April 10, 2018 Human Rights Film Series: Twilight Los Angeles

2017-2018 Human Rights Film Series
Aesthetics & Politics
Art History & Human Rights


Twilight: Los Angeles

(2000, by Anna Devere Smith)

TUESDAY, April 10, 2018
3:30 – 5:30pm

Konover Auditorium
Dodd Center
University of Connecticut

Free Admission


Anna Deveare Smith

In this film adaptation of the award-winning play, Twilight: Los Angeles, writer and performer Anna Deavere Smith takes on the roles of real individuals connected with the 1992 Rodney King verdict and the subsequent uprisings in Los Angeles. This one-woman play explores the history and legacy of racism and oppression through the words of those on the front lines.

April 1 – May 1, 2018: Race and Revolution Exhibit

Race and Revolution: Still Separate – Still Unequal

April 1 – May 1, 2018

Reception: Friday, April 13 at 6:30pm

Charter Oak Cultural Center
21 Charter Oak Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106



Curators: Kathryn Fuller and Larry Ossei-Mensah


Mitsuko Brooks, Dennis Redmoon Darkeem, Damien Davis, Dominique Duroseau, Uraline

Setpembre Hager, L. Kasimu Harris, Olalekan Jeyifous, Mona Kamal, jc lenochan, Karen Lomax,

Carina Maye, Kayla Muldrow, Shervone Neckles, Iviva Olenick, Nicole Soto-Rodríguez, Aram

Han Sifuentes, Marvin Toure, and Antoine Williams




Date Program
April 13, 2018
Opening Reception
April 14, 2018
Open Book Test: An engaging performance with Dennis Redmoon Darkeem questioning how much we really know about “American History” and whose narratives are behind our understanding of past in the US.
April 14, 2018
Panel Workshop featuring curators Kathryn Fuller and Larry Ossei-Mensah, Patricia O’Rourke (UConn School of Education), partner teacher and Uraline Septembre Hager, Damien Davis, and jc lenochan from the exhibition. Panelists will provide an introduction and overview to the project, noting both its national and local dimensions, its use of arts-based learning strategies, and the potential of art to serve as both a form of and catalyst for public discourse about difficult subjects. Audience participants will have the opportunities to learn about strategies to design and implement their own initiatives that partner with professional artists, as well as think critically about the issue of school segregation and integration in the Hartford region.
April 19, 2018
Race and Revolutionary ReadJoin us for the latest installment of our community reading series, focused on books that spark revolutionary conversations about social justice. In an exciting partnership with Hartford Public Library, this Spring we are featuring Citizen: An American Lyric!

Pick up a copy of the book at Hartford Public Library, Charter Oak Cultural Center, or your local book seller and start reading. On April 19, join us in the Charter Oak Sanctuary for an interactive lecture with UConn’s own Shardé M. Davis, Ph.D. Our current gallery exhibition, “Race and Revolution” will also be open for viewing from 6-8PM!

Cosponsored by UConn Hartford

Exploring Segregation of Public Schools in the United States

On April 1, The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center will present the Race and Revolution exhibition in a series that utilizes a combination of contemporary artworks and historical documents as a platform to examine patterns of systemic racism in the United States. This edition, entitled Race and Revolution: Still Separate – Still Unequal, investigates the prevalence of segregation in the United States public school system.

Since the inception of #BlackLivesMatter in 2012, the American population is reflecting on what happened after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s-60s. That word “after” is part of the conundrum that surrounds our present-day conversation around race and racism. What exactly came to an end? The exhibition Still Separate – Still Unequal seeks to examine ongoing racial and economic disparity in the U.S. public school system.

Reports in 2014, the year that marked the sixtieth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown V. Board of Education decision declaring segregated schools as unconstitutional, showed an increase in school segregation. How has this happened, and how can we use art to push the conversation into the public discourse in a new and provocative way?

War on the Benighted Test Shot 2



Katie Fuller was an educator for eleven years before curating her first show, Race and Revolution:

Exploring Human Injustices through Art, in the summer/fall of 2016. As a high school English teacher, she taught literature through the lens of historical events. While working in education at the New-York Historical Society, she wrote curriculum and taught classes on civil liberties and the Fourth Amendment.

Always passionate about social justice issues, she felt a pressing need to examine historical memory around race and racism in the United States. These experiences have led her to this specific path – curating the less known and often unspoken histories of systemic racism in the United States by pairing contemporary art with historical narratives. She has applied all she’s learned and continues to learn and challenge people’s perspectives in regards to history and social justice.

