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Empowering Change

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 powerfully demonstrated that we possess the capacity through participatory democracy to drive individual and societal change. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the act and the remarkable movement that led to its passage, Newman’s Own Foundation is collaborating with the University of Hartford in exploring the enduring ability of the Civil Rights Act to inspire actions that can benefit today’s society.

The Empowering Change celebration will feature a wide-ranging, weeklong series of events at the University of Hartford following the September 2014 opening of the Library of Congress exhibition, The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Long Road to Freedom, in Washington, D.C.  The programs and observances at the University of Hartford, which will take place Sept. 14-22, are designed to encourage reflection, dialogue, and action in civil rights and social change—using what was accomplished then as the foundation for asking What can I do now?

Events will include symposia; panel discussions; interactive workshops; a social change resource fair and volunteer fair; a social media installation; sidewalk art; a writing competition; a community sports clinic; music, poetry, art, and much more—all built around the themes of civil rights and social change. The closing event on Sept. 22 will feature a panel discussion,  “Empowering Change: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

All of the events are free and open to the University community and the general public.

Assistance provided by the Library of Congress will enable  Empowering Change  to benefit from the historic Civil Rights Act exhibition in Washington, D.C.

In developing campus-wide programming and engagement around the topic of civil rights and social change, this event will reveal the role of a university in developing and conveying an integrated vision that has the capacity to empower change within its own community and beyond.  The programs will reach across multiple academic disciplines and will involve faculty, staff, alumni, students, and distinguished guests, drawing on the University’s intellectual capital.  Additional follow-through will be defined by campus activity groups, sports teams, leadership programs, and residence organizations and community partners.

Programming will highlight how the Civil Rights Act can inspire moral courage and commitment to helping others, and expand understanding of the social movements that define civil rights 50 years forward and beyond.

Empowering Change is designed to serve as a catalyst for social change, using historic accomplishment to inform present and future opportunities to preserve and extend freedom, justice, and human dignity. Newman’s Own Foundation's intent is to have this initiative inspire people to engage in conversation and action that can help to overcome obstacles, achieve positive change, and contribute to making this a better world.