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Weeklong Tribute to Honor Life and Work of Barbara Jordan Feb 21-25

Event Details

Monday, February 21, 2011 (All day) - Friday, February 25, 2011 (All day)

The LBJ School of Public Affairs
2315 Red River St.
Austin, TX 78713

LBJ School of Public Affairs Joins with The Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation to Commemorate Jordan’s Landmark 75th Birthday

Texas Senator Rodney Ellis to Keynote Opening Day’s Symposium

AUSTIN, Texas-- February 8, 2011 -- To commemorate the landmark occasion of the 75th birthday of Barbara Jordan, the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will honor her with a week of planned activities taking place Feb. 21 through Feb. 25 at locations throughout the LBJ School. Faculty, students, and research centers across the LBJ School will participate in this week designed to highlight Jordan’s lifetime of remarkable and significant contributions to our nation and society as politician, policymaker, activist and educator.

To kick-off the weeklong tribute, the LBJ School partnered with the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation to present a daylong symposium titled “The Promise of Freedom, Justice and Democracy in America” on Monday, Feb. 21, President’s Day, which included a keynote luncheon featuring The Honorable Rodney G. Ellis, Texas State Senator. Ellis, LBJ School alumnus and Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation board member, was elected to the Texas Senate in 1990 and currently holds the same senate seat as Barbara Jordan. During his tenure, Ellis has earned praise as a leader on economic development, education, civil rights, responsible environmental policy, tax cuts for the middle class, criminal justice and workforce development.

"The landmark occasion of Barbara Jordan's 75th birthday provides us a unique opportunity to celebrate the life of one of our country's most distinguished public servants and a cherished member of our LBJ School family," said Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. "It is particularly fitting that Rodney Ellis, a distinguished graduate of the LBJ School and the current holder of Barbara Jordan's Texas Senate seat, has the distinction of providing the major keynote address for this tribute. Senator Ellis personifies the spirit of Barbara Jordan as a champion of education, civil rights and criminal justice in his work in the Texas Senate. As part of our continuing celebration of the School’s 40th anniversary, having an LBJ School alumnus as well as our current students play such integral parts in our tribute to Barbara Jordan, reinforces the connection of public service across the generations of our LBJ School community."

The week’s activities will continue with a series of student-organized forums “The America We Share: Pursuing a Common Destiny” highlighting policy areas championed by Jordan including environmental law, juvenile justice, disability, and women in government and equality.

“The Promise of Freedom, Justice and Democracy in America” on Monday, Feb. 21, had a morning and an afternoon session. The morning session, “The Promise of Democracy,” was presented by the LBJ School’s Center for Politics and Governance (CPG), and focuses on the topics of WikiLeaks, including public policy and government transparency, as well as the Voting Rights Act and elections, all key issues of the Center and central to the democratic principles championed by Barbara Jordan.

The afternoon session, “The Promise of Freedom and Justice,” was sponsored by the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation and focused on issues of education and early childhood intervention, juvenile justice, criminal justice and race. The event marked the launch of the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation, a new organization dedicated to perpetuating the legacy of Barbara Jordan by inspiring Americans to achieve the promise of freedom and justice for all people, by promoting the success of children through early childhood opportunities and effective education, and by confronting injustices and inequities in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Previously, LBJ School students have honored Barbara Jordan with a daylong symposium but have extended the tribute, “The America We Share: Pursuing a Common Destiny” to include an entire week of events to better demonstrate the breadth and depth of Jordan’s contributions to government, policy and culture A complete list of student-organized forums is listed below and for more or more information on the events please visit

Additionally, the LBJ School student body will participate in a fundraising project designed to provide every classroom at the Austin Independent School District’s Barbara Jordan Elementary School with biographies of Barbara Jordan. For more information on the student fundraising project, visit their website at

This week-long celebration of the life and work of Barbara Jordan is part of the ongoing 40th anniversary celebration (LBJ@40) commemorating the first four decades of the LBJ School and its ongoing role in public policy teaching and research. Organized around signature events throughout the year, LBJ@40 is designed to highlight and commend the ideas and ideals that define the LBJ School— past, present and future.


