Social Justice Events Series 2017-18: Voices of Resistance, Voices of Hope
Social justice advocates know well both the benefits and costs of their activism. On the one hand, working for justice can feel like a never-ending need to stand against the status quo; on the other hand, solidarity and progressive action are rewarding and hopeful. The events in this year’s series will consider a diversity of voices of social justice advocates.

It Can’t Happen Here

Saturday, September 16th at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, Ahart Family Arts Plaza, Williams Arts Campus

    Presented by: Department of Theater

Last October, Berkeley Repertory Theater was joined by 50 organizations across 24 states for a series of free, public readings of their new adaptation by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen of Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 novel It Can’t Happen Here. This year, Lafayette College takes up the baton to continue participation in this national event. It Can’t Happen Here, written during the rise of fascism in Europe, presents   a chilling precedent – America in the 1920s and 30s, a time of economic struggle, racial resentment and increasing xenophobia. Clearly, to understand the racist authoritarianism in America, we need only look back to our own history.Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cheikh Lô & The Ndiguel Band

Wednesday, September 27th at 8:00pm

Williams Center for the Arts

This concert is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals’ Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
Cheikh Lô has a voice that can move from a prescient whisper to a searing gut cry… an eclectic composer and arranger who tries new ideas on every song” (NPR). Conveying a laid back funk within the rippling polyrhythms of Senegal’s signature mbalax, he cross-pollinates with Ghanaian high-life, Jamaican reggae, and Afro-Cuban beats that keep his band’s talking drums particularly chatty. With a gentle, high tremolo or sudden bass-line plunge, Cheikh Lô implores listeners to embrace peace, love, and steadfast spirituality; one needn’t be fluent in Wolof or Bambara to be carried away by his captivating voice.

Practicing Hope: A Guide for Allies, Shannon Craigo-Snell

Thursday, October 19th at 7:00pm

Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, room 104

Presented by: Religious & Spiritual Life, Intercultural Development, Kaleidoscope, and Interfaith Council

How can those of us from dominant cultures (white, or straight, or Christian, etc.) be effective allies to vulnerable communities? How we reach across the lines of power that divide us to work for the common good? It is difficult to know where to start, what to do, and how to proceed. This event begins with an individualized self-assessment of what you have to offer as an ally. It provides six concrete strategies for allies to work for social justice, as well as guidance from activists from the LGBTQ community and BlackLivesMatter.

The Sachal Jazz Ensemble

Thursday, November 2nd at 8:00pm

Williams Center for the Arts


This concert is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Association of Performing Arts Professionals’ Building Bridges: Arts, Culture and Identity, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.
In defiance of years-long Taliban influence on local culture, Pakistan’s classical masters preserved their music and improvisational techniques underground, emerging in 2011 with an ambitious recording covering Western jazz standards on traditional instruments. The Sachal Jazz Ensemble’s angle on Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” went viral, earning them world-wide recognition and an invitation from Wynton Marsalis to perform at Lincoln Center. In this cross-cultural, genre-bending concert, works by Mancini, Brubeck, and Grusin converse with practices from a cradle of civilization on sitar, flute, sarangi, and tablas—truly the quintessence of “world music.”

When Lafayette was Male, White, and Christian: A Crucible for Social Justice

Thursday, November 9th at 7:00pm

Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, room 104

Mr. Hyman’s commitment to social justice grew out of his experience as a student at Lafayette. Yet, in the early ‘60’s, by all outward measure, Lafayette was not an hospitable environment for such ideals. It was an all male, white, Christian institution that had compulsory chapel attendance; no women in either the student body or faculty (save for 1); and a fraternity system and admissions policy that discriminated against people of color and non-Christian applicants and students. Notwithstanding, the Lafayette community learned to confront bigotry, sexism and racism and to fight to bring about change. The hallmarks of social justice – equality, justice and humanity – were learned and applied. In fact, Resistance and Hope were at the very core of the Lafayette education.