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The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy Kickoff returns to Delta State Sept. 21.

Chick-fil-A Leader Academy returning to campus

By | Academics, Chick-Fil-A, Community | No Comments

The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy Kickoff event returns to Delta State Sept. 21, bringing 500 Mississippi high school students and administrators to campus.

This event begins the year-long Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, a program to be held in over 15 Mississippi high schools, that teaches leadership skills and empowers students to put those skills into action.

A major goal of the Leader Academy is to inspire students to remain in school and become leaders within their communities. Students will take part in monthly leadership labs at their schools and complete several service projects in their community.

The kickoff will include multiple events and is an integral aspect of the students’ initiation into the academy.

Beginning with an assembly at the Bologna Performing Arts Center, the students will receive detailed information on expectations and goals, and will hear direct testimonials from schools that have participated in the past.

The major service event will follow, as students will take part in their first Impact Project of the year, sponsored by Feeding Children Everywhere. Students will pack over 100,000 non-perishable meals to feed needy children in the Delta and beyond.

Elizabeth Joel, coordinator of Continuing Education at Delta State, has worked closely with Chick-fil-A throughout the year to plan the one-day event.

“We are excited to start our second year partnering with Chick-fil-A and Feeding Children Everywhere,” said Joel. “The Delta State campus will be overflowing with bright young leaders on September 21. It is our hope that our Delta State family and campus will impact their lives and this program.”

She added it is a wonderful opportunity for Delta State to host over 500 students who are the future community leaders.

“We want to demonstrate how important community involvement is at Delta State, in hopes these students will bring their developed, compassionate leadership skills back to us when they attend college,” she said.

In addition to hosting the kickoff event, Delta State departments and student organizations will attend the leadership labs in the high schools over the next year to serve as mentors, especially in the area of community involvement, social issues and thoughtful leadership.

The Leader Academy is funded completely by Chick-fil-A stores throughout Mississippi. A team of Mississippi Chick-fil-A operators are spearheading the project. They will work closely with registered high schools as they complete their monthly leadership labs and multiple service projects for their communities.

Learn more about the program at https://chickfilaleaderacademy.com.

United States District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpi continues the Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m.

U.S. District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpi to provide Colloquia address

By | Community, President | No Comments

The Delta State University Colloquia Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series kicks off the fall semester featuring United States District Judge Gustavo A. Gelpi.

Gelpi’s speech, titled “Police Reform Though the Eyes of a United States District Judge,” will begin at 6 p.m. on Sept. 20 in the Jobe Auditorium on campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Those unable to attend the event can view the live stream speech online through the university’s official LiveStream channel: https://livestream.com/DeltaStateUniversity.

Delta State President William N. LaForge established the colloquia program when taking office in 2013. The platform is an ongoing series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. William F. Winter, former Mississippi governor, was honored as the first speaker in 2013.

Gelpi was appointed to the federal court bench in 2006 by former U.S. President George W. Bush, following his unanimous Senate confirmation. He holds life tenure and sits in the District of Puerto Rico.

Currently, he presides over the nation’s largest police department reform case, which was filed by the United States Attorney General in 2012 as a result of systemic police practices violative of civil rights, such as excessive use of force, racial and ethnic profiling, as well as sexual and political discrimination in the hiring and promotion of officers.

During his judicial tenure, Judge Gelpi has presided over hundreds of prosecutions for narcotics, firearms, child exploitation, immigration, white collar, government corruption and other federal crimes. He has also presided over a large number of civil cases in the areas of civil rights, environmental litigation, medical malpractice, bank shareholder class actions, corporate litigation and personal injury.

Gelpi has had an illustrious career spanning 25 years of public service, previously serving on the federal bench as a United States Magistrate Judge, as Solicitor General of Puerto Rico, and as Assistant Federal Public Defender and judicial law clerk.

He is a graduate of Brandeis University and Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, from which he also holds an honorary doctorate.

LaForge and Gelpi have known each other for about 12 years, and they first met when LaForge was serving as president of the national board of the Federal Bar Association. LaForge’s son Clayton also spent two years as a law clerk for Gelpi in Puerto Rico.

“Judge Gelpi is an outstanding jurist who has had an amazing career on the bench,” said LaForge. “He brings an outstanding amount of expertise on the issues related to police reform. We are looking forward to hosting him on campus.”

In addition to his speech, Gelpi will spend time visiting classes and with student organizations at Delta State.

LaForge said the Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series is another commitment to bringing excellence to Delta State.

“The university colloquia program gives our institution a chance to hear from and engage with experts from a wide array of professions and interests,” said LaForge. “It especially allows our students and faculty to rub elbows with professionals and resources we sometimes have the rare opportunity to engage. Great universities have great programs, and this is one.”

U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson will follow Gelpi with the next colloquia address on Nov. 9 for a unique and timely look back at the 2016 national election.

Learn more about the series at www.deltastate.edu/president/colloquia.

poverty

Poverty Simulation workshop open to campus and community

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Community, Students | No Comments

This Thursday, the Delta State University Department of Social Work, in partnership with the Department of Social Work at Belhaven College, will offer a Poverty Simulation event at the Jacobs Conference Center from 1-3 p.m.

