Hooks Institute Will Host Open House and Panel Discussion Oct. 5

September 26, 2017 - The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis will lead a community conversation about defending diversity, social justice and human rights in today's America at its annual open house on Oct. 5. At the event, the Hooks Institute will release the 2017 Hooks Institute Policy Papers Bending the Arc Toward Justice: Including the Excluded. The open house will be held in the University Center Bluff Room (304). A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by a panel discussion led by the authors of the Policy Papers.

The event is free and open to the public. Parking will be available in the Zach Curlin Street garage.

The 2017 Hooks Institute Policy Papers use national conversations about critical civil and human rights issues as a starting point to discuss, and propose solutions to, contemporary issues of race, class, public policy and social justice. "Immigrants in Small Cities: Opportunities and Challenges" by Michael R. Duke (UofM Department of Anthropology) looks at the challenges and opportunities of immigrants from diverse countries who have settled in the small city of Springdale, Ark. "Welfare Dependency and Extractive Economies: Lessons Learned from Pine Ridge" by Peter A. Kindle (Department of Social Work, University of South Dakota) examines how intergenerational poverty and reliance on welfare by the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota is rooted in historical discrimination and bad government policies.

"Prioritizing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Lives in the Era of Resistance and Prejudicial Rhetoric" by Idia B. Thurston (UofM Department of Psychology) examines both the legal, social and policy advancements made by the LGBT community, the aggressive challenges underway to undermine these gains, and proposes initiatives to sustain and support this community. Finally, "Memphis and Islam: Integrating Muslims and Islam into the Community Fabric" by Nabil A. Bayakly (UofM Department of World Language and Literature) provides an in-depth overview of Islam, which embraces peace and love of one's neighbor. He explores how Islam has been distorted both by terrorist acts and by a lack of understanding in many communities about Islam and Muslims.

About the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change
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, housed in the Mississippi Valley Collection in the University's McWherter Library, include Hooks' personal papers. To learn more about the Hooks Institute, visit memphis.edu/benhooks.

Contact: Nathaniel C. Ball