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Constitution Day 2016

Art has long been a method of expression, and artists throughout history have been instigators of change-engaging society in conversation about pressing issues. Established in 2005, Constitution Day continues the College's tradition of leadership in raising and exploring important political issues.

Thursday, September 15th, 7-9 PM

Immigration, Racism, and the Changing Face of the Nation

Brown Center, Falvey Hall
1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.

Tickets: free tickets distributed in advance to the MICA and ACLU communities, a limited number of free tickets will be available to the general public starting at 3 p.m. on the day of the event.

E.J. Dionne, Washington Post columnist and National Public Radio commentator, will headline Constitution Day, a free annual symposium co-sponsored by MICA and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

The panel, moderated by WYPR's Maryland Morning host Tom Hall, will also include Tania Bruguera, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship winner and performance artist, and Marielena Hincapié, director of the National Immigration Law Center.

The 2016 symposium explores immigration, racism and the impact of changing demographics on public discourse about what it means to be an American. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, racial minority groups will make up the majority of the nation's population by 2042, but as the country becomes more racially diverse, a portion of the nation's current majority white population has reacted with fear, and negative language and actions. With recent examples of xenophobic and racist speech used by major political candidates and officeholders in the United States and even abroad, and subsequent protests and divisive dialogue, panelists will discuss the changing face of the country and the issues motivating passion and divisiveness surrounding the issue. Immigration could well prove the deciding factor in the upcoming presidential election.

"This is clearly a crucial topic, which dominates the current political discourse and is giving rise to some really ugly comments from the public and those who want to serve the highest office," said Constitution Day organizer and MICA Humanistic Studies Department faculty member Firmin DeBrabander. He added, "We need to clear about what's going on here, why the ugliness, what fears people have, and what are the larger and contextual motivators of this divisive debate."

Participants' Bios

E.J. Dionne
E.J. Dionne is a Harvard College Graduate and former Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College Oxford. He currently writes about politics in a twice-weekly column for The Washington Post and on the PostPartisan blog, and he is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, a government professor at Georgetown University and a political commentator for National Public Radio, ABC's "This Week" and MSNBC. He spent 14 years covering politics at The New York Times and is the author of books that include Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism-From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (2016) and Why Americans Hate Politics (1991), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award nominee.

Tania Bruguera
Tania Bruguera is an artist who researches ways in which art can be applied to the everyday political life; focusing on the transformation of social affect into political effectiveness. She participated in the Documenta 11 exhibition and also established the Arte de Conducta (Behavior Art) program at Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. Her work has been shown in the 2015 Venice Biennale, at Tate Modern, London, Guggenheim and MoMA, New York, among others. In May 2015, she opened the Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt in Havana. Tania is currently the first artist-in-residence in the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). She lives and works in New York and Havana.

Marielena Hincapié
Marielena Hincapié is executive director of the National Immigration Law Center and a public interest lawyer who specializes in protecting and advancing the rights of immigrant workers, particularly those who are undocumented. She received a J.D. from Northeastern University, is the author of numerous publications and policy analyses, and has provided strategic assistance and training to thousands of legal and social service providers, and to labor unions and community-based organizations. She previously worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco's Employment Law Center, where she founded the Center's Immigrant Workers' Right Project. Hincapié served on the American Bar Association's Commission on Immigration. She immigrated to the U.S. as a child from Medellín, Columbia.

Tom Hall
Moderator Tom Hall is a broadcaster, performer, lecturer, writer and educator. He is host of Maryland Morning on Baltimore NPR-affiliate, WYPR Radio. As the Music Director of the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, he has collaborated with many of Maryland's leading arts organizations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra and the Baltimore Museum of Art. For many years, he appeared regularly as a guest conductor throughout the U.S and in Europe. Hall has published articles in the Baltimore Sun, Style Magazine and many professional music journals, and he has lectured and taught courses at the Peabody Conservatory, the Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University.