Sep 17, 2020 2:16 AM

K-State: Free webinar series explores challenging issues

Posted Sep 17, 2020 2:16 AM

MANHATTAN — The Kansas State University College of Education's Center for Social Studies Education is co-sponsoring a seven-week "Power to the People" webinar series beginning Thursday.

The series offers experts addressing some of the most challenging issues in American society.

Topics include voting rights, monuments and flags, the Nineteenth Amendment, free speech, Supreme Court cases, social movements for change and Indian sovereignty. The series is designed for civics, government and U.S. history teachers who want to better understand these issues; however, the public is invited to attend. Advance registration is required.

Thomas Vontz, professor and director of the Center for Social Studies Education, said these topics are both timely and relevant.

"These webinars provide teachers, students and citizens opportunities to consider important public issues in a nonpartisan environment," Vontz said. "We also hope to help citizens understand that political power may be exerted by average citizens through exercising their rights of speech, association and voting. Democracy works best when citizens are informed, engaged and motivated to make their community, state, nation and world a little better."

Webinar sessions are open to the public and will last 90 minutes. Each session starts at 6:30 p.m. CDT and registration is required at civiced.org/power-series-webinars. The schedule:

• "The Power of People and the Courts," Sept. 17. Christopher Riano and U.S. District Judge Mae Avila D'Agostino will review selected Supreme Court cases from 2019-2020.

• "The Power of Indian Sovereignty," Thursday, Sept. 24. David E. Wilkins, professor and E. Clairborne Robins distinguished professor of leadership studies at the University of Richmond, will address Native American sovereignty in the American constitutional system. Wilkins asserts this subject is not sufficiently covered in most schools. He wrote about it in depth in his book "Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations."

• "The Power of Movements: The Struggle to Pass the Nineteenth Amendment and Beyond," Thursday, Oct. 1. Lisa Tetrault, associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University, will explain how the power of movements, focusing particularly on the struggle to pass the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

• "The Power of Symbols: Monuments and Flags," Thursday, Oct. 8. Brandon Hasbrouck, assistant professor of law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, will explain why symbols, such as monuments and flags, illicit powerful emotions in many Americans.

• "The Power of the Criminal Justice System," Thursday, Oct. 15. Hernandez Stroud, counsel for the Justice Program of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, will address the power of the American criminal justice system. With more than 2 million people incarcerated, the U.S. leads the world with the highest prison population rate in the world, surpassing Iran, Cuba, China and Russia.

• "The Power of Free Speech," Thursday, Oct. 22. David Hudson, visiting associate professor of legal practice at Belmont University and First Amendment ombudsman for the Freedom Forum Institute's First Amendment Center, will address the power of free speech.

• "The Power of Voting: The Electoral College, Gerrymandering and Suppression," Thursday, Oct. 29. Michael Li, senior counsel at the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, will address the ongoing struggle to exercise the right to vote.

This Power to the People webinar series is co-sponsored by the Center for Civic EducationKansas State University and the Indiana Bar Foundation