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USM Convocation events to explore trauma and race through music, lectures, and film

Strossen book cover

The University of Southern Maine presents a series of Convocation events this fall to refine and apply the knowledge of last year's theme, “Race and Participatory Democracy.” Events taking place September through November will explore trauma through a racial lens with the goal of providing opportunities for learning, professional development, and community engagement around race and trauma.

The USM Convocation events will be a conversation about how to support members of our community who have experienced trauma resulting from racial harassment, discrimination, violence or experiencing institutional racism.

“We're focusing on events that encourage our audience to actively engage with the theme - whether that's to listen, dance and sing along at our opening concert, to attend our workshops or participate in our discussion groups. There's something for everyone this year, and we are hoping that our events and activities help us integrate our learning into our daily lives,” said Rebecca Nisetich, USM Honors Program director.

Waking WindowsUSM Convocation events: 

9/21: Waking Windows at USM
10/17: 3rd Annual W.E.B. DuBois Lecture on Race and Democracy
10/26: Public talk by Dr. Kamilah Majied
11/16: Film Screening with MPBN - “Dawnland”

Friday, September 21
Waking Windows at USM
4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Payson Smith Lawn, USM Portland Campus

This year USM kicks off Convocation as a sponsor and venue for Waking Windows with free music by USM student performers, NYC-based pan-Latino party band M.A.K.U Soundsystem, Philly-based rapper-singer Ivy Sole, and VT-based Afro-funk group Sabouyouma, as well as spoken word, dance, art activities, and food trucks galore.

Nadine StrossenWednesday, October 17
3rd Annual W.E.B. DuBois Lecture on Race and Democracy
"Why we should promote racial justice (and other good causes) through free speech, not censorship”
Reception 5:30 p.m., Program begins 6:00 p.m.

Hannaford Hall, in the Abromson Center, USM Portland Campus

The Race & Ethnic Studies Minor within the USM Department of History and Political Sciences presents Nadine Strossen as the keynote for this annual lecture providing a platform for innovative, solution-oriented speakers to present major intellectual and new idea-based statements on the intersection of race and participatory democracy.

Nadine Strossen is a chaired professor at New York Law School, and widely recognized expert on constitutional law and civil liberties. The immediate past President of the American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008), she now serves on the ACLU’s National Advisory Council, as well as the Advisory Boards of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and Heterodox Academy. She was the first woman and the youngest person to ever lead the ACLU. The National Law Journal has named Strossen one of America’s “100 Most Influential Lawyers,” and several other national publications have named her as one of the country’s most influential women. Her 2018 book, “HATE:  Why We Should Resist It with Free Speech, Not Censorship” (Oxford University Press), has earned praise from ideologically diverse readers, including Harvard Professor Cornel West and Princeton Professor Robert George.

Friday, October 26
Public talk by Dr. Kamilah Majied
“Fierce Compassion, Well-Being, and the Reclamation of our Shared Humanity”

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
University Events Room, Glickman Library, USM Portland Campus

This conversation will offer participants the opportunity to learn about and practice cultivating fierce compassion through contemplative practice. The goal is to develop sustainability in our efforts to ground our day-to-day perceptions and actions as well as institutions such the academy, health and human services and social justice organizations in an enlightened vision of our shared humanity.

Dr. Kamilah Majied has been a practicing Buddhist for over 35 years. She has practiced and taught Buddhism and mindfulness practice from several theological and practical perspectives including mindfulness and self- esteem, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness and racial justice, Buddhism and mental health, mindfulness practices as a path towards preserving the environment and contemplative practices in education. Dr. Majied has studied at the Insight Meditation Society and the Soka Gakkai International. She has had the opportunity to learn from renowned teachers such as Daisaku Ikeda, Pema Chodron, Bhante Buddharikkita and Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work and is co-editor of a Special Issue on Peace, Reconciliation and Non- Violent Conflict Resolution. Dr. Majied gave opening remarks at the first White House Conference of Buddhist Leaders on Climate Change and Racial Justice, where she also facilitated a dialogue on ending racism amongst the internationally represented Buddhist leadership. She is one of the original authors of the Buddhist People of Color Statement Calling for Racial Justice originally published in Lion’s Roar magazine. Dr. Majied serves as a facilitator for the North American Buddhist Alliance’s ongoing dialogues on Buddhism and social justice.  Dr. Majied is a mental health clinician, an internationally engaged consultant on oppression and mental health and a tenured Professor of Social Work at Howard University.

Dawnland posterFriday, November 16
Film Screening with MPBN - “Dawnland”

5:30 p.m., Hannaford Hall, Abromson Center, USM Portland Campus

USM presents the film “Dawnland,” a special national livestream concert and film screening event in collaboration with the Upstander Project and Maine Public (MPBN). This special evening will include a one-time live concert and storytelling event with acclaimed performer and “Dawnland” composer Jennifer Kreisberg, Chris Newell and special guests. Following the film, Jennifer Rooks of Maine Public will moderate a discussion with filmmakers Adam Mazo and Ben Pender-Cudlip; co-creator of the Truth Commission, Esther Anne of Maine-Wabanaki REACH; and film participant Dawn Neptune Adams.

About “Dawnland”
For decades, child welfare authorities have been forcibly removing Native American children from their homes to “save” them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins an unprecedented investigation. Dawnland goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body deals with difficult truths, questions the meaning of reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

For updates and more information please visit the USM Convocation website.