|For release: September 5, 2012
For press information, contact:
Media Relations Coordinator
Tennessee Bar Association
Director, Communications & Special Events
Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
The University of Memphis
The Tennessee Bar Association and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School
of Law will host a public forum on Tuesday, Sept. 18, dealing with the issue of free
speech and civility in public policy debates. The forum will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
in the Wade Auditorium of the law school in downtown Memphis.
The Memphis event is the first in a series of three discussions across the state designed
to encourage a public conversation about the tensions between civility and free speech. It will focus on how these
issues play out in public policy debates – especially those with cross-cultural implications.
Specific issues will include the challenges of working with communities that have
a high degree of distrust along cultural lines, the process of identifying similarities
in interests among culturally diverse groups, and the way to use these similarities
to mitigate challenges.
The topic is also intended to examine how historical issues can affect a contemporary
debate and how old barriers to dialogue can be overcome. The program will use the current school consolidation effort in Memphis and Shelby
County as a case study of how to bring civility into a divisive debate. In the case of the
Memphis school consolidation, for example, tensions and distrust that grew out of
the busing experience of the 1970s continue to have an impact on the tone and substance
of the current discussion.
Three members of the Transition Planning Commission (TPC) – the body responsible for
overseeing the Memphis-Shelby County schools consolidation – will serve as the program
panelists. They are Kenya Bradshaw, executive director of Stand for Children and co-chair
of TPC’s Engagement & Communications Committee; Daniel Kiel, U of M associate professor
of law and TPC commissioner; and Christine Richards, executive vice president, general
counsel and secretary of FedEx Corporation and chair of the TPC’s Human Resources
& Personnel Committee. Bill Haltom, a lawyer with the Memphis firm of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson
& Mitchell PLLC, will moderate the discussion.
The program is part of Civility and Free Expression in a Constitutional Democracy – A National Dialogue, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and conducted in partnership
with the American Bar Association Division for Public Education. Local program partners
include the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University in Nashville, the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in Memphis, and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for
Public Policy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
More information about the Balancing Civility and Free Expression initiative, its events in other Tennessee cities, and its local partners is available
online at www.tba.org/programs/balancing-civility-and-free-expression.
More information about the Tennessee Bar Association or the Memphis forum is available from Stacey Shrader at 615-383-7421 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the U of M law school’s involvement in the program is available
from Ryan Jones at 901-687-4910 or email@example.com.
Biographical information about the Memphis panelists is available online at http://www.tba.org/node/52404.