Barbara Jordan to be Honored - The Austin American Statesman, Feb. 18, 2011

LBJ School, Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation host symposium - Texas Government Insider, Feb. 18, 2011

Legislators plan to honor Barbara Jordan - The Daily Texan, Feb. 22, 2011

Barbara Jordan Week Events
February 21 – February 25

Monday, February 21, 2011
“The Promise of Freedom, Justice and Democracy in America” – A daylong symposium honoring the life and work of Barbara Jordan

The Promise of Democracy” Morning Session Sponsored by The Center for Politics and Governance
Bass Lecture Hall – The LBJ School of Public Affairs

9:00 a.m. – Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – “WikiLeaks: Differing Perspectives”

Wanda Cash, Associate Director of The University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism
Ross Ramsey, The Texas Tribune and Texas Weekly
Angela Newell, LBJ School of Public Affairs Ph.D. student
Admiral Bobby R. Inman (U.S. Navy, Ret.). Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy
Moderated by: Sherri Greenberg, interim director for the Center for Politics and Governance

10:40 p.m. – 11:45 p.m. – “Voting Rights Act Today”

Dr. Henry Flores, Dean of Graduate Studies at St. Mary's University
Jeff Archer, Director and Chief Legislative Counsel of the Texas Legislative COuncil
Paul Stekler, Radio, Television and Film Department Chair, College of Communications at The University of Texas at Austin
Moderated by: Jim Henson, Director of the Texas Politics Project

Lunchtime Keynote by Texas Senator Rodney Ellis
12:00 p.m. – First Floor Lobby of the LBJ School of Public Affairs

To RSVP for the keynote luncheon, visit:

“The Promise of Freedom and Justice” Afternoon Session Sponsored by The Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation
Bass Lecture Hall – The LBJ School of Public Affairs

1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. – “Reducing Risk and Building Strength Through Educational Reform and Early Childhood Interventions”
Roundtable discussion with:
Dr. Gregory Vincent, UT Vice-President for Diversity and Community Engagement
Prof. Norma Cantu, UT College of Education and School of Law
Kara Johnson, Texas Early Childhood Education Coalition
Prof. Julian Heilig, UT College of Education
Dr. Lynda Frost, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – “The Need for Juvenile Justice Reform”
Lead Speaker: Shay Bilchik, former head of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and Executive Director, Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform

Vicki Spriggs, Executive Director, Texas Juvenile Probation Commission
Senior District Judge Jeanne Meurer, Travis County juvenile judge
Prof. David Springer, UT School of Social Work

4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. – “Mass Incarceration, Race, and Criminal Justice Reform”
Lead Speaker: Marc Mauer, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project

Steve Martin, Attorney and Corrections Consultant; author of “Texas Prisons: The Walls Came Tumbling Down”
District Judge John Creuzot, Dallas County criminal judge (invited)
Ana Yanez Correa, Executive Director, Texas Criminal Justice Coalition


“The America We Share: Pursuing a Common Destiny” Student Forums

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
12 p.m. –“Racial Inequities in the School to Prison Pipeline”
Sponsored by Social, Health, Economic, and Education Policymakers (SHEP)
SRH 3.122

Barbara Jordan strove to correct social and racial injustices in the United States and the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation continues in this vein by addressing injustices in the adult and juvenile judicial systems. SHEP will add to the conversation with a Brown Bag discussion on “Racial Inequities in the School to Prison Pipeline” with featured speaker Deborah Fowler of Texas Appleseed.

Founded in April 2007, SHEP serves as a forum for the exchange of information on social, health, and economic policy issues. SHEP also functions as an organization to promote awareness of social, health, and economic policy at The University of Texas at Austin and as a community for those interested in related topics.

5:30 p.m. – “Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder” Literary Discussion
Sponsored by the LBJ Journal and the Public Affairs Alliance for Communities of Color (PAACC) Bass Lecture Hall

To honor the legacy of Barbara Jordan, The LBJ Journal and PAACC have partnered to sponsor a discussion on the book, Barbara Jordan: Speaking the Truth with Eloquent Thunder. The book’s editor and former LBJ School Dean Max Sherman will lead the discussion.

