Wittenberg University welcomes alumna, author and criminal justice reform advocate Bernadette Evans, class of 1989, as the keynote speaker for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation at 11:15 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15, in historic Weaver Chapel as the 2017-18 Wittenberg Series continues.
Currently a contributor to the Public Policy and Research Institute Think Tank, Evans writes about criminal justice reform and travels frequently for public speaking engagements addressing her work in Wilmington, Del. From 2015-2016, Evans served as an active board member for the Violence Reduction Network at the request of Delaware State Department of Justice Prosecuting Attorney Dan Logan. As a member of this group, she worked with local law enforcement agencies to create strategies and programs to improve relations with youths. Events were created to assist in fostering positive interactions between youth and police in order to change community dynamics for the long term.
Additionally, Evans is the co-founder of The Math King LLC, an in-home tutoring service, and the Above the Rim Basketball league, serving more than 300 at-risk youth inside the 6th district in Wilmington, Del. She has also served as a speechwriter for Wilmington Mayor Kevin Kelley and has written public policy on interfacing city government with local faith-based communities.
An African-American political science major who didn't always have a positive opinion of police, Evans is currently working on her first book on improving relations between police and the African-American community at the local levels utilizing personal lessons learned from her work in Wilmington. Reconciliation in Blue is about how her attitude was transformed by her work with Cpl. Daniel Vignola and other members of a now disbanded community-oriented policing unit in Wilmington. In cooperation with police, residents and political figures, she coordinated events to create greater positive engagement between members of the police force and Wilmington residents.
To Evans, voices raised against community violence are like voices raised in Civil Rights protests: Both speak out against violent oppression of the black community. As she wrote so powerfully on delawareonline.com: "We didn't stay silent with the hopes that Jim Crow would end. We can't stay silent in the face of internal annihilation."
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Evans holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her address is titled “Assignment of Fire.” During her visit to Wittenberg, Evans will also participate in a question-and-answer session at 3:30 p.m., Room 105 of the Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning, 737 N. Fountain Ave.
Now in its 35th year, the Wittenberg Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, request a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Lisa Watson at WatsonL4@wittenberg.edu. All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public.
Additional 2017-2018 Wittenberg Series Events:
Monday & Tuesday, Feb. 5-6, 2018: Visual Arts Residency, 7:30 p.m., Springfield City School District's John Legend Theater at The Dome with documentary filmmaker, Elisabeth Haviland James. In celebration of Black History Month, there will be screenings of the films Althea (Monday) and The Loving Story (Tuesday).
Wednesday, March 21, 2018: IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium featuring evolutionary biologist Dr. Sean B. Carroll. Colloquium, 4 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
Monday, March 26, 2018: William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Annette Gordon-Reed, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.
For more information on the Wittenberg Series, click here.