Constitution Day panel to discuss racial justice issues

September 14, 2020


Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and David McAtee—three of the many Black people killed by police in the United States this year. Social and political mobilization related to these killings, and to racial injustice more broadly, has grown in many cities, including Louisville. But how do we come to a critical understanding of this moment, and what is the right response?

On Thursday, Sept. 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Bellarmine University will present a virtual panel discussion featuring local activists and academics who have devoted themselves to answering these questions. The Microsoft Teams event is open to the public.

“Activating for Change: Racial Injustice and the Constitution” serves as Bellarmine's 2020 Constitution Day event. Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Since 2005, the U.S. government has required all educational institutions that receive federal funds observe Constitution Day with educational programs.

This year’s event, presented by Bellarmine’s Departments of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies, along with the African and African American Diaspora Studies Program and the Student Activities Center, focuses on our constitutionally protected rights to push for social change—by protesting, promoting a free press and voting, for example.

Panelists include:
  • Kentucky Rep. Charles Booker (D-43rd)
  • Chanelle Helm, Black Lives Matter Louisville
  • Z! Haukeness, LSURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) 
  • Jason Downey, 502 Livestreamer
  • Khalilah V. Collins, activist & non-profit director  
  • Representative(s) from ACLU-KY
“The Student Activities Center is really looking forward to the opportunity to partner with faculty for this discussion on racial justice,” said Madison Martin, the center’s coordinator for Leadership Development and a Bellarmine alumna.

“As racial justice is in the forefront of our minds and we prepare for the upcoming election, this year’s Constitution Day event is a great opportunity to engage in important and relevant conversations with our students about the constitutional rights that allow them to have a voice in upholding justice. This event is going to provide students with a touch point to many local organizations that are working towards racial justice, which could hopefully lead to our students’ getting involved in these efforts in our community.”  

Expanding and diversifying enrollment and strengthening the university’s commitment to equity and inclusion are two of the pillars of Bellarmine’s strategic plan, “Tradition and Transformation.” Of the 573 incoming first-year students for 2020-21, 22 percent are students of color, the largest percentage in university history.

Thursday’s panel discussion will be moderated by Bellarmine’s Dr. Jakia Marie (Anthropology & African and African American Diaspora Studies) and Dr. Kaitlyn Selman (Criminal Justice Studies).

To attend the virtual discussion, click here.



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