Calvin Terrell

ASU Rising Voices Lecture features ‘peaceful warrior’ Calvin Terrell

By

Maureen Roen

Ten years after the election of Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, the United States is still walking a line between hope and hate.

What has changed over the last decade when it comes to race and democracy? What can each of us do to move democracy and human beings forward? 

Those questions will be the focus when social observer and changemaker Calvin Terrell presents the next lecture in the Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy’s Rising Voices series at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in the South Mountain Community College Performing Arts Center.  

Terrell will use the lenses of rhetoric, art, science and religion to provide a balanced examination of America’s last decade, not as a Democrat or Republican but as a “peaceful warrior of critical thought,” said Professor Lois Brown, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

“This moment in time seems to call for an honest exploration of America’s past, present and future in a way that would encourage reflection, discourse, and positive change,” Brown continued. “We invited Calvin knowing his ability to deliver a dynamic, interactive lecture focused on education and healing.”

She said Terrell deftly mixes storytelling, dialogue and visualization tools to engage his audiences and bring people to an understanding of how we each can take an active role in influencing and shaping the future of our communities.

“He’s brilliant, inspiring and ever hopeful,” she added, “but also driven by a deep understanding of the urgency of combating racism, bullying, and prejudice so that every individual can bring their full potential to the planet.”

Though based in Arizona, Calvin Terrell is known as a thought leader well beyond the state for his work with faith groups, schools, corporations, governments and civic organizations wanting to create nurturing healthy environments to help all peoples live better together.

The founder and lead facilitator of Social Centric Institute, he has, for more than 20 years, lectured, trained and led comprehensive workshops for valuing diversity, equity and justice-building as well as healing historical trauma around racial intersections, class, religion, gender and environmental disruption. 

His work has garnered regional awards and honors, including from Arizona Affirmative Action, Davis Monthan Air Force Base and, in 2000, the city of Phoenix, which honored him with the Martin Luther King Jr. “Living the Dream” award for his dedication to human rights.

A compelling story about his work with youth is featured in the book “Chicken Soup for the African American Soul.”     

Terrell founded Social Centric Institute “because this work is bigger than a person or personalities,” noted the institute's website. “Change requires a movement of communities, institutions, and peoples dedicated and equipped to sustain a life-long journey.”   

As President Barack Obama said on the eve of his re-election in 2012, “As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path.”

This Rising Voices Lecture is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by the Maricopa Community Colleges. You may register online or contact the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, at email csrd@asu.edu or phone 602-496-1376. The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy is a unit of ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. You can also view this on the ASU Events site.