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Delivering Democracy Lecture features actor Forest Whitaker

portrait of actor Forest Whitaker
April 18, 2014

The word “democracy” is one of the most recognized, venerated and misunderstood terms in the English language. Its potential, however, has yet to be fully realized, because it is routinely distorted, misjudged and exploited. In order for democracy to flourish, its origins, evolution and potency must be discussed and nurtured by visionaries from various walks of life.

The Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy will treat Phoenicians to a timely and creative discussion of the promise of American Democracy featuring Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian Forest Whitaker. The inaugural Delivering Democracy Lecture will take place at 6:30 p.m., April 22 at the Pilgrim Rest Chapel Church, 1401 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix.

"Forest Whitaker is not only a decorated actor and filmmaker, he is a passionate proponent of self-determination and civic engagement. Phoenicians will not want to miss this extraordinary event," said Matthew C. Whitaker, foundation professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

Whitaker is one of the world’s most accomplished actors, directors, producers and activists, and when chosen as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, their leading American diplomat declared that Whitaker was considered “the perfect choice” because “he exemplifies compassion in every area of his life, with humility and grace. He does this because it’s the right thing to do.”

The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy serves as a leading interdisciplinary, problem-solving venture committed to engaged scholarship and informed dialogue involving the topics of race and democracy. The center serves as a hub of scholarly activity at Arizona State University, and a source of expert opinion and professional support on matters of race and democracy at the local, state, national and international levels. Researchers and practitioners affiliated with the center are tasked with expanding the study of race and democracy beyond the black/white binary, understanding that race and participatory democracy intersect with gender, class, religion, sexuality and nationality.

The center facilitates scholarly research and publications, interdisciplinary study, discourse and debate on cutting-edge issues related to race and democracy, broadly construed. It also provides experiential opportunities for faculty and students to engage in public service through, for example, local, national and international programs, internships and fellowships, and the center administers community service projects that serve underrepresented institutions in the greater metropolitan Phoenix area.

For more information about the lecture, visit