The University of Southern Mississippi Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties has organized a weeklong series of events for Human Rights Week on its Hattiesburg campus, beginning today and culminating Friday evening at 7 p.m. with a public event featuring noted civil rights activist Bettie Dahmer.
Dahmer will speak at the Garden Club on Hutchinson Avenue, located two blocks off of Hardy Street near Hattiesburg High School. The focus of her presentation will be on civil rights, past and present. Dahmer’s father, Vernon Dahmer, died of burns after the family home in Hattiesburg was firebombed by suspected members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1966.
She is a Southern Miss alumna and a life member of the NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Student-organized human rights events during the week include:
Monday, Nov. 28:
* Amnesty International Presents a religious tolerance forum featuring a panel of community and religious leaders from various backgrounds within Hattiesburg who will speak on the issue of religious tolerance and its value in our society, 7:30 p.m., Gonzales Auditorium, Liberal Arts Building.
Tuesday, Nov. 29:
*Students for Human Rights will present a program on child labor and slavery, featuring the film “Conspiracy of Hope” and special guest speaker Mark Langham, 5:30 p.m. in the International Center, room 101.
*The Arab American Student Association presents “Revolution in the Arab World: A Look Back” which will include a review of the revolutions that swept across the Middle East in the last year and discussion on the current implications and conditions in those areas as well as the rest of the world, 7:30 p.m., Gonzales Auditorium, Liberal Arts Building.
Wednesday, Nov. 30:
*The Golden Eagle Intertribal Society, in honor of Native American History Month, will march across campus at noon. There will be a forum focusing on current issues within Native American communities, as well as a discussion on human rights abuses faced by Native Americans.
Thursday, Dec. 1:
*The Secular Student Alliance presents “Religion and Politics,” a discussion of multiple perspectives on secular and non-secular politics that will explore the different ways in which religion and politics affect each other, 5:30 p.m. in Gonzales Auditorium, located on the first floor of the Liberal Arts Building.
*Vox presents a Sexual Health Forum, a discussion on sexual health and sociological aspects of reproductive rights and health in society is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, room 202.
Friday, Dec. 2:
* The Student Association of Social Workers sets up a mock jail: “Jailed for Justice," an interactive event that explores the implications of anti-immigration laws as being potentially arbitrary and racially prejudiced, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. outside of the Liberal Arts Building.
*Celebration of the efforts of students and others on issues of human rights, open to the public; at the Garden Club on Hutchinson Avenue, located off of Hardy Street near Hattiesburg High School starting at 6 p.m. Civil rights activist Bettie Dahmer will speak at 7 p.m.
The Southern Miss Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties, which started in 2004, sponsors a human rights minor and student activities related to human rights. The current board of directors is comprised of representatives of human rights organizations on campus. The Center’s board of advisors is composed of faculty and community members. Among past projects of the Center was helping to win court clearance of false criminal charges against Clyde Kennard, framed by police after seeking admission to Southern Miss during segregation. The Center also sponsored two national human rights conferences and invited speakers, including two pilots of the famed Tuskegee squadron. For more information, online visit www.usm.edu/humanrights.