*(JACKSON, MS) – The Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement at Jackson State University will host a three-day conference featuring Minister Louis Farrakhan, Shirley Sherrod and Myrlie Evers-Williams on its 1400 John R. Lynch St. campus March 23-26.

The sixth annual conference, themed “Too Much Reform and Not Enough Change. NEEDED: A New Grassroots Movement for Change in EDUCATION,” is designed to inspire and empower youth through social activism education. Topics include:  “The Threat to Free Speech,” “Cradle to Prison Pipeline,” and “Islamophobia and Religious Intolerance.”

Now one of the largest annual gatherings of civil rights veterans in the country, this event brings together civil rights activists, historians, students, community organizers, educators, filmmakers and producers, second generation activists, grassroots organizations and hundreds of others from across the United States and abroad with today’s youth to discuss ways to continue positive change in society.

Among the special guests confirmed this year are Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam; Shirley Sherrod, former Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Myrlie Evers Williams, former NAACP chairman and widow of Medgar Evers; Marion Barry, Washington D.C. councilman; Kathleen Cleaver, Yale professor and former Black Panther; Haki Madhubuti, author and poet; and Karima Al-Amin, community activist.

Farrakhan will be the keynote speaker for the Veterans Freedom Gathering at 7 p.m., Friday, March 25, at the JSU Rose Embly McCoy Auditorium. Sherrod will be the keynote luncheon speaker for the Veterans Activist Luncheon at noon, Saturday, March 26, at the JSU Student Center. Evers-Williams will speak at the Intergenerational Cultural Expression Night at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, also at the Student Center.

Having begun in 2004 with small gatherings, the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement became an official arm of Jackson State in 2008. In addition to collecting and archiving oral histories of civil rights veterans across the country, the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement supports persons actively using those stories to continue the pursuit of freedom, justice and equality.

“We are trying to be true to our reason for being,” said Owen Brooks, executive director for the organization. “This conference, like others, will allow an exchange of ideas and to engage participants in discussions regarding issues that are important to them.”

Admission to the conference, which begins on Thursday, March 24, is $100 for adults and includes admission to all events.  College student registration is $25. High school student registration is $10. Prices include all events except the Veterans Freedom Gathering featuring Minister Farrakhan, which will cost $10 with a student ID.  The registration fee includes a one-year membership to the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.

Events schedule and ticket prices:

Veterans Luncheon featuring Karima Al-Amin, Thursday, March 24: $20 adults; $10 students

JSU Presidential Banquet, Thursday, March 24: $25 adults; $10 students

Veterans Luncheon featuring Kathleen Cleaver, Friday, March 25:  $20 adults; $10 students

Veterans Freedom Gathering with Minister Louis Farrakhan, Friday, March 25:  $20 adults; $10 students

Veterans Luncheon featuring Shirley Sherrod, Saturday, March 26: $20 adults; $10 students

Cultural Expression Night featuring Myrlie Evers Williams, Saturday, March 26: $20 adults; $10 students

Space for all events is limited. Tickets will not be sold at the door, so interested persons should purchase tickets in advance. The registration deadline is March 15.

For complete conference details, schedules, online registration, souvenir book form and to volunteer, visit www.MSCivilRightsVeterans.org or call 601-979-1515.

About Jackson State University: Bridge to a Brighter Tomorrow
Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

Jackson State University Office of Public Relations
601-979-2272 (office) — www.jsums.edu