MLK Day Teach-In: “Voting Rights and Social Justice”
Jan. 8, 2015
Voting rights and social justice will be the theme of discussion at the annual Martin
Luther King, Jr. Day Teach-In Jan. 19 at Illinois Wesleyan University's Hansen Student
Center. The Action Research Center (ARC) is sponsoring the event, which is free and
open to the public.
The program will include three separate panels following the theme of “Voting Rights
and Social Justice” and feature table discussion and dialogue with group participants.
The 1 p.m. panel will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and features a keynote address by Vernon
Burton, creativity professor of humanities at Clemson University and professor emeritus
of history at the University of Illinois. Burton's address is “The Voting Rights Act
of 1965 in Historical Context.”
Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy at the American Civil Liberties
Union of Illinois, will deliver a lecture on “Defending Voting Rights after Shelby County” at the 2 p.m. panel. In the landmark Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Supreme Court held that Congress required better evidence of racial discrimination
to allow seven Southern states to submit redistricting plans to the federal Justice
Department for preclearance. Yohnka will address the impact of this case on the present-day
argument over voting rights law.
The College Republicans and the College Democrats will debate the question “Should
Illinois Adopt a Voter ID Law?” The 3 p.m. debate is sponsored by the political science
honorary society Pi Sigma Alpha (PSA), and will be moderated by Chair of Political
Science Greg Shaw.