Hooks Institute Will Hold 2015 Join Hands Gala Empowering African-American Men

Contact: Daphene McFerren

April 2, 2015 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change will hold its 2015 Join Hands for Change Annual Gala: Empowering, Supporting, Celebrating African-American Men on April 9. The event will be held at The Columns, One Commerce Square, 125 Monroe St. A reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the program following from 7 to 11 p.m.

A cash bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be available throughout the evening. Tickets are $100 each and may be purchased online through Eventbrite at www.memphis.edu/benhooks.

The Hooks Institute will recognize three African-American men who were nominated by community organizations and selected by the Hooks Institute for their outstanding contributions: Charles Harris, University of Memphis student-athlete; Derwin Sisnett, co-founder and CEO of Gestalt Community Schools; and Pastor Linwood Dillard Jr. of Citadel of Deliverance Temple of God in Christ.

Like everyone, African-American men are entitled to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and the protection of their people and government. The Hooks Institute supports creating a community, a state and a nation that encourages prosperity among African-American men. At the gala, guests will hear the hopes, joys and challenges of African-American men and celebrate those being honored. Proceeds from the gala will be used to help fund Hooks Institute programs, including a new initiative to increase the graduation rate of African-American males attending the U of M.

This event is part of the Critical Conversations Series at the University of Memphis, which is focused on human and civil rights, diversity and inclusion.

In 1996, University of Memphis officials received approval from the Tennessee Board of Regents to create the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change in the College of Arts & Sciences. The mission of the Institute is teaching, studying and promoting civil rights and social change. The Hooks Institute archives include Hooks' personal papers, which are housed in the Mississippi Valley Collection in the University's McWherter Library.