Larry Ossei-Mensah is a Ghanaian-American independent curator and cultural critic who uses contemporary art and culture as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions at commercial and nonprofit galleries throughout New York City featuring a roster of critically acclaimed artists including Firelei Baez, ruby amanze, Hugo McCloud and Brendan Fernandes to name a few. Ossei-Mensah is also the Co-Founder of ARTNOIR, a global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class. He has documented contemporary art happenings for various publications and his writings have profiled some of the most dynamic visual artists working today—Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson and street artist JR.

jc lenochan - Unfinished Business - What You Think Matters Too.

April 6 & 7, 2018: “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”

Mansfield Middle School Presents

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

Butterfly Image

By Celeste Raspanti

a dramatic play about the Holocaust


Friday, April 6th at 7pm Saturday, April 7th at 7pm

followed by

Community Conversation
sponsored by the Dodd Center

Pre-register HERE

Sunday, April 8th at 1pm

All Shows at
Mansfield Middle School
205 Spring Hill Road
Storrs, CT  06268

All Tickets are $8 and are available at the door

or in the MMS office is advance

Produced by special arrangement with


April 4, 2018: Isa Mujahid, “Real Talk”

Real Talk: Reparations, Equity, and Liberation as a Framework for Social Change

Isa MujahidIsa Mujahid, Founder and Organizing Director of CTCORE-Organize Now!

April 4, 2018
Konover Auditorium

Isa Mujahid, Founder and Organizing Director of CTCORE-Organize Now! is a native of Bridgeport, CT. The child and grandchild of Civil Rights Era activists, Isa was aware from an early age the role that racial politics had played in the history of the United States in the oppression of marginalized groups, in particular African Americans. An opportunity to attend private schools in neighboring Fairfield, opened his eyes to the large disparities that exist in the small state of Connecticut.

Dismantling systemic racism and eliminating systemic racial inequities and disparities is the foundation of CTCORE’s purpose. The organization has a 3-pillared approach to racial justice/equity work: Community Building, Training and Community Organizing. CTCORE-Organize Now! is committed to eliminating all systemic racial inequities in Connecticut, using four racial justice categories–criminal justice reform, education equity, economic justice, and environmental justice/health equity.

CTCORE-Organize Now! received the 2018 Community Service Award presented by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at Quinnipiac Law School and BLSA 30th Annual Thurgood Marshall Award Ceremony.


May 22, 2018 Back to the Old Country: The Jewish Food Renaissance

When: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Where: Infinity Hall Hartford- 32 Front St, Hartford, CT

Directions Click HERE


Food tasting & book talk by: Jeffrey Yoskowitz

The Gefilteria, comprised of renowned author/chefs Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz, are on a mission to preserve traditional eastern European Jewish cuisine and adapting it to suit the evolving tastes of the new generation. They are highlighting how Old World Jewish foods are beautiful, delicious, and are an important resource to connect the past, present, and future.

Learn more at: https://gefilteria.com/ 


March 1, 2018: Zhao Bin Exhibit Reception

3:00pm – 5:00pmZhao Bin Painting
Dodd Center Lobby

Join us for this reception for the current exhibit

Zhao Bin: Paintings in Transition

Zhao Bin (b. 1969), winner of the 2006 Laura and Lorenz Reibling Award of the Foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, has exhibited broadly in Germany and China.  His works synthesize Chinese bodies of thought with western techniques of oil painting.  The result is a playful, yet unnerving commentary on contemporary Chinese life.


This exhibit is hosted at the Dodd Center courtesy of the Laura and Lorenz Reibling, who have generously loaned the paintings from their private collection.




2.22.18 A. Kayum Ahmed: Confronting White Supremacy on Campus

Confronting White Supremacy on Campus: Epistemic Disobedience, Free Speech, and Protest

A. Kayum Ahmed

Thursday, February 22, 2018
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Konover Auditorium
Dodd Center

Confronting White Supremacy on Campus Flyer



As one of the students who faced disciplinary action at Columbia University for "interrupting/disrupting" white supremacist speakers on campus, A. Kayum Ahmed reflects on his experiences and offers some insights on the question of free speech. Employing Mignolo's framework of 'epistemic disobedience' he contests Columbia University's characterization of free speech as an American value, arguing that it obfuscates deeper underlying concerns about power and violence. Notions of free speech have become a proxy for upholding racism, patriarchy, and oppression, and can be conceived as a mechanism for perpetuating violence—both structural and epistemic—by those in power and by those who control the First Amendment narrative.

