Diversity leadership symposia to feature Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson Sr.
Jesse Jackson Sr.

UNL will host three national speakers next month, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., as part of an annual Diversity Leadership Symposia.

UNL's Gaughan Multicultural Center and Office of Admissions are partnering on the symposia for the first time to develop the event into a student retention and public engagement opportunity. Each speaker will address a group of prospective students and a broader audience from the campus community.

The Nebraska American Indian Leadership Symposium will feature Lincoln native Jai Steadman, assistant coach for the NBA Development League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers, at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 7. At 5 p.m. on Nov. 10, the Nebraska Latino Leadership Symposium will feature author Andres Lara. The talks by Steadman and Lara will be at the Gaughan Multicultural Center. Seating is limited.

And on Nov. 30, Jackson will be the keynote speaker for the Nebraska Black Leadership Symposium, at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. His 11:30 a.m. speech will be a ticketed event (more information is below), with availability for the general public to obtain tickets beginning Nov. 14. Jackson's address will be live-streamed at http://go.unl.edu/DLS.

Jackson is one of America's foremost civil rights, religious and political figures. Over the past 40 years, he has played a pivotal role in virtually every movement for empowerment, peace, civil rights, gender equality, and economic and social justice. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded Jackson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. President and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Jackson has been called the "conscience of the nation" and "the great unifier," challenging America to establish just and humane priorities. He is known for bringing people together on common ground across lines of race, class, gender and belief.

Jackson's speech, "There's Still More to Be Done," will be followed by a question-and-answer session with select audience members.

Steadman is entering his third season as an assistant coach for the NBA Development League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers in McAllen, Texas. The Lincoln native graduated from UNL, where he began his coaching career as an administrative assistant from 1992 to 1997. Adopted as an infant, the 40-year-old Steadman learned just two years ago that his biological mother was a member of the Ponca tribe. He has since embarked on a journey of self-discovery to not only learn about his own roots, but to give back to those who have welcomed him with open arms into the Ponca family.

Homeless at 16 and a millionaire at 26, Lara is the author of several books, including "Inspiring The Sleeping Giant Within," published in Korea, Africa and the United States; "How To Stay Motivated During Difficult Times," and "The Finish Line." He is chief executive officer of A. Success Training, former president of Inspiration Magazine, and a nationally known speaker. At the age of 16, Lara escaped Cuba and arrived in America not knowing a word of English, without his parents, money or a home.

Free tickets for reserved seating for Jackson's speech will be available at the Lied Center Ticket Office, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, beginning on the following dates: Nov. 1 for UNL students with a valid NCard; Nov. 7 for UNL faculty and staff; and Nov. 14 for the general public. There is a two-ticket limit per person.

High school student registration for all three symposia is online at http://go.unl.edu/leadership.

— Andy Schadwinkel, University Communications