Civil rights speaker to visit downtown Phoenix - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Civil rights speaker to visit downtown Phoenix

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Posted: Friday, April 4, 2008 2:55 pm | Updated: 12:04 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Art, music and civil rights lectures will be included in one event today in downtown Phoenx.

These three things are part of First Friday, a Phoenix art festival held on the first Friday of every month.

Juan Williams, who hosted Talk of the Nation from 2000 to 2001, will speak at the University Center at Arizona State University's Downtown Campus during the event.

Williams was involved with AARP's Voices of Civil Rights project in 2004 and a well-known senior correspondent to NPR. He is the author of nine books.

Raul Yzaguirre, the executive director for Community Development and Civil Rights at the downtown campus, helped coordinate Willliams' visit to the Valley.

"Raul Yzaguirre has been inviting leading figures to speak to the community," said Alex Perilla, the director of community development and a civil rights service professional. "This is actually the fourth lecture in this series."

Williams will discuss his thoughts on civil rights and how the importances of these rights are present or lacking in society today.

"The main focus on this lecture will be the role of civil rights leaders in contemporary United States society," said Leticia de la Vara, an academic associate for Community Development and Civil Rights at the downtown campus. "This lecture will be on how civil rights has progressed, changed from the traditional leader of the past, and how people culturally look at what we see as the role of civil rights leaders."

Both de la Vara and Perilla said these lectures will make a positive impact on the audience.

"I hope that everyone will have a broader understanding of the contemporary civil rights issue," Perilla said. "Williams is at the forefront of addressing this controversial topic."

De la Vara said she hopes the lecture will spur debate on these issues.

"The purpose is to get people engaged and take action," she said. "We want it to be a springboard to the community to further discuss issues and how civil rights still affects people. Our goal is to charge up the desire to be engaged and be active."

Williams will be speaking at the University Center lobby at 411 N. Central Ave.

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