Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media and the Montclair Art Museum announced a partnership that will begin with a panel discussion on Monday, November 12 at 7 p.m. at the Alexander Kasser Theater on the intersection of social justice, race, media and art. This inaugural event, titled, “From Kara Walker to Colin Kaepernick: Racial Justice through Media and Art, a Conversation,” will feature Soledad O’Brien, Joy Reid and Kai Wright as panelists. James E. Johnson of the Brennan Center for Social Justice will moderate the discussion. The event is free and open to the public.
The panel discussion is being framed by the Museum’s fall exhibition titled, “Kara Walker: Virginia’s Lynch Mob and Other Works,” and also uses the 50th anniversary of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy – and their respective coverage – as a backdrop proving ample perspective of our nation’s struggles and progress.
Keith Strudler, director of the School of Communication and Media, believes this event provides a strong perspective on a critical topic from some of our nation’s most engaging thought leaders. “We are so thrilled to have such amazing guests visiting our campus and speaking with our various publics, including our local community, civic leaders and organizations, and our campus community.” noted Strudler. “I truly believe that is one of the essential privileges and responsibilities of top Schools of Communication and Media like ours – to host important conversations about the confluence of media and social issues that collectively move our society forward.”
According to Montclair Art Museum Director Lora Urbanelli, the Museum is excited to partner with Montclair State University on this important event. “In presenting the work of Kara Walker, a prominent African-American artist who explores race, gender, sexuality and violence in her work, we were aware that her methods and medium can be galvanizing and controversial,” said Urbanelli. “A major goal for the Museum was fostering community dialogue around the persistent legacy of racial discord in America, and the powerful place of art and media in our contemporary lives.”
Soledad O’Brien is the anchor for Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, a nationally syndicated weekly political show on Hearst Television. She is also a correspondent for HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. O’Brien has also appeared as a television anchor for NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Al Jazeera America. She co-hosted CNN’s America Morning and Weekend Today on NBC.
Joy Reid is a political analyst for MSNBC and host of AM Joy. She is also the author of the book, Fracture: Barrack Obama, the Clintons and Racial Divide and co-editor of We Are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama.
Kai Wright is the host of WNYC’s podcast There Goes the Neighborhood and is editor and host of WNYC’s Narrative Unit and a columnist for The Nation magazine. He is the former editorial director of Colorlines and a longtime fellow of the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute. Wright is the author of Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York as well as two books on African-American history.