Activist Dr. Angela Davis to speak at UH Hilo

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Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Dr. Angela Davis, distinguished philosopher, educator, sociologist, community and prison reform activist, will speak on “Race, Gender, Politics, and Prisons” on February 28 at 7 p.m. in the University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Center. The program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be on a first come basis. Sign language interpreters will be available.

Currently professor of the History of Consciousness at the University of California and presidential chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Davis has worked for decades to raise issues of social justice, racial and gender equality, academic freedom, and prison abolition.

Born in an educated family in the segregated South, Davis earned a scholarship to Brandeis University where she studied French and philosophy. She earned a master's degree from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Humboldt University of Berlin, GDR. Upon her return to the U.S., she was appointed in 1969 as an acting assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of California, Los Angeles. In a controversial decision, the Board of Regents of the University of California, urged by then-California Governor Ronald Reagan, fired her from her job in 1969 because of her membership in the Communist Party, and later rehired after the controversy ignited community protest at the BOR decision. She has continued to serve as a spokesperson for the oppressed, as an author and speaker.

Davis has spent a lifetime of working on behalf of the oppressed and dispossessed as a radical feminist, author, as an outspoken activist during the American Civil Rights Movement as a member of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), the Black Panther Party, and in her run for U.S. vice-president on the ticket with Gus Hall. She is a pioneer in the struggle against mass incarceration and has been active in this engagement for many years, most recently through her work as an organizer of Critical Resistance, a national, member-based grassroots organization that works to build a mass movement to dismantle what it calls "the prison-industrial complex.”

In addition to her work on prison reform, Davis is a noted writer and educator. The current challenges and on-going issues in education, particularly in communities of color, are topics in which she addresses in her writings, presentations and discussions. Among her publications are titles including If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971), Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Challenge to Racism (1985), Women, Race and Class (1981), Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003), and Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire (2005).

Her work cuts across multiple layers of diversity: race, social class, gender, and ethnicity and her most recent work to reform the prison system is one that deeply affects Hawai`i. Violence—domestic, sexual, and drug-related—are of particular importance to members of the UH Hilo, Hawai`i Community College and our local community.

Davis’ presentation is co-sponsored by a University of Hawai`i Student Excellence, Equity and Diversity (SEED) Grant, the UH Hilo Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, UH Hilo Women’s Center, Cultural Diversity Committee, Women’s Studies Program, Minority Access and Advancement Program (MAAP), UHHSA, UH President's Commission on the Status of Women, and the HawCC Student Government Association.

For more information, contact the UH Hilo Women’s Center at 974-7306 or by email at uhhwomen@hawaii.edu.


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