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Lecture Series Continues With ‘Affairs of Race in America’

The Spring 2003 Lecture Series at Pennsylvania College of Technology continues Feb. 11 when two women who assert their great-great-grandfathers were sons of President Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, will address race relations in America.

Shay Banks-Young, who is black, and Julia Jefferson Westerinen, who is white, will present “The Affairs of Race in America: A Conversation in Black and White” at 8 p.m. in Penn’s Inn on the second floor of the Bush Campus Center at Penn College.

Genetic testing first reported in 1998 in the scientific journal “Nature” (coupled with historical evidence) has led many historians to conclude that Jefferson fathered at least one, and perhaps all, of Hemings’ six children. This was not shocking news to Banks-Young, Westerinen and their families, who are confident that their great-great-grandfathers, Eston and Madison, were, in fact, the offspring of Jefferson and Hemings.

Banks-Young is a preventative health trainer and poet who has hosted her own public affairs talk show. Westerinen is a former educator turned businesswoman. In their unique interactive presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to listen as well as join in the discussion.

The Spring 2003 Lecture Series, sponsored by the Student Activities Office at Penn College, runs through April 22. The programs are free and open to the public. For more information, call (570) 327-4537. The remaining programs in the series are:

“King’s Dream,” presented by Key Arts Productions Feb. 18, 8 p.m. Klump Academic Center Auditorium This live performance uses archival film footage and rousing music to express the drama, pain and perseverance of the Civil Rights Movement in America. The multimedia event traces the progression of the movement and provides historical perspective. It?s a compelling presentation for students, faculty members and the public.

“Presentation X: Club Drugs,” presented by Paul Chabot March 3, 8 p.m., Penn’s Inn, Bush Campus Center Chabot brings a unique perspective to this presentation, having seen the effects of club drugs as a student leader, law-enforcement professional, fraternity volunteer and federal policy analyst. Chabot will explore the use of club drugs and their impact on college communities, and he’ll provide the “tools” to enable students to make smart decisions, relying upon research and personal stories to convey his message.

“Turning Away From Hate,” presented by Tom “T.J.” Leyden March 18, Penn’s Inn, Bush Campus Center Leyden, who spent 15 years as a neo-Nazi white supremacist activist and recruiter, covered his body with Nazi symbols, advocated death for Jews and recruited teen-agers into the hate movement. After all of this, he experienced a profound change of heart, turned away from hate and began teaching tolerance. He has become one of the nation’s most persuasive advocates for diversity and cultural appreciation.

“Sex Signals,” presented by Christian Murphy and Gwendolyn Druyor April 8, 8 p.m., Penn’s Inn, Bush Campus Center This presentation addresses the communication or lack of it that occurs in the dating scene. Murphy and Druyor will incorporate a blend of improvisation, humor and audience participation to initiate discussion of a difficult subject in a nonthreatening environment. This is a program that everyone who is dating, or even thinking about dating, should see.

“Palestinians and Israelis: Is Peace a Possibility?” presented by Michael Balvy and Forsan Hussein April 22, 8 p.m. Klump Academic Center Auditorium Balvy, an Israeli Jew who grew up in Hertzelia, served four years in the Israeli Army and attained the rank of lieutenant. Hussein, an Israeli Palestinian who grew up in the Galilee in Israel, is a Slifka Scholar, a scholarship awarded to an Arab Israeli and a Jewish Israeli committed to the goals of peaceful coexistence between the two groups. This firsthand account from two people who overcame stereotypes and misconceptions to become friends shows that peace is possible.

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