Tickets are now on sale for Cameron University and Cameron Campus Ministry’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration banquet. This year’s keynote speaker is civil rights activist Morris Dees who will present “With Justice for All in a Changing America.” The banquet is scheduled for Monday, January 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Aggie Rec Center. Tickets are $40 for adults and $15 for students and are available by calling Cameron Campus Ministry at 580-357-7226. The deadline to purchase tickets is Monday, January 11.
Dees will also be featured during an afternoon session starting at 2:30 p.m. in the McCasland Ballroom of the McMahon Centennial Complex. The afternoon discussion is open to the public at no charge.
Dees was born in 1936 at Shorter, Alabama, the son of cotton farmers. As a young boy he worked the fields with blacks, witnessing first-hand social and economic deprivation and Jim Crow treatment at its worse. In 1970, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin, he formed the Southern Poverty Law Center. Early cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA. The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America’s most successful and innovative public interest law firms.
In 1980, the Center founded the Intelligence Project in response to resurgence in organized racist activity. The project monitors hate groups and develops legal strategies for protecting citizens from violence-prone groups.
Victories against hate groups include an unprecedented $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of Michael Donald, a young black man lynched by the Klan in Mobile, Ala., a $6 million judgment that bankrupted the Aryan Nations, a $12.5 million jury verdict against the California-based White Aryan Resistance for the death of a black student and a $26 million verdict against the Carolina Klan for burning black churches.
To promote acceptance and tolerance, the Center founded Teaching Tolerance in 1990. Over 80,000 schools use the project’s free videos and teaching materials, and more than 400,000 teachers receive the award winning “Teaching Tolerance” magazine. The Center has won two Academy Awards for its tolerance education films.
Dees has received numerous awards in conjunction with his work. Trial Lawyers for Public Justice named him Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1987. In 2009, he was inducted into the Trial Lawyers’ Hall of Fame by the American Trial Lawyers’ Association. The American Bar Association honored him in 2012 with the ABA Medal, the ABA's highest honor.
He is the author of three books, “A Lawyers Journey,” “Hate on Trial” and “Gathering Storm, America’s Militia Threat.”
The 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is co-sponsored by Cameron Campus Ministry and Cameron University. For more information, please contact Cameron Campus Ministry at (580) 357-7226.
November 9, 2015