INSIDE Chico State
0 March 8, 2001
Volume 31 Number 12
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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UPFRONT

Civil Rights Activist Addresses Tolerance

Morris Dees, who has won historic lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups, will speak in Laxson Auditorium Tuesday, March 13, at 7:30 pm His talk is titled "Responding to Hate: Voices of Hope and Tolerance."

When Klan members lynched an African American man in Mobile, Alabama, in 1981, attorney Dees -- and the Southern Poverty Law Center he founded -- sued the Klan and won a $7 million judgment. In 1990, Dees won a $12.5 million verdict for the Oregon family of an Ethiopian murdered by skinheads. In 1998, he obtained a $37.8 million verdict against the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan for the burning of the Macedonia Baptist Church in South Carolina.

Dees began the Southern Poverty Law Center with law partner Joseph Levin and civil rights activist Julian Bond in 1971. In 1981, Dees organized "Klan-watch" to combat organized racist activity through innovative lawsuits, making him a target of death threats and arson. He has also devoted his time to developing ideas for "Teaching Tolerance," the center's well-regarded education project.

Dees is the author of Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat, A Season for Justice, and Hate on Trial: The Case Against America's Most Dangerous Neo-Nazi. An NBC movie about his life, Line of Fire, aired in 1991. Dees was also portrayed in Ghosts of the Mississippi, a 1996 film about the life of slain civil rights worker Medgar Evers. Last fall, Dees hosted an HBO documentary, HATE.com, about hate crimes and the Internet.

Dees' visit is sponsored by Building Bridges, CSU, Chico's series of events designed to increase acceptance and respect on campus and within the Chico community. The program's goal is to bring together members of our campus -- as well as reach out to other colleges and universities, K - 12 schools, the interfaith community, government, and business and social leaders -- to build bridges of support to reject intolerance, promote mutual respect, and celebrate our growing diversity.

Dees' visit is also made possible through the contributions of the Chico Area Interfaith Council, the Office of the Provost, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, the Hodgkins Peace Studies Lecture, the Department of Philosophy, the A.S., the Center for Multi-cultural and Gender Studies, Butte College, and Chico Performances.

Joe Wills
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