In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at the LBJ School hosted award-winning playwright and scholar Lisa B. Thompson to discuss how MLK's political thought and activism continue to bridge gaps between our moral imagination and civic discourse, especially in this time of political polarization. Panelists discussed the following questions: How can we utilize MLK's model of leadership to confront racial, political, economic and ideological divisions? In what ways are we able to build consensus around the very ideal of democracy in such precarious times? What happens if we fail to meet this political, moral and policy challenge?



Peniel Joseph, Ph.D.

Dr. Peniel Joseph

Professor of Public Affairs; Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values; Founding Director, Center for the Study of Race and Democracy; Inaugural Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin.

A fellowship recipient of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Ford Foundation and Harvard University's Charles Warren Center, Dr. Joseph serves as a frequent commentator on race and social justice. His work has appeared in multiple national publications, and he has authored award-winning books, Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America, Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama and Stokely: A Life. He recently published The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X. and Martin Luther King Jr.


Estevan D. Delgado (MPAff '18)

Estevan Delgado

Estevan Daniel Delgado is the director for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Delgado currently sits on the leadership committee for the HABLA Y VOTA Action Fund, the Todos Juntos Learning Center Board of Directors, and the executive committee for the Association of Rice Alumni (ARA) Board of Directors. As part of his appointment to the ARA, Delgado also serves as Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee co-chair for the global organization.


Lisa B. Thompson, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa B. Thompson

Dr. Lisa B. Thompson is an award-winning playwright, scholar and professor of African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of three books: Beyond The Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class (University of Illinois Press, 2009); Single Black Female (Samuel French Inc. 2012); and Underground, Monroe, and The Mamalogues: Three Plays (Northwestern University Press, 2020). Thompson has received teaching awards from the Texas Exes and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. She is also co-host of "Black Austin Matters," a podcast on KUT launched in November 2021, with Dr. Richard Reddick, the inaugural Associate Dean for Equity, Community Engagement, and Outreach at the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin.


Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD)