'Extending the power of the people:' The 22nd annual Barbara Jordan National Forum | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
LBJ students Sarah Gonzalez Claytor and Hanna Munin, LBJ Professor Michele Deitch, Dallas Co DA John Creuzot, LBJ student Joel Carter and LBJ Dean Angela Evans
LBJ students Sarah Gonzalez Claytor and Hanna Munin, LBJ Professor Michele Deitch, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, LBJ student Joel Carter and LBJ Dean Angela Evans after Creuzot's keynote address for the 22nd annual Barbara Jordan National Forum on Feb. 25, 2019. (Photo by Callie Richmond)


The weeklong celebration of Jordan's accomplishments and influence highlighted issues and policies that were important to her.

Citizenship and power were central to the theme of the 22nd annual Barbara Jordan National Forum, the signature, student-led weeklong program that pays tribute to the life and legacy of former congresswoman, distinguished public servant and teacher Barbara Jordan. This year's celebration, on the theme "Extending the Power of the People," took place Feb. 18–22, and was inspired by Jordan's words: "We believe that the people are the source of all governmental power; that the authority of the people is to be extended, not restricted."

The week featured events including an elementary school book drive, an interactive exhibit at the Texas State Capitol, programming on women in politics, ethics and public service values, diverse voices in politics and culture, and activism in Texas, as well as a keynote address on criminal justice reform by Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot. Below is a sample of what took place.


Feb. 10–16: The Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation displayed an interactive exhibit of Barbara Jordan's life at the Texas Capitol

On Feb. 12, Dr. Peniel Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) at The University of Texas at Austin and Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School, participated in a special media preview as the media representative of the Barbara Jordan exhibit.

Dr. Joseph's social media takeover at the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation exhibit at the Texas Capitol:


With one of the many people Barbara Jordan touched!

A post shared by TheLBJSchool (@thelbjschool) on


Tuesday, Feb. 19: "Be The Next Barbara Jordan"

This panel, hosted by the Feminist Policy Alliance and Pride Policy Alliance, put students face to face with elected officials to share insight on what it looks like to run for office and serve, and to inspire students to take what they've learned and enter the political realm. Guests: Rep. Jessica González (D-104), Rep. Vicki Goodwin (D-47), Rep. Shawn Thierry (D-146) and Monica Gomez (political director, Annie's List).


Tuesday, Feb. 19: "Traffic Stop" screening at the Texas State Capitol

The documentary about the violent arrest of Austin schoolteacher Breaion King was followed by a panel discussion with Ms. King, her attorney, Erica Grigg, and directors David Heilbroner and Kate Davis, and moderated by the LBJ School's Michele Deitch.


Wednesday, Feb. 20: "Her Voice Stirred the Nation"

This discussion, hosted by PAACC, featured Virginia Cumberbatch (MPAff '16), director of the Community Engagement Center (CEC) at the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at UT, Kahron Spearman of the Austin Chronicle and Hopeton Hay of KAZI 88.7 FM, moderated by Dr. Peniel Joseph


Wednesday, Feb. 20: "Being an Activist in Texas"

This panel featured Susana Almanza of PODER, Kristina Brown of Counterbalance: ATX, reproductive justice and queer activist Heather Frederick and Alejandrina Guzman, former UT student body president.


Thursday, Feb. 21: Barbara Jordan Elementary School

Professor Edwin Dorn, former dean of the LBJ School, delivered a fantastic keynote speech at the Barbara Jordan Elementary School's annual assembly celebrating the birthday of its namesake.


Thursday, Feb. 21: "Empowering Women in Politics"

The LBJ School's Social Policy Network and Feminist Policy Alliance hosted the conversation featuring Texas Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos (D-102), Melissa McRoy Shearer (Travis County mental health public defender), Rosie Trulove (City of Austin Neighborhood Housing and Community Development director) and Velva Price (Travis County district clerk).


Monday, Feb. 25: Barbara Jordan National Forum Keynote: Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot

District Attorney John Creuzot is a retired judge and award-winning lawyer who has more than three decades of experience in the criminal justice system, including as a felony district court judge, Dallas County assistant district attorney and chief felony prosecutor, as well as a criminal defense lawyer in private practice. He took office in January with a new plan for criminal justice in his jurisdiction: to prosecute only violent criminals. For lesser offenses his office will seek alternatives and dismiss all first-time cases of marijuana possession in small amounts. Too many people who do not threaten public safety have ended up in jail, he said, which is too expensive. Creuzot also joined LBJ School Dean Angela Evans for the "Policy on Purpose" podcast.