Social Justice the Theme of 2020 Presidential Speaker Series

Events headlined by ‘How to be an Antiracist’ author Ibram X. Kendi

ALMA — Creating a more just society is the focus of Alma College’s Presidential Speaker Series, with a wide variety of lecturers focused on topics of social justice, equity, faith, sustainability and more.

Ibram X. Kendi Ibram X. KendiIbram X. Kendi, the National Book Award-winning and multiple-time New York Times bestselling author, highlights the series, with a speech scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11 at the Oscar E. Remick Heritage Center for the Performing Arts, which will be broadcast on Zoom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only students, staff and faculty of Alma College will be permitted to attend the in-person event, although the public is welcome to attend the Zoom broadcast.

“We are delighted to host a diverse group of speakers on this most important subject at the Presidential Speaker Series,” Alma College President Jeff Abernathy said. “We trust our campus community will find the Speaker Series to be enlightening and empowering. Listening, learning and having thoughtful, open conversations about these issues is the first step of many we will take to closing the gaps that exist in our social structures on across the nation and on campus.”

Kendi is the author of “The Black Campus Movement,” which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016.

His latest, “How to be an Antiracist,” made several Best Books of 2019 lists and was described in The New York Times as “the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”

“Ibram Kendi is one of the nation’s leading scholars of racism, who has for many years consistently dropped original, new ideas into the dialogue of diversity and justice in America,” said Andrew Pomerville, chaplain and director of spiritual life, who organized the series. “We’re very excited to host him and our slate of speakers this year.”

Brian Calley Brian CalleyJoining Kendi as part of the speaker series will be former Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, on Zoom. Calley, who served as lieutenant governor from 2011-19, will speak on subjects of social justice and they relate to state business and government. The public is welcome.

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the founder/CEO of the nonprofit organization Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, will be speaking on justice in education in Uganda at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, on Zoom. The public is welcome.

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri Twesigye Jackson KaguriIn 2001, Kaguri founded the group, which provides free education to children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS. In addition to two schools, it also operates a library, desire farm and nutrition program, medical clinic, clean water system, and a support program for the grandmothers who care for up to 14 children at a time.

The Presidential Speaker Series schedule will continue to be updated and will extend into the winter 2021 semester. For the most up-to-date speaker schedule and information on how to access each event virtually, visit

Story published on October 19, 2020