Second Rhodes Responds Series Features Scholars and Activists on Black Communities and Law Enforcement

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As part of Rhodes’ efforts to offer expertise to the public on the most important issues of the present, the college is launching a second Rhodes Responds series, Black Communities and Law Enforcement.

“Addressing and discussing the current instances and history of police brutality against Black communities is crucial to understand the current moment and think about how we move forward as a community and a society. Rhodes and the larger Memphis community have a great deal of expertise to contribute to this conversation and I’m looking forward to learning from the work and perspectives of these scholars and activists,” says Assistant Professor of Psychology and Educational Studies Aixa Marchand.

The panel discussions will focus on recent protests on police brutality, the history of racism against Black communities, and imagining futures in response to calls for reform and abolition. The three panels, facilitated through Zoom webinars and organized by Drs. Kendra Hotz, Duane Loynes, and Aixa Marchand, will feature Black scholars and activists from Rhodes and the larger Memphis community.

“After so many reports of policing killing unarmed Black people, many of us wonder: Is it a few bad apples or the whole barrel? But how many apples is the wrong question if the problem is the barrel itself. The problem might not be how many law enforcement officers are racist, but the institution of policing itself,” says Robert R. Waller Professor of Population Health and Director of Health Equity Program Kendra Hotz. “This webinar series invites us to rethink policing, asking where it came from, how it is practiced, and how it might be different.”

“The aim of Rhodes Responds is to serve our community by bringing the best of liberal arts teaching and learning to a wider audience in response to pressing current issues. This series on Black communities and law enforcement is of particular urgency. I am grateful to our talented faculty and staff who have created this program and who are so generously sharing their expertise,” says President Marjorie Hass.

The series will be broadcast live through Zoom and on the official Rhodes College Facebook. The panel topics and participants are:


“LOOKING AT THE PRESENT: What’s Happening? A Fresh Perspective”

Wednesday, July 8, 2020, 7:00 p.m.



Earle Fisher, PhD
Senior Pastor, Abyssinian Baptist Church

Tami Sawyer
County Commissioner, Shelby County, TN

Earl Wright II, PhD
Professor of Sociology, Rhodes College

Moderated by:

Sherry Turner '84, PhD
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Rhodes College


“LOOKING TO THE PAST: How Did We Get Here?”

Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 7:00 p.m.



Roshun Austin
President/CEO, The Works, Inc.

Luther Ivory, PhD
Associate Professor (Emeritus) of Religious Studies, Rhodes College

Charles W. McKinney Jr., PhD
Associate Professor of History, Rhodes College

Moderated by:

Jamia Stokes, PhD
Associate Dean of Students, Rhodes College

“LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE: What’s Next? Reimagining a Just Tomorrow”

Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 7:00 p.m.



Kristie Lipford, PhD
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Rhodes College

Duane T. Loynes Sr., PhD
Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Africana Studies, Rhodes College

Archandria Owens, PhD
Associate Director of the Counseling Center, Rhodes College

Moderated by:

Aixa Marchand, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Educational Studies, Rhodes College

Additional Reading: Rhodes Responds Series Seeks to Offer Public Expertise on Topics Related to COVID-19, May 20, 2020