Barbara Jordan Forum To Kick Off With Keynote By Rising Star Stacey Abrams

Feb. 2, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin will host the 16th Annual Barbara Jordan National Forum, four days of student-led activities taking place Feb. 21-24. The event kicks off Feb. 21 with a luncheon and keynote address by Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams (LBJ/1998).

"As the first woman to lead the Georgia General Assembly and the first African-American to lead the Georgia House Democrats, Stacey Abrams embodies the spirit of Barbara Jordan as a path-breaker and champion for change," said Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. "We are pleased and honored that Stacey has agreed to deliver the keynote address of our celebration of the life and legacy of Barbara Jordan, one of our country’s most distinguished public servants and a cherished member of our LBJ School community."

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Designated by the Texas Legislature as Barbara Jordan Freedom Week, this commemoration is designed to highlight Jordan’s lifetime of significant contributions to society as a politician, policymaker, activist and educator. Jordan joined the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1979 as a faculty member and was a beloved teacher and mentor until her death in 1996. That same year, students created a forum to honor her.

This year's theme, chosen by students, is "We the People: The America We Pursue, Empowering People Through Collaboration and Ethical Leadership to Create Innovative Solutions." The theme is based on a quote by Barbara Jordan from her famous keynote address to the 1976 Democratic Convention: "We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are a people trying not only to solve the problems of the present, but we are attempting on a larger scale to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal."

"Barbara Jordan was an advocate for equality and possessed a zeal for unifying communities for the good of the nation," said Garry Davis, one of four student co-chairs organizing the forum. "I am inspired by her authenticity of character and dedication to not only doing what she thought was fair and ethical to all, but also in empowering others to do the same."

Following the kick-off event, students have planned daily, lunchtime brown bag talks with speakers from the community who can shed light on policy issues championed by Jordan. Each speaker will also provide a call to action, offering ideas on how to enact change. Students will also host a public service event and a voter registration drive.

For a schedule of events, visit the Barbara Jordan Forum website.

More on Stacey Abrams:

Stacey Abrams is the House minority leader in the Georgia General Assembly and a state representative for the 84th House District. She is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African-American to lead the House of Representatives.

Abrams received her J.D. from the Yale Law School. She received her master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and she earned a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Political Science, Economics and Sociology) from Spelman College, magna cum laude.

For more information, contact: Kerri Battles, Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, 512-232-4054; Susan Binford, assistant dean for communications, 512-415-4820.