— Legal Scholar and Distinguished Interfaith Leader to Assess Role of Courts, African-American Churches in Advancing Racial Justice —

Dr. Derrick A. Bell, Jr., and Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. will lead the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies’ inaugural New York Life Colloquium, “The Courts, the Churches, and African Americans: Legacy and Contemporary Challenge,” 9:30 a.m. — 2 p.m. Tuesday, December 4 at The City College of New York (CCNY). The event is the first of a twice-a-year series of lectures made possible by the New York Life Endowment for Emerging African American Issues.

The event is designed to spotlight two American institutions that have played historically central roles in advancing the rights and interests of African-Americans: the U.S. legal system and African-American churches. Dr. Bell is a noted legal scholar and author, and Rev. Forbes is the former senior minister of Riverside Church and president and founder of the Healing the Nations Foundation.

They will review the dynamics and conditions that led to advances in the past and discuss how the role of the courts and African-American churches may have changed more recently. The speakers will also consider what may need to be done to revitalize the capacity of these institutions to contribute to racial justice and African-American advancement. Dr. Eugene Callender, the Powell Center’s New York Life Leader-in-Residence, will moderate the conversation. The Center’s Leader-in-Residence is a professional policymaker or community leader who serves as a visiting scholar for a one-year appointment under the New York Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues.

The colloquium promises to be an excellent forum for high-level exchange between the speakers and the audience. It will take place in Room 250 of Shepard Hall on the CCNY campus at West 140th Street and Convent Avenue. After the session, a buffet lunch for attendees will be served at 12:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, however space is limited. To attend, please RSVP by Friday November 30th to wmercado@ccny.cuny.edu or 212-650-8551.

About Dr. Derrick A. Bell, Jr.

Dr. Derrick A. Bell, Jr. is a visiting professor of law at New York University and one of the nation’s leading scholars on issues of race and Constitutional law. He has worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, and he was the first African American to receive tenure at Harvard Law School. (Dr. Bell resigned in 1992 to protest the school’s inequitable treatment of minority female faculty.) Dr. Bell is the author of numerous books, including Race, Racism, and American Law, a standard law school text, and in 2005, Silent Covenants: Brown v. Board of Education and the Unfulfilled Hopes for Racial Reform.

About Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr.

Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., an ordained minister of American Baptist Churches, is a nationally recognized pastor, interfaith leader and community activist, and one of America’s great black preachers. He received his Doctor of Ministry Degree from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in New York, his Master of Divinity Degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Howard University in Washington. Dr. Forbes served for more than 15 years as the first African-American minister of the interdenominational, interracial Riverside Church. On June 1, 2007, he officially retired from his position to begin a national ministry of healing and spiritual revitalization, the Healing of the Nations Foundation.

About the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies

The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies is a nonpartisan research center named for General Colin L. Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and City College’s most distinguished graduate. Established in 1997, the Center is dedicated to developing a new generation of publicly engaged leaders from populations previously underrepresented in policy circles and to bridging the academic and policy-making spheres. Its programming encompasses scholarship, service learning, and policy research and events.

About the New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues

In December 2006, the New York Life Foundation awarded the Colin Powell Center a $10 million grant to create the New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues. The gift, the largest to date to the Center, is also City College’s second largest-ever gift. The grant establishes the Center’s first endowment and creates a dynamic, ongoing funding source that provides the Colin Powell Center with a strong foundation for policy research, scholarships, and programming on issues of importance to the African-American and other underserved communities.

About The City College of New York

For 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.

Contact: Ellis Simon, 212/650-6460, esimon@ccny.cuny.edu