'We the People:' 23rd Barbara Jordan National Forum focused on inclusion and social justice | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin
LBJ students Aaron Escajeda, Sarah Gonzalez Claytor and Joel Carter with BJNF keynote speaker Jehmu Greene, LBJ Dean Angela Evans and Professor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto
LBJ students Aaron Escajeda, Sarah Gonzalez Claytor and Joel Carter, co-chairs of the 23rd Barbara Jordan National
Forum, with keynote speaker Jehmu Greene, LBJ Dean Angela Evans and Professor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, assistant
dean for civic engagement. (Photo by Callie Richmond)

 

The weeklong, student-led celebration of Jordan's legacy concentrated on the struggle against inequality and the fight for justice.

Inclusion and social justice were central to the 23rd annual Barbara Jordan National Forum, the signature, student-led weeklong program honoring the life and legacy of former congresswoman, distinguished public servant and teacher Barbara Jordan Feb. 17–21, 2020. This year's theme, "We, the People," is inspired by Jordan's words:

The week, planned by LBJ School students Joel Carter, Aaron Escajeda and Sarah Gonzalez Claytor in conjunction with Professors Peniel Joseph and Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, featured conversations about community outreach and networking; the far-reaching accomplishments of Barbara Jordan; the legacy of black land ownership; and a keynote by TV commentator, social justice advocate and former Rock the Vote president Jehmu Greene. It kicked off with an interactive exhibit at the Texas State Capitol presented by the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation about Jordan's impact on social justice, female empowerment and education, and ended at Barbara Jordan Elementary School, where students celebrated the annual Barbara Jordan Day with speeches and performances and an address by Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza.

 

Feb. 15–22: The Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation displayed an interactive exhibit of Barbara Jordan's life at the Texas Capitol

On Feb. 18, 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.

 

Tuesday, Feb. 18: "Barbara Jordan's Legacy"

Hosted by the Policy Alliance for Communities of Color (PACC), this event featured Professors Joseph and Edwin Dorn in conversation on the legacy of Barbara Jordan — from her activism during the Civil Rights Movement to her relationship with President Lyndon B. Johnson and her leadership at the LBJ School.

 

Wednesday, Feb. 19: "The Legacy of Black Land Ownership"

This panel featured Angela Provost and June Provost of Provost Farm, farmers in Louisiana who can trace the family line to generations of enslaved workers on the state's sugar cane plantations. Their story was featured on the New York Times' "1619" podcast (Episode 5: "The Land of Our Fathers, Part 1" | Episode 5: "The Land of Our Fathers, Part 2"), and they joined LBJ students and the public for a conversation moderated by Austin community leader Terri Broussard Williams.

 

Thursday, Feb. 20: Barbara Jordan National Forum Keynote: Jehmu Greene

TV commentator, social justice advocate and former Rock the Vote president Jehmu Greene is a child of former undocumented immigrants, a community organizer, a media strategist and a proud Texan. She's also a visionary social justice advocate and authentic political commentator who is out to disrupt politics with thoughtful, provocative insight through speaking and writing.

 

Friday, Feb. 21: Barbara Jordan Elementary School

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza delivered the keynote speech about equality and representation at the Barbara Jordan Elementary School's annual assembly celebrating the birthday of its namesake. The program also included inspiring speeches and beautiful musical performances by Barbara Jordan Elementary students.