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2017-2018 Speakers

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Spring 2018 Speakers on the theme of Poverty, Homelessness and Hunger

Michele Norris: "Race and Poverty in the United States"

Michelle NorrisCo-Host of NPR’s newsmagazine All Things Considered, Michele Norris has a voice that is undeniably recognizable. Recently named one of “25 Most Influential Black Americans” by Essence magazine, Norris’s work on The Race Card Project was honored with The Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious honors in broadcast journalism. In 2010, Norris published her first book, The Grace of Silence, focusing on how America talks about race. Bringing more than two decades of experience leading news and weighing in on American culture, Norris will speak about “Race and Poverty in the United States.”

Black History Month

Thursday, February 8, 2018
A300 Auditorium
Program begins at 1 p.m.
Followed by book signing and Reception, A300 Lobby



The Compelling Conversation with Dr. Matthew Desmond scheduled for Thursday, March 8, 2018 has been canceled due to the weather.

Matthew Desmond

Sociologist Matthew Desmond is the author of New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. In 2015, Desmond was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for “revealing the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor and its role in perpetuating racial and economic inequality.” His landmark work Evicted tells the stories of eight families living on the edge and the landlords who control their fate. Desmond will transform our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation (unfair or inadequate pay for work) while providing fresh ideas for solving one of the most urgent issues facing America today–housing insecurity.

“If incarceration had come to define the lives of men from impoverished black neighborhoods, eviction was shaping the lives of womenPoor black men were locked up. Poor black women were locked out.”

― Matthew Desmond, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Compelling Conversations

Thursday, March 8, 2018
A300 Auditorium
Program begins at 1 p.m.

Register Now


Angela Davis: “Institutional Racism in the Prison and Criminal Justice System”

Angela Davis

University of California Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor Emerita and author of ten books, Angela Davis is deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. In the early 1970s, Davis spent eighteen months in jail and on trial after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” Today, her work focuses on the social problems related to mass incarceration and the criminalizing of communities affected by poverty and racial discrimination. Dedicated to the dismantling of the “prison industrial complex,” Davis urges us to consider the future possibility of a world without prisons in her presentation, “Institutional Racism in the Prison & Criminal Justice System.”

Difficult Dialogues & Women's History Month

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Program begins at 1 p.m.
A300 Auditorium

Refreshments will be served.

Register Now


Fall 2017 Speakers on the theme of Immigration and Religious Intolerance

In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, BHCC Presents

Maria Hinojosa - "Frontlines: Latinos & Immigration"

Maria Hinojosa 150px widthThe foremost Latina broadcast journalist in America, Maria Hinojosa brings over 25 years of experience reporting on critical issues concerning the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad. As a journalist, Hinojosa has been awarded the highest levels of recognition in the profession, including four Emmy Awards and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Reporting on the Disadvantaged. Currently the anchor and executive producer of NPR’s award-winning weekly program, Latino USA, Hinojosa will present “Frontlines: Latinos and Immigration.”

Presented by the International Center and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Program begins at 1 p.m.
C202 Lecture Hall

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - "Islam:  Misrepresented, Misunderstood, and Maligned in the United States"

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 150px widthKareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most influential and respected black men in America, known for his eloquent and penetrating insights into controversial, contemporary issues. In 2016, Abdul-Jabbar was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. The former NBA champion is now a regular contributor to The Washington Post and Time Magazine, where he has a national platform to share his thoughts on the most socially relevant and politically sensitive topics facing our nation today. He addresses directly issues including race, religious intolerance and discrimination in “Islam: Misrepresented, Misunderstood and Vilified in the United States."

Compelling Conversations

Thursday, October 26, 2017
Program begins at 1 p.m.
BHCC Gymnasium

Shoshana Johnson: "I'm Still Standing: From Captured Soldier to Free Citizen"

Shoshana JohnsonU.S. Army veteran and author of I’m Still Standing: From Captive Soldier to Free Citizen–My Journey Home, Shoshana Johnson was taken as prisoner of war when her convoy was captured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recognized as the first black female POW in U.S. military history, Johnson will share the story of her company’s capture and the acts of bravery that followed, including their rescue by U.S. Marines.

Veterans Day Event, presented by the Veterans Center

Thursday, November 9, 2017
Program starts at 1 p.m.
Lecture Hall C202


Jose Antonio Vargas:  "Undocumented Residents, Unwanted Refugees and America's Values"

Jose Antonio Vargas Headshot 150px widthJose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker whose work centers on the changing American identity. In a groundbreaking essay published in The New York Times Magazine in 2011, Vargas revealed and chronicled his life as an undocumented immigrant in America. Dedicated to elevating the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America, he has since appeared on the cover of Time magazine and will present “Undocumented Residents, Unwanted Refugees and America’s Values.”

Difficult Dialogues

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Program starts at 1 p.m.
Auditorium A300