As part of the greater Milwaukee community and in accordance with our guiding values, Marquette University is committed to nurturing “an inclusive, diverse community that fosters new opportunities, partnerships, collaboration, and vigorous yet respectful debate.” In light of this commitment, Marquette is launching a forum to engage students, faculty, staff and residents of greater Milwaukee in a yearlong series of inclusive conversations, bringing experts of national renown together with those from the Marquette and Milwaukee communities.
Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, activist and author
The inaugural year of the forum will explore the theme of “Freedom Dreams Now.” For historian Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, “freedom dreams” is a way of talking about how African-American thinkers and activists have consistently affirmed the power of the imagination to transform society. Freedom dreams are visions of the future that defy convention or expectation; they are dreams of liberation, rooted in love, fashioned in struggle, seeking to conjure a world where everyone’s humanity is fully realized. They have been especially important in times of struggle, such as now in Milwaukee, when systemic obstacles standing in the way of freedom dreams seem difficult to overcome.
Black freedom dreams and movements have inspired, energized and lent strength to all social justice movements in the United States, from movements for women’s rights, LGBT equality and inclusion for people with disabilities, to struggles for peace and justice. Through lectures, films, discussions, dialogue dinners and other events, Marquette University invites the campus and Milwaukee’s communities to dive deep into thinking about 20th- and 21st-century Black freedom struggles and the multitude of freedom dreams they inspire, locally and around the world. To this end, we will be joined by Dr. Angela Davis, a living witness to history and important struggles of our contemporary era, who will deliver a distinguished lecture in spring 2017.
Inspired by visions of inclusion and a better world emerging from Black freedom struggles, we hope to look with new eyes at the challenges that inequality presents on the national level and in our city. These local challenges include the nation’s highest rate of residential segregation by race and income, intersecting crises of underemployment and incarceration, and too little communication between our neighborhoods and across cultural divisions. As a Catholic, Jesuit University, we are rooted in our mission of “the search for truth, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others.” Through this mission, Marquette University is committed to reaching beyond traditional academic boundaries and embrace new and collaborative methods of teaching, learning, research and service in an inclusive environment that supports all members of Marquette and Milwaukee. We seek to energize our campus and engage the communities of Milwaukee by asking what freedom dreams now inspire us, and what changes need to be made collectively to bring them closer to reality.