Press Releases

Protecting voter rights focus of 2019 Constitution Day Symposium

The event, sponsored by MICA and the ACLU of Maryland, will include Courtland Cox, Nicole Hanson and Eric Gottesman

WHAT: Constitution Day Symposium 2019: "One Person, One Vote: The Challenge of American Democracy, Past and Present" 

WHEN: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19

WHERE: Falvey Hall, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave.

BALTIMORE — As voting rights concerns remain at the forefront of American elections, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and the ACLU of Maryland will come together this fall for its annual Constitution Day symposium to tackle topics that have affected democracy for decades. 

This year’s event, One Person, One Vote: The Challenge of American Democracy, Past and Present, will include speaker Courtland Cox,  civil rights activist and organizer at the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). While a Howard University student, Cox became a member of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG) in addition to SNCC. He worked with SNCC in Mississippi and Lowndes County, Alabama, was the Program Secretary for SNCC in 1962, and was the SNCC representative to the War Crimes Tribunal organized by Bertram Russell.

In 1963, Cox served as the SNCC representative on the Steering Committee for the March on Washington. A decade later, he served as the Secretary General of the Sixth Pan-African Congress and international meeting of African people in Tanzania. He also co-owned and managed the Drum and Spear bookstore and Drum and Spear Press, and until 2001, was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as the Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the Department of Commerce. 

Cox is presently a consultant with the D.C. Public Schools. 

Alongside Cox, Nicole Hanson, advocate for ex-offenders and director of Out for Justice, and Eric Gottesman, photographer and co-founder of For Freedoms Project, will also be part of this year’s Constitution Day panel. Thursday's symposium will also include a special recorded message for the event from Civil Rights icon and SNCC director Bob Moses.

The event is free and open to the public, and commemorates the September 17 holiday. 

Hanson is an expert on criminal justice policy and reentry in Maryland. She currently serves as the executive director of Out for Justice, a member-led nonprofit organization working to reform local and statewide reentry policies. She advances its mission to engage, educate and empower those with criminal records to lead the change they want to see. In this role, she has organized large-scale expungement events and clinics registered returning citizens to vote, supported high-risk individuals in navigating life after release, and collaborated with Morgan State University to conduct a reentry health needs assessment research project in Baltimore City.

Gottesman photographs, writes, makes videos, teaches and uses art as a vehicle to explore aesthetic, social and political culture. He is an assistant professor of art at the State University of New York (Purchase College) and a mentor in the Arab Documentary Photography Project in Beirut, Lebanon.