A. Kayum Ahmed

Co-sponsored by

The Human Rights Institute &

The Initiative on Campus Dialogues

A. Kayum Ahmed is a Doctoral Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University and an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia Law School. Prior to joining Columbia University as a student and faculty member, Ahmed served as Chief Executive Officer of the South African Human Rights Commission from 2010 to 2015. During his term at the Commission, Ahmed led a team of 178 colleagues to monitor, protect and promote human rights in South Africa, and oversaw the management of nearly 45,000 human rights cases. Following his involvement in anti white supremacist protests at Columbia University, Ahmed was placed on a right wing "Professor Watchlist" whose mission is "to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom."

2.22.18 A. Kayum Ahmed: The Rise of #Fallism

The Rise of #Fallism: Decolonization, Human Rights and Black Pain

A. Kayum Ahmed

Thursday, February 22, 2018
12:30pm - 2:00pm

Humanities Institute Seminar Room
4th Floor, Homer Babbidge Library


Fees Must Fall

When students from the #RhodesMustFall (#RMF) movement threw feces against a statue of British imperialist, Cecil John Rhodes, located at the University of Cape Town (UCT), it ignited student protests not only across South African universities in 2015, but also at the University of Oxford in the U.K. The #RMF movement sought to decolonize education by de-linking from the dominant model of Euro-American knowledge, employing disruptive tactics inspired by decolonial theories such as pan-Africanism, black consciousness and black radical feminism. This process of de-linking appears to have generated an emergent theory of “Fallism” following the fall of the Rhodes statue. Students argue that Fallism can be characterized as a form of public pedagogy that seeks to disrupt existing knowledge structures through radical, performative protest while simultaneously offering creative ways of generating knowledge. At the same time, #RMF rejects human rights discourses despite its entrenchment in South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution raising questions about whether the "human" in human rights incorporates the black body.

A. Kayum Ahmed

Co-sponsored by

The Human Rights Institute &

The Initiative on Campus Dialogues

A. Kayum Ahmed is a Doctoral Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University and an Adjunct Faculty member at Columbia Law School. Prior to joining Columbia University as a student and faculty member, Ahmed served as Chief Executive Officer of the South African Human Rights Commission from 2010 to 2015. During his term at the Commission, Ahmed led a team of 178 colleagues to monitor, protect and promote human rights in South Africa, and oversaw the management of nearly 45,000 human rights cases. Following his involvement in anti white supremacist protests at Columbia University, Ahmed was placed on a right wing "Professor Watchlist" whose mission is "to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom."

3.6.18 Malka Penn Award Ceremony: Suzanne Del Rizzo

Please join us as we present the inaugural

Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature


Suzanne Del Rizzo


My Beautiful Birds Cover


Featuring remarks by the Rev. Ann Plumley

Co-Leader of the Quiet Corner Refugee Resettlement Project


Tuesday, March 6, 2018
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Reception to Follow


Konover Auditorium
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
University of Connecticut

Using simple, poetic language and stunning illustrations created from polymer clay and acrylic paints, the Suzanne Del Rizzo tells the story of a young Syrian boy, Sami, fleeing war with his family.

As Sami struggles with the loss of his home and pet birds, he slowly adjusts to a new life in a refugee camp. Eventually he finds hope in a trio of wild birds, as well as by expressing his feelings through art, and by reaching out to help another refugee child.

About the Author

Suzanne Del Rizzo has always loved getting her hands messy. She traded her job in scientific research for a career in children’s books, creating dimensional illustrations with polymer clay, acrylic paint, and other media. Picture books Suzanne has illustrated include: Skink on the Brink, by Lisa Dalrymple (Fitzhenry &Whiteside, 2013), Gerbil Uncurled, by Alison Hughes (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2015), Sky Pig, by Jan Coates (Pajama Press 2016), and soon to be released Sun Dog, by Deborah Kerbel (Pajama Press, 2018). In 2015, looking for resources to explain the Syrian Civil War to her own children, Suzanne came across the article of a boy who took solace in a connection with wild birds at the Za’atari refugee camp. Struck by the universality of a child’s relationship to animals, she began writing My Beautiful Birds, her debut as author-illustrator. In 2017 My Beautiful Birds was a New York Times Notable Children’s Books selection, a Junior Library Guild selection, and the 2017 One Book, One San Diego for Kids selection. It also won the Malka Penn Award for Human Rights in Children’s Literature and was an honorable mention for the Middle-East Book Award. She lives in Oakville Ontario with her husband and 4 children.




