UNA invites activist Shaun King to campus

UNA housing and residence life and the Sociology Department will sponsor a civil rights discussion by Shaun King on Sept. 6 in Norton Auditorium.

King is an activist journalist and humanitarian. He will speak on Civil Rights Today, The New Civil Rights Movement.

King will focus on the new civil rights movement and engage students in discussions around historical and contemporary patterns of inequality, social responsibility and community engagement.

“The hope is that students after the event will be inspired to develop thoughtful and intentional solutions to some of the most pressing social problems today,” said Andrea Hunt, assistant professor of sociology.

The Sociology Department and UNA housing and residence life identified and invited King because of his ability to speak from a journalistic, historical and humanitarian perspective.

King’s website describes him as “a magnetic element of the Black Lives Matter movement” and “a leaders dedicated to explaining how racism is not dead and forgotten, but merely a mutating virus, and one that manifests in different forms in every age.”

He has spoken in 35 states and over 100 college campuses, in jails and in corporate boardrooms.

“Each year we try to identify a speaker or activity that can enhance the understanding of societal challenges and allow students to explore how various framed perspectives might impact their future careers,” said Jennifer A. Sutton, director of housing and residence life.”

King is passionate about empowering individuals to act within their scope for historically disadvantaged groups and advocates for justice through a multitude of means including his career, fundraising and political campaigns.

“We are very excited to host Shaun King at UNA and believe this particular events will allow students to learn about modern-day civil rights initiatives from a historical, journalistic, and humanitarian perspective,” said Sutton.

King is also a writer for the The Intercept, an online news publication dedicated to what it describes as “adversarial journalism” and the writer-in-residence at Harvard Law Schools’ Fair Punishment Project.

“Ideally, faculty, staff and students engage in conversations that allow them to explore and learn about area of diversity, social responsibility and how to use their position to create positive and impactful change,” Sutton said.

Faculty in the department of sociology and family studies work with many academic departments and units across campus.

“As housing and residence life transition to an outcome-based residential curriculum, we have been in conversations about living-learning models and how to best achieve the goals and outcomes of those models,” said Hunt.

Hunt added that the partnership co-sponsoring the Shaun King event is an extension of that work along with recommendations made by the Diversity Study Research Committee.

This event will begin at 7 p.m. and is free to campus and the local community.