PAACC's mission is to promote awareness and understanding of policy issues affecting communities of color by initiating dialogue, activities, and programs within the LBJ School community. Through these efforts, PAACC strives to contribute to the education of future policymakers

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
12 p.m. – “Disability Policy: Current Issues and Concerns”
Sponsored by Chris Rodriguez
SRH 3.124

In light of the current economic climate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are fighting to secure funding for community based services. “Disability Policy: Current Issues and Concerns” will explore the current challenges facing Texans with disabilities. Representatives from The Arc of Texas, Advocacy Inc. and The Center for Disability Studies will be in attendance.

5:30 p.m. – “Environmental Justice in Texas”
Sponsored by The Green Society
Bass Lecture Hall
The Green Society, in conjunction with a panel of local, state, and federal experts, presents “Environmental Justice in Texas.” Learn about the major environmental justice initiatives, challenges, and progress found here in Texas.

The Green Society’s goal is for policy students to learn more about local and national environmental issues. The club facilitates engagement of the LBJ School with the greater environmental community across Austin and the university. The Green Society oversees the recycling efforts at the LBJ School and serves as the go-between with the sustainability office, other university environmental groups and LBJ students.

Thursday, February 24, 2011
12 p.m. –GPAC Brown Bag featuring Lt. General Romeo Dallaire
Sponsored by the Graduate Public Affairs Council (GPAC) and the Center for Ethical Leadership
SRH 3.122

The GPAC Brown Bag will present Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, Senior Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) and Co-Director of the MIGS Will to Intervene Project.

The Graduate Public Affairs Council (GPAC) is the university-recognized student government body of the LBJ School. GPAC facilitates student initiatives; fosters discussion and decision-making; and represents and engages in advocacy on behalf of students and their concerns.

5:30 p.m. – “Women in Politics: Equality of Voice”
Sponsored by Citizens for Local and State Service (CLASS)
SRH 3.124

CLASS will host the panel discussion “Women in Politics: Equality of Voice” to honor Barbara Jordan’s legacy as a policy and lawmaker. The panel will explore Jordan’s contribution to legitimizing the role of women and minorities in politics, and how Jordan’s pursuit of equality and freedom live on today. The panel will feature the following speakers: Texas State Representatives Dawnna Dukes and Donna Howard; Dr. Marsha Farney, Member of the State Board of Education; and Austin City Council Member Sheryl Cole. The panel will be moderated by Professor Sherri Greenberg, Interim Director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School and former Texas State Representative.

Citizens for Local and State Service (CLASS) is a student-run organization focused on bringing more attention to the importance of involvement in our local communities. CLASS creates hands-on opportunities to involve and familiarize students with the machinery of local government.

GPAC’s Outreach and Professional Development Committee will sponsor a light reception immediately following the discussion.

Friday, February 25, 2011
12:15 – 2:15 p.m.--“From Time Out to Hard Time: Young Children in the Adult Criminal Justice System” featuring Prof. Michele Deitch
Sponsored by the Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) and Social, Health, Economic, and Education Policymakers (SHEP)
SRH 3.122
Bass Lecture Hall

The Center for Health and Social Policy and SHEP present LBJ School Senior Lecturer Michele Deitch, a Board member of the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation and an expert on juvenile justice and criminal justice policy. She will discuss the prevalence and implications of trying juveniles as adults and incarcerating them in adult prisons and jails.

More on Barbara Jordan:

As an elected official, Barbara Jordan accomplished many firsts. She was the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction (1966-72), the first African American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from the South (1972-78), and the first to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention (the Democratic Convention in 1976; she spoke at the convention again in 1992). Her riveting appearance in the Watergate hearings in 1974 helped revitalize many Americans’ belief in the strength of the U.S. Constitution.

After leaving the Congress, she taught at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin (1979-96). During this time, she also served as ethics counsel to Governor Ann Richards. “Ethical behavior means being honest, telling the truth, and doing what you said you were going to do,” she said. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest award to a civilian, by President Bill Clinton in 1994.

Ms. Jordan died January 17, 1996, a month short of her 60th birthday. She was buried at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, the first African American woman to be interred there.