Suzanne Del Rizzo



About the Quiet Corner Refugee Resettlement Project

QCRR (Quiet Corner Refugee Resettlement) is a co-sponsorship partner of IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) responding to the urgent world-wide refugee crisis. QCRR is leading the effort to resettle refugee families in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut through a broad, interfaith team and a strong partnership with WAIM (Windham Area Interfaith Ministries). It is the intent of the QCRR to resettle multiple refugees families in our community over time.

QCRR is led by a volunteer Core Team from various faith communities and walks of life. Though physically based at The First Church of Christ, Congregational, in Mansfield Center, QCRR enjoys the active support of nearly 40 faith communities and over 300 Quiet Corner residents. We invite individuals of good will and community groups of all sorts to join us in this collaborative effort. You can join the email list or obtain more information by emailing qcrr.411@gmail.com.

Malka Penn Award Logo Color

The Malka Penn Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding children’s book addressing human rights issues or themes, such as discrimination, equity, poverty, justice, war, peace, slavery or freedom.  Within these larger themes, the award committee is particularly eager to recognize stories about individuals – real or fictional, children or adults – who have been affected by social injustices, and who, by confronting them, have made a difference in their lives or the lives of others.

The award is named in honor of author Michele Palmer, whose generous gift helped to establish the award.  Ms. Palmer has written over a dozen books for children and adults, including three children’s books under the pseudonym Malka Penn (The Miracle of the Potato Latkes, The Hanukkah Ghosts, and Ghosts and Golems).  Ms. Palmer has also curated numerous art, book, and history exhibits at UConn and elsewhere. One of her exhibits at the Dodd Center – “After Anne Frank: Children’s Books About the Holocaust” – led to her establishing the Malka Penn Collection of Children’s Books on Human Rights in the Archives and Special Collections at the Dodd Center.

Joint Statement from Centers, Institutes, and Programs

January 22, 2018

As leaders of centers, institutes, and programs at the University of Connecticut dedicated to advancing critical understanding of social justice and human rights, we are fully committed to the aim, outlined in the university’s mission, of helping students grow intellectually and become contributing members of society. We pursue this work with full consciousness that many of our programs were created in the wake of social justice movements that sought recognition not only of the rights of marginalized peoples, but also of the obligation on the part of higher education to embrace diversity, cultivate civic responsibility, and promote equity and justice. Our centers, institutes, and programs support research and teaching in fields of knowledge that would not exist but for hard won protections of First Amendment values and academic freedom, and we strive to create robust, rigorous, and responsible intellectual communities among faculty and students of different backgrounds, opinions, and orientations. Critical and productive scholarly inquiry requires environments that foster diverse viewpoints and free and responsible exchange, even–and especially–when those contributions challenge orthodox thinking, wherever on the political spectrum it may be situated.

The invitation to author and media personality Ben Shapiro has provided us an opportunity to reflect on these histories and current objectives of our centers, institutes, and programs, and to reaffirm our essential roles in promoting the university’s core mission of enhancing the social, economic, and cultural well-being of our students and the wider community. We reject the claims of Mr. Shapiro, and those of like-minded individuals and organizations, that our programs are illegitimate or unnecessary university endeavors, and that challenging systemic oppression and seeking more just societies constitutes “brainwashing.” Freedom of expression and academic freedom are essential to promoting diversity of thought and opinion of all members of the community and enable us to engage productively in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Broad participation in these pursuits, however, requires not only speaking but also listening – not only “free speech” but also responsible efforts to understand the speech of others. We urge all members of the community to demonstrate our commitment to these values both in this week and beyond.

The following links showcase our centers, institutes, and programs, and indicate some of the ways in which we are working to promote–through efforts such as the Initiative on Campus Dialogues (https://humilityandconviction.uconn.edu/initiative-on-campus-dialogues/) and the metanoia Together: Confronting Racism (https://together.uconn.edu/)–open and mutually respectful exchange on the burning issues of today. Only through such sustained, painstaking, at times uncomfortable work can we hope to advance our collective understanding of ourselves, each other, and the world around us.

Africana Studies Institute
American Studies Program
Asian and Asian American Studies Institute
Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life
El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies
Humanities Institute
Human Rights Institute
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

Sebastian Wogenstein, Interim Director, Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life
Samuel Martinez, Interim Director, El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean and Latin American Studies
Glenn Mitoma, Director, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Melina Pappademos, Interim Director, Africana Studies Institute
Michael P. Lynch, Director, Humanities Institute
Alexis L. Boylan, Associate Director, Humanities Institute
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Director, Asian and Asian American Studies Institute
Kathryn Libal, Director, Human Rights Institute
Molly Land, Associate Director, Human Rights Institute
Micki McElya, Director, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
Christopher R. Vials, Director, American Studies Program