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Oklahoma City University Hosts Social Justice Symposium

Oklahoma City University will host a symposium on social justice titled “Justice for All: Systemic Approaches to Social Justice” March 8 and 9. The symposium is open to the public and will be held in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel next to N.W. 23rd Street between Kentucky and Blackwelder avenues. Registration is $75 and includes breakfast, lunch and a banquet March 8 and lunch on March 9. OCU students, faculty and staff may attend free of charge but must register.

“Justice for All” will explore systemic approaches to social justice in local, national and global contexts. Focusing on challenges and opportunities facing students, community leaders and social and cultural organizations, the symposium will explore effective ways for creating community-based programs and partnerships to address social injustice.

The featured speakers are Walter Earl Fluker, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership at Boston University School of Theology and the editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project; Terry Bergdall, CEO of the Institute of Cultural Affairs in Chicago; Seva Gandhi, program development director of the Institute of Cultural Affairs; and Robin Meyers, senior minister at Mayflower Congregational UCC Church and professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University.

Fluker was the founding executive director of the Leadership Center and the Coca-Cola Professor of Leadership Studies at Morehouse College. His prior academic experience also includes professorial and administrative positions at Vanderbilt University, Harvard College, Dillard University and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School. He has served as a visiting professor and scholar at Harvard University, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Columbia Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. His recent publications include two volumes of a multi-volume series titled “The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman” — volume one is “My People Need Me” and volume two is “Christian, Who Calls Me Christian?” He also wrote “Ethical Leadership: The Quest for Character, Civility and Community.” He is completing a manuscript titled “The Ground Has Shifted: Essays on Spirituality, Ethics and Leadership from African American Moral Traditions.”

Bergdall earned his PhD in International Development at the University of Wales for research on participatory evaluation. He became a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University in 2005. He has worked in community organization and asset management with the ecumenical Institute, CARE, and Habitat for Humanity in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Philippines.

Meyers is the author of five books — a textbook on preaching titled “With Ears to Hear: Preaching as Self-Persuasion”; “Morning Sun on a White Piano: Simple Pleasures and the Sacramental Life,” which was endorsed by journalist Bill Moyers; “The Virtue in the Vice: Finding Seven Lively Virtues in the Seven Deadly Sins,” endorsed by Desmond Tutu; and “Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister’s Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, and Your Future.” His latest book is titled “Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus.”

The symposium is co-sponsored by the Oikos Scholars Program and the Social & Ecological Responsibility Initiative at OCU, VOICE Oklahoma City and the Institute of Cultural Affairs in the USA.

For more information or to register, contact professor Joe Meinhart at jmeinhart@okcu.edu or (405) 208-5704.

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