5th Annual Race, Poverty & Social Justice Conference Announces Speakers

Lynchburg, VA – On Friday and Saturday, November 3rd & 4th, at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA, community leaders, students, advocates, non-profit agencies, community groups and interested individuals will convene for the 5thAnnual Race, Poverty & Social Justice Conference sponsored by Many Voices, One Community (MVOC) and in collaboration with Department of Sociology at Lynchburg College.

The 2017 conference theme is Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Justice. We are excited to announce our special speakers. Pre-conference activities start on Friday, November 3rd at 3:00 p.m. Day-two of full conference sessions begins on Saturday, November 4th at 9:00 a. in Schewel Hall Lobby; registration at 8:00 a.m.

On Friday, November 3rd, 7:00 p.m. at Lynchburg College in Ballroom, Hall Campus Center the public is invited to join us for Perspectives: A Conversation on Race, Poverty & Education with special guest Leland D. Melvin, engineer, author, Lynchburg native and former astronaut. Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances is Melvin’s recently authored and published memoir. He will be joined in conversation by retired Lynchburg attorney, and lifelong community advocate, Arelia Langhorne. Moderated by Lynchburg College graduate, University of Richmond Law graduate, attorney and community advocate, Rophenia Crawley.

Luncheon keynote speaker is Dr. Rob W. Lee IV, author, activist, commentator, writer, and preacher. He is a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Dr.  Lee is a native of Statesville, NC and recent graduate of Duke University Divinity School in Durham, NC with a Masters of Theology. Recently, Dr. Lee has engaged as an activist in the field of racial reconciliation. He participated in the MTV Video Music Awards and was on The View where he spoke about the need to confront white supremacy and white privilege in white churches.  Rob is a regular columnist for the Statesville Record and Landmark, his hometown newspaper in the faith section. His work has also appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, The Methodist Federation for Social Action, the Huffington Post, Common English Bible: Student Edition and most notably the Washington Post. Rob’s first book entitled, Stained-Glass Millennials explores the relationship between the institutional church and Millennial generation.

Scholar, writer, researcher, and educator, Khyati Y Joshi will join a distinguished panel of Lynchburg College faculty for a panel discussion: Fear of a Brown Planet: Backlash and the Rise of White Nationalism to end the conference on Saturday. Khyati is Professor of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Previously, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. She is currently working on a book manuscript: Building a More Perfect Union: Race and Religion in America. She is the author of the book New Roots in America’s Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America awarded the National Association for Multicultural Education’s 2007 Philip C. Chinn Book Award.

This is the fifth MVOC-sponsored conference to be held in Lynchburg.  In addition to guest speakers, the two-day program will feature workshops coordinated with the local community and organizations in and outside of Central Virginia.  Workshops will cover such topics as school-to-prison pipeline, immigration rights, economic empowerment, racial equity through nonprofit partnerships, social justice theater and much more.

Created in 2007 and formerly known as the Community Dialogue on Race & Racism, Many Voices, One Community has as its mission the creation of a racially equitable community where race and/or ethnicity are not predictors of success in any aspect of life and where public policies, institutional practices, and social structures no longer favor one group of people over another.

Through conference workshops and keynote speeches, attendees will learn about a variety of approaches to forwarding racial and social justice and will gain a deeper understanding of how to create a more equitable community.

Friday evening conversation is free and open to the public. Saturday Registration is $20 for adults; the fee includes lunch. Students with a College ID may attend without charge. A limited number of scholarships are available. Register online at www.LynchburgTickets.com. For more information, visit www.mvocva.com or contact mvocva@gmail.com or (434)420-0612.