Update: Despite the cancellation of evening classes Wednesday, Feb. 5, a talk by author LeAlan Jones will take place as scheduled.
An award-winning author who as a teenager helped bring the harsh realities of Chicago’s housing projects to light will speak at SUNY Cortland on Wednesday, Feb. 5, continuing the College’s “Inter/Action” series on inequality.
LeAlan Jones, a journalist and former Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, will offer a talk titled “What Will the Collective Voice of a Generation Have To Say?” at 7 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room.
His talk is part of SUNY Cortland’s Cultural and Intellectual Climate Committee (CICC) series, which this year focuses on “Inter/Action” and the inequalities some Americans routinely face.
Jones also authored Our America: Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago, one of the academic year’s two common-reads for the CICC series. As he and co-author Lloyd Newman state in Our America: “You must learn our America as we must learn your America, so that maybe, someday, we can become one.”
In 1993, when he was just 13 years old, Jones was a reporter for National Public Radio (NPR). He helped produce “Ghetto Life 101,” a documentary that detailed his and Newman’s experiences growing up in Chicago’s Ida B. Wells housing project, namely the obstacles they faced. It received some of the most prestigious awards in national and international journalism, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award for Excellence in Documentary Radio and Special Achievement in Radio Programming.
A year later, Jones and Newman produced a second documentary, “The 14 Stories of Eric Morse,” which told the story of a young boy thrown from a fourteenth-story window in Chicago’s housing projects by two other youths. That documentary won a Peabody Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.
Our America was published in 1997 and offers first-hand accounts from Jones and Newman, chronicling the differences in their experiences with those of “other” Americans. The story earned praise for dealing with race, class, power and privilege in honest ways.
Likewise, the book invites SUNY Cortland students and faculty members to ask broad questions about accessibility to the rights that many Americans take for granted: the right to an education, the right to safety and the right to have a voice in the political process.
Prior to Jones’ talk, people can listen to “Ghetto Life 101” online.
Sponsors for the event include the Education Club; School of Education; Black Student Union, Cortland’s Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) Program; the Africana Studies and Foundations and Social Advocacy departments; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies (CGIS); the College’s Wellness Wednesday series and Black History Month at SUNY Cortland.
Other upcoming CICC events for this semester include:
• Readings from “The Vagina Monologues” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. The episodic play written by Eve Ensler is made up of varying monologues dealing with issues such as sex, love, birth and female empowerment.
• A film screening of “Girl Rising” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, in Sperry Center, Room 105. The film based on the stories of nine girls around the world, their experiences with education and the strength of their spirits.
• A documentary screening of “The House I Live In” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, in Sperry Center, Room 105. The 2012 documentary directed by Eugene Jarecki deals with the war on drugs in America.
• A panel discussion on the U.S. prison system at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge.
• A reading by Joe Bruchac at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 14, in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Bruhac is an author and storyteller with more than 120 books for children and adults. His Keepers series continues to receive critical acclaim for its combination of science and folklore.
• A film adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin In The Sun” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, in Sperry Center, Room 105. The story is based on a black family’s experiences in a predominantly white neighborhood in Chicago.
• A reading of the play “Clybourne Park” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge. Written by Bruce Norris in response to Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Sun,” the play takes place before and after Hansberry’s original play and is loosely based on actual events in Chicago.