The free event is geared toward senior social work students and any interested campus and community members. Those interested in participating in the workshop are encouraged to contact Dr. Jana Donahoe, assistant professor of social work, before 5 p.m. Wednesday at 662-846-4795 or jdonahoe@deltastate.edu.

“The purpose of the Poverty Simulation is to use a two-hour controlled, role play, experiential learning environment to give participants a glimpse of what it is like to survive for a month on a very low income by pretending to be poor,” said Donahoe.

Participants will be assigned to a family group and given a family member’s role and identity to play. The family is provided with a scenario involving a crisis, which could plunge them into immediate poverty. The family must figure how to survive under the dire circumstances for one month, which is divided into four 15-minute segments, each representing one week during the simulation.

The crisis forces the family to search for ways to survive poverty by living on a fixed amount of income. Social welfare assistance will be made available using volunteer actors who help the family members at tables representing community resources.

The goal is to improve the participants’ attitudes and empathy toward people living in poverty. Additionally, the project seeks to increase participants’ knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of poverty and the work it takes to achieve self-sufficiency.

“It is a very eye-opening experience for participants who are not familiar with the many stressful struggles for survival that people living in poverty face every day,” added Donahoe.

Taylor Henry

Taylor Henry to perform Levitt concert

By | Community, Delta Music Institute | No Comments

Taylor Henry will perform a free concert in downtown Cleveland on Sept. 8 at 7:45 p.m. as part of the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series. Jessica Faith of the Delta Music Institute will open for Henry at 7 p.m.

Henry, a pop-rock craftsman, pairs his pure tenor voice with rhythmic, soulful guitar. His upbeat, original sound is marked by lyrical simplicity and warm authenticity. This up-and-coming singer-songwriter lives in Nashville and has shared the stage with country singer Blake Shelton, American Idol runner-up Bo Bice and The Charlie Daniels Band.

The concert will take place on the downtown Green Space near College Avenue.

Airport Grocery will sell food and Delta Dairy will sell frozen treats. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, ice chests and bug repellant. Glass bottles are not allowed.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private family foundation that empowers towns and cities across America to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2016, more than 450 free Levitt concerts will take place in 21 towns and cities, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. Within the region is the Levitt Shell in Memphis with concerts taking place this May, June, July, September and October. Learn more at levitt.org and levittshell.org.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is also sponsored by the Delta Music Institute, Delta State University, Delta State Student Government Association, the city of Cleveland, Quality Steel, Alan Morgan, DSU Quality Enhancement Program, Automark, Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, and Team Cleveland.

For more information about series, visit http://concerts.levittamp.org/cleveland or call the Chamber of Commerce at 662-843-2712.

The public is invited to a special panel and book signing Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building. The event is titled “In Remembrance of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Photo from the Univ. of Florida.

Panel and book signing to honor Margaret Block

By | College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Students | No Comments

The Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, and the DSU Diversity Committee invites the public to a special panel and book signing Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building. The event is titled “In Remembrance of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Movement Organizer: Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

During the week of Sept. 6-11, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) at the University of Florida, returns to the Mississippi Delta to conduct oral history research on the civil rights movement in Mississippi and the American South. A highlight of this year’s trip will be the public panel. The event is co-sponsored by Delta State University and the University of Florida.

The panel will focus on “Voting Rights, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” and the event will honor the memory of Margaret Block, an organizer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Bolivar County in the 1960s. Block was a life-long human rights activist.

The panel will begin with the world premier screening of a new documentary titled “Celebrating the Life of Margaret Block, Civil Rights Activist.” The first 50 audience members and educators who attend the event will receive a free copy of the Margaret Block Remembrance DVD, as well as a booklet copy of SPOHP’s award-winning “I Will Never Forget: Memories from Mississippi Freedom Summer,” which contains first-hand accounts from SNCC veterans on the Freedom Movement in the 1960s.

This year’s panel will feature Mississippi State University’s Jason Ward, who will discuss his new book, “Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence, and America’s Civil Right Century.” The book was recently published by Oxford University Press. Ward will be signing copies of his book after the discussion.

Delta State instructor of political science, Arlene Story Sanders, will discuss voting restrictions in Mississippi. Sanders is chair of the DSU Diversity Advisory Committee.

Rounding out the panel will be Paul Ortiz, author of the award-winning books “Emancipation Betrayed” and “Remembering Jim Crow.” Ortiz will speak about voting rights and democracy in the United States.

Since 2008, SPOHP has worked under the guidance of a number of organizations during this annual civil rights history field work trip. These include the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization, the Sam Block Civil Rights Organization, the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture, Veterans for Peace, United Food & Commercial Workers, as well as the Equal Justice Initiative and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. Each of the interviews collected during the history of the project are publicly accessible to all at the University of Florida’s Mississippi Delta Freedom Project Digital Collection, which can be accessed at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/freedom

Panel co-sponsors include: the Delta State University Quality Enhancement Plan, the DSU Diversity Committee, the University of Florida Office Of Research, the Robert and Gay Zieger Social Justice Scholarship Fund, William De Grove and Mark Proctor.

For more information about the panel, contact Sanders at asanders@deltastate.edu or Ortiz at portiz@ufl.edu.