Over the last decade, the McFarland Center has hosted a number of deeply engaging lectures, discussions, and conferences exploring themes of racial justice and activism in America. Many are available as streaming video or audio podcasts. We invite you to explore, revisit and share.
Videos to Watch Online
Conversations with Alumni: Dismantling Structural Racism
July 14, 21 and 28, 2020; February 8 and March 9, 2021
At a moment when many students feel particularly compelled to activism that improves the well-being of Black and Brown people, and are searching for ways to channel that activism into long-term structural change, the McFarland Center is offering three special summer opportunities to engage with young alumni who have become leaders in that work. These moderated discussions identify structural barriers that disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities, explore actions that can help to close the racial gap, and help students think about how they can do the same.
Watch the videos:
Damon Hart ‘96 and Dominic Blue ‘98 on Investing in Racial Equity»
Ron Lawson '75 on the Homeless Crisis in New York City»
Malik Neal '13 and Dante Jones on Abolishing Cash Bail»
Rashaunda Tyson '04 on Improving Opportunities in Urban Education»
Jerry Dickinson '09 on Fair and Inclusive Affordable Housing Policy»
Shannen Dee Williams | Confronting America's Real Sister Act: Black Catholic Nuns in United States History
November 10, 2022
Shannen Dee Williams, associate professor of history at Dayton University, shares the little known story of a radical group of Black women and girls who fought against racism, sexism, and exclusion to become and minster as consecrated women of God in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.
Broderick Johnson | My Brother's Keeper: Closing the Opportunity Gap for Young Men of Color
March 30, 2016
College of the Holy Cross alumnus Broderick Johnson '78 speaks on his roles working in the White House: as assistant to President Barack Obama, as Cabinet secretary, and as chair of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force, which works to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color in this country. A panel of students — Greyson Ford ’16, Jewel Duberry-Douglas ’18, Lance Madden ’18, Isaiah Baker ’16, and Marcellis Perkins ’19 — posed questions ranging from educational policy and STEM initiatives to police-community relations and criminal justice reform.
Willie Jennings | Finding the Essence of Christianity in Racial America
November 28, 2018
Willie Jennings, associate professor of systematic theology and Africana studies at Yale Divinity School, addresses what he describes as a Christian crisis in our country. His talk is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.
Deborah Gray White and Robert Patterson | Accounting for History: Race, Slavery and Institutional Memory
October 25, 2018
In this panel discussion, Deborah Gray White, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers University, and Robert Patterson, associate professor and chair of African American Studies at Georgetown University, focus on how their institutions of higher learning are reckoning with difficult histories in relation to enslavement and justice. Holy Cross history professor Stephanie Yuhl prefaces the discussion with a review of Holy Cross's efforts to date to address its ties to slavery. Co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies, History and Africana Studies.
Tricia Bushnell | Race, Poverty and Criminal Justice: Lessons Learned from Wrongful Conviction Cases
February 12, 2018
Tricia Bushnell, director of the Midwest Innocence Project, shares stories of wrongful convictions, explains the difficult appeals process, and exposes the lack of justice for innocent people caught in the criminal justice system. She also shows how race plays a role in the conviction rates and emphasizes the power that prosecutors wield in shaping the criminal justice system. Co-sponsored with Peace and Conflict Studies.
Fishbowl Discussion: The Status of Our Civil Rights
September 11, 2013
What do recent legal decisions say about the status of minorities in our country? This discussion addresses the relative importance of Supreme Court rulings on the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action, the federal court judgment against the "Stop and Frisk" program in New York City, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The "fish" also weigh in on gay rights victories such as the overturning of Defense of Marriage Act provisions and the legalization of same-sex marriage in several jurisdictions. Issues surrounding immigration and undocumented aliens also arise.
On Affirmative Action:
- Glenn C. Loury — The Ethics of Affirmative Action Policies in Higher Education, April 11, 2019
- A Fishbowl Discussion — Affirmative Action at Holy Cross, October 1, 2012
- Randall Kennedy — The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action, September 17, 2012
From the conference "The Other America Then and Now":
Fifty years after Michael Harrington '47 published "The Other America," in March 2012, the McFarland Center convened scholars and activists to revisit his ideas and take on some of the defining issues of poverty today. The talks included:
- Annette Lareau — Unequal Childhoods: A survey of youth across race and class
- Bruce Western — The dramatic rise of incarceration and its effect on the poor
- William Julius Wilson — Toward a Holistic Study of Urban Poverty: Why Both Social Structure and Culture Matter
Listen and Learn on Apple Podcasts
From the Civil War to Ferguson: The Role of the Black Church as a Training Ground for Activism
March 25, 2015
Karsonya Wise Whitehead explores the role of the black church in the context of American history, the recent events in Ferguson and New York, and the African American experience and identifies four common drivers of black rights movements. Whitehead is associate professor of communication and Africana and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland and author of "Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America."
Watch the "Black Rage" video shown at the beginning of this lecture»
Listen to Karsonya Whitehead's lecture on Apple Podcasts»
Unconscious Racial Bias and the Challenge of Solidarity: Catholic Social Thought Post Trayvon Martin (and Michael Brown and...)
October 28, 2014
Rev. Bryan Massingale, professor of theological ethics at Marquette University and author of “Racial Justice and the Catholic Church,” talks about the recent shootings of unarmed black men, analyzes the culture that conditions us to believe these shootings are normal and reasonable, and reflects on Catholic Social Thought and its teachings on solidarity. His lecture is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.
Listen to Rev. Massingale on Apple Podcasts»
Conference Keynote: "Let Justice Roll Down"
April 1, 2011
Mark Warren, associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, delivers the keynote address for the conference on the practice and pedagogy of organizing in the 21st century. A sociologist concerned with the revitalization of American democratic and community life, he studies efforts to strengthen institutions that anchor inner city communities - churches, schools, and other community-based organizations - and to build broad-based alliances among these institutions and across race and social class.
Listen to Mark Warren's keynote address on Apple Podcasts»