Annual Human Rights Conference set for April 17-18 at West Virginia State University

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109

April 11, 2019
Annual Human Rights Conference set for April 17-18 at West Virginia State University
Richard Rothstein, Author of “The Color of Law,” to Deliver Keynote Address

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The sixth annual Human Rights/Human Relations Conference will take place April 17-18 at West Virginia State University (WVSU) and explore the theme of  “Building Communities Among Diverse Interests.”

Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law,” will deliver the keynote address for the conference at 7 p.m. April 17 in the Ferrell Hall auditorium on the school’s Institute campus. All conference events are free and open to the public.

“The Color of Law” will be on sale beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Ferrell Hall, and Rothstein will sign copies following his address.

In his 2017 book, “The Color of Law,” Rothstein illustrates how segregation in America is the byproduct of government policies at the local, state and federal levels. A research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, as well as a Fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Rothstein spent years documenting the evidence that government not merely ignored discriminatory practices in the residential sphere, but promoted them.

Rothstein’s presentation is a joint project of WVSU Cultural Activities and YWCA Charleston. This address is offered to the WVSU community by the WVSU Office of Student Life and Engagement with the WVSU Committee for Cultural Activities and Educational Assemblies, with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The annual Human Rights Conference will begin at noon on Wednesday, April 17, with registration and the welcome in the Wilson University Union. Other activities Wednesday will include a presentation at 12:30 p.m. by Kenyatta Coleman Grant of the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence; a presentation at 1:30 p.m. by WVSU Media Studies Program Director, Robin Broughton, on the topic of “Increasing Cultural Awareness through International Film Projects at WVSU;” and a presentation at 3 p.m. by Monty Warner, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Kanawha Valley.

On Thursday, April 18, the conference begins at 10 a.m. with Dr. Kerri Steele, Bonnie Dunn, and Yvonne Lee, who will discuss “WVSU’s Healthy Grandfamilies.”  Other featured speakers Thursday include Adam Hodges, WVSU Community Development Agent, discussing “Building Community 101: From Art to Entrepreneurship,” at 2 p.m., and Josh Martin, chair of the WVSU Art Department, discussing the “Welcome to Elk City Mural Project” at 4:30 p.m. All of Thursday’s conference activities take place in the Wilson University Union. 
Also throughout the two-day conference, WVSU student-made posters that address a variety of human rights topics will be on display.

For a complete schedule of conference activities, please click here.

For more information about the conference, contact Dr. Michael Pennington, at (304) 766-3180 or

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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