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Protecting Voter Rights Focus of MICA's 2019 Constitution Day Symposium

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

August 26, 2019


As voting rights concerns remain at the forefront of American elections, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the ACLU of Maryland will come together this fall for the annual Constitution Day symposium to tackle topics that have affected democracy for decades.

This year’s event, "One Person, One Vote: The Challenge of American Democracy, Past and Present,” will include speaker Bob Moses, a Civil Rights activist and former leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who directed the Mississippi Voter Registration Project from 1961 to 1964.

Moses was co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations in the 1960s as well as a lead organizer for the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project. He went on to teach mathematics at the Samé School in Tanzania, East Africa before returning to re-enter the doctoral program in philosophy at Harvard. A MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Moses used his fellowship to begin the Algebra Project, which uses mathematics as an organizing tool for quality education for all children in America.

"As the 2020 election approaches, there are a host of challenges to voting rights that we hope the Constitution Day symposium will highlight this year. In many ways, it seems, old tricks to block the vote return. Protecting our voting rights requires constant vigilance," Firmin DeBrabander, Constitution Day organizer and MICA Humanistic Studies faculty member, said. "The vote is challenged and undermined by a variety of threats at this day and time. Many states have voter ID laws, which, critics contend, unfairly discourage the poor and minorities from voting. Several states block released felons — striving to rejoin society — from the ballot box. And most recently, of course, Special Counsel Robert Mueller pointed out the insidious efforts of Russian agents and spies to dissuade some American voters, and mobilize others."

Alongside Moses, DeAnna Hoskins, President of JustLeadershipUSA, and Eric Gottesman, photographer and co-founder of For Freedoms Project, will also be part of this year’s Constitution Day panel. The event is free and open to the public, and commemorates the Sept. 17 holiday.

Hoskins is a nationally recognized leader and a formerly incarcerated person with experience as an advocate and policy expert at the local, state and federal level. Hoskins served as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, managing the Second Chance Act portfolio and serving as deputy director of the Federal Inter-Agency Reentry Council. Before that, she served as a county director of reentry in her home state of Ohio. Gottesman photographs, writes, makes videos, teaches and uses art as a vehicle to explore aesthetic, social and political culture. He is an assistant professor of art at the State University of New York (Purchase College) and a mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Project in Beirut, Lebanon.

WHAT: Constitution Day Symposium 2019: "One Person, One Vote: The Challenge of American Democracy, Past and Present"

WHEN: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19

WHERE: Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.