Want to have a community-based discussion about Freedom of Expression and how art can be a lens for civil discourse? At this town hall, a panel of artistic and legal experts will discuss from this First Amendment right from artistic, local, and global perspectives.
Afterward, “talk back” with a response wall and visit the voter registration booth to learn how your voice can be heard this November.
For Freedoms is a national platform for greater engagement in the arts and in civil society and works with the belief that art can be a vehicle that broadens participation and deepens public discussions of civic issues and core values.
For Freedoms Town Halls provide safe platforms for conversations that seek to encourage a more active, collaborative, inclusive, and empathetic community. Town Halls bring together experts in various disciplines of art, design, policy making, and community organizing in cities across the country to discuss related to freedom. The CMA is participating in their 50 State Initiative, which models how arts institutions become civic forums for action and discussion of values, place, and patriotism during the lead-up to the midterm elections.
Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the civil rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history. Finney has authored four books of poetry: Head Off & Split (2011); The World Is Round (2003); Rice (1995); and On Wings Made of Gauze (1985). The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, Finney also authored Heartwood (1997), edited The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South (2007), and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets. Finney's fourth book of poetry, Head Off & Split, was awarded the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.p>
Chad Henderson is the Artistic Director of Trustus Theatre in Columbia, SC. As a professional theatre artist, Henderson has directed dozens of professional productions at venues across South Carolina, including: Pure Theatre (Charleston, SC), Trustus Theatre, Workshop Theatre of South Carolina, The Columbia Children’s Theatre, Theatre South Carolina (all in Columbia, SC), The Spartanburg Youth Theatre and Spartanburg Next Stage (Spartanburg, SC). He has been an artist-in-residency three times at The Studios of Key West, an arts organization in Key West, FL. Henderson also performed at the historic La Mama Experimental Theatre Club in New York City in UniArt’s production of Fusions under the direction of playwright Nic Ularu in 2016. Henderson was awarded the 2012 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre.
Sammy Lopez was born in Bogota, Colombia. He earned a BFA (2007) with a concentration in drawing from the University of South Carolina. After graduation, he helped start PIENSA: Art Company with his brother Dre Lopez. As a multi-media art and design studio, PIENSA has facilitated collaborative work among diverse artists locally and nationally. Sammy's artistic influences are also diverse. Some of his earliest influences were cartoons and comic books, as well as Japanese animation, but Lopez finds inspiration across culture, time, and space. He resists limiting his art or the viewer’s interpretation of it.
Kathleen McDaniel’s circuitous route to becoming an attorney prepared her for a unique law practice. She earned a bachelor of science in Fisheries and a master of science in Forestry and then worked as a marine biologist in the Philippines. As a founding partner in the law firm of Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, she focuses on administrative and environmental law. She has helped rural neighbors fight a proposed granite quarry. She has represented sexually oriented businesses to ensure their right to operate and fought them when they operated outside legal constraints. She guided Planned Parenthood through licensing a new clinic in Charleston and fought Governor McMaster’s efforts to take away Medicaid patients’ right to seek family planning services from Planned Parenthood.
Shaundra Young Scott
Shaundra Young Scott is the first African-American female executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina where she focuses on the civil liberties of individuals within the state of South Carolina, including but not limited to racial justice, criminal justice, women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and Youth Justice. A graduate from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, she participated in a student exchange program to Puerto Rico and Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. Scott worked as the supervising migrant attorney over the migrant farmworker unit at South Carolina Legal Services. The unit deals with various legal issues including but not limited to wage and housing violations, field sanitation violations, immigration issues, pesticide exposure violations, and discrimination issues.
For Freedoms Townhall Moderator: Aparna Polavarapu
Aparna Polavarapu is a professor at the School of Law at the University of South Carolina. As part of the Rule of Law Collaborative, her research focuses on rule of law and human rights. Much of her scholarship draws from her direct experience working with women and women's rights groups in various nations in sub-Saharan Africa, and she is currently developing a project to use graphic novels to change attitudes about domestic violence. She has instructed U.S. Government officials from various agencies, including the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of Defense on international rule of law topics, including African customary law, legal pluralism, and strategies for promoting justice and basic rights in legally pluralistic systems.