The annual Hibbert R. Roberts Lecture in Public Policy was established to honor Dr. Roberts, the chair of the Department of Political Science for 22 years (1969–1992), whose vision still shapes the department today.
2015 speaker: Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou
The Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou delivered Illinois State's 2015 Hibbert R. Roberts Lecture in Public Policy on October 15 in front of a standing room-only crowd of over 800 in Capen Auditorium.
Rev. Sekou is a prominent activist, author, and theologian who has helped train thousands in nonviolent civil disobedience, and has been a central figure in the mobilizations in Ferguson, Missouri, over the past year. He is currently the inaugural Bayard Rustin Fellow for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, one of the oldest and most storied peace and nonviolence organizations in the country.
Reverend Sekou's lecture was entitled "A New Civil Rights Movement? Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and the Future of Nonviolence." He discussed several mythologies our society has created around the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, as well as a number of similarities and differences between that earlier movement and today's Black Lives Matter movement. He argued that while militant nonviolent civil disobedience features in both movements, today's movements increasingly reject traditional forms of leadership, are less concerned with respectability politics, and are more disillusioned with the ability of the state to bring about social justice. He also emphasized the central role of millennials in creating social change today.
The event was sponsored by the Department of Politics and Government and the Sage Foundation at Illinois State University.