This press release comes from Todd Stoltzfus, Program Director, Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) Program, Transformative Learning in the Division of Undergraduate Education:
The tragic massacre of 9 African American congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC and subsequent removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol generated a national conversation on the appropriateness of Confederate symbols and imagery in the public space. Kentucky has found itself in the middle of this conversation, with public debate centering on the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the Frankfort capitol rotunda and the statute of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan at the old Fayette County Courthouse.
Confederate imagery – flags, monuments, statues, and paintings – are regarded by many as symbols of racism and slavery that should be removed from the public square. Others view them as historic artifacts that remind us of our complicated past and should not be hidden away. Still others consider Confederate symbols, including the rebel battle flag, as emblems of Southern heritage and pride.
In recognition of Constitution Day, the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) Program and Undergraduate Education at the University of Kentucky will host the town hall forum “The Power of Symbols: Confederate Imagery in the Public Space.” This town hall forum will explore diverse issues and perspectives regarding the exhibition of Confederate monuments, flags, and symbols on public land and in public buildings. Panelist will thoughtfully and respectfully explore the history of Confederate images, elicit public discussion regarding the influence of Confederate symbols, and explore potential responses and resolutions for moving forward. Moderated by Associate Provost Ben Withers, the panel includes Professor Arnold Farr (Philosophy, UK), John Johnson (Executive Director, Kentucky Human Rights Commission), Nan Plummer (President, Lex Arts), and Professor Mark Summers (History, UK). Questions and comments on this topic can be tweeted @UKYCNP with the hashtag #UKYTownHall for inclusion during the forum.
This town hall forum will be held on Thursday, September 17, 2015 from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. in the University of Kentucky’s William T. Young Library Auditorium, located at 401 Hilltop Ave., Lexington, KY. The forum is open to the public. Community members, students and faculty at the University of Kentucky, and surrounding colleges and universities are encouraged to attend. Free parking is available in PS#2 which is at the west end of Hilltop Drive. Download a flyer here.
UK will also host a number of other Constitution Day events. For more information on the town hall forum or other Constitution Day events, please visit the UK Undergraduate Education website at http://www.uky.edu/UGE/constitution-day. The press is invited to cover this event.