradley University Office of Public Relations at 309 677-3260 or 309 677-2242.