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February 12, 2007

Rep. Maxine Waters to address MLK Convocation February 20

By Louise Donahue

Longtime Congresswoman Maxine Waters will address the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation February 20 in an event with strong reminders of Hurricane Katrina.

Photo of Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters will hold a field hearing in New Orleans on post-Katrina housing issues.

Photos from before and after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana will be projected onto the large screen at the 7 p.m. event in the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

The photos were taken by UCSC associate professor of art Lewis Watts, and many have been displayed as part of his "Ghosts in New Orleans" exhibition. (See Currents story)

Providing musical accompaniment to the often-haunting images will be Karlton Hester, associate professof music, improvising on flute and tenor saxophone based on some of his new compositions.

Hurricane Katrina recovery has been a high priority for Rep. Waters, who has made repeated visits to New Orleans and recently criticized the slow pace of housing recovery efforts during a hearing by the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. Waters heads that committee’s housing subcommittee.

Waters will head to New Orleans the day after the convocation to lead a February 22-23 subcommittee field hearing. The congresswoman’s heavy schedule leading up to the hearing forced cancellation of early plans for an on-campus forum, but Waters will attend a luncheon with student leaders the day of her speech.

In addition to her efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Rep. Waters is chair of the “Out of Iraq” caucus in Congress and has been a champion of voting rights. She is in her ninth term in Congress. (See Currents story)

Acting Chancellor George Blumenthal will welcome the crowd to the Civic Auditorium, with feminist studies professor Bettina Aptheker serving as emcee. The Rev. Deborah Johnson will deliver the invocation, and Sister Paula Livers-Powell, director of the UCSC African American Resource and Cultural Center, will introduce Rep. Waters. The congresswoman’s address will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Music by the UCSC Gospel Choir, under the direction of Valerie Joi Fiddmont, will conclude the program.

Three buses will bring students to the convocation. All buses will begin at the East Gate/Main Entrance, then loop the campus before leaving the West Gate and heading to the Civic. The buses will leave the East Gate at 6, 6:15, and 6:30 p.m. Buses will be back at the Civic following the convocation, with a final bus on standby to pick up any remaining students.

Bringing together the UCSC and local communities, the annual convocation celebrates the life and dream of the late civil rights leader by reaffirming the human ideals of freedom, justice, community, and opportunity. The event is free and open to the public; no advance tickets are required.

In addition to UCSC, the 2007 convocation is sponsored by the City of Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, KUSP Radio, Inner Light Ministries, and the Santa Cruz Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.


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