Lani Guinier to speak at URI on multiculturalism and institutional change

KINGSTON, R.I, — January 21, 1999 — Harvard law professor Lani Guinier’s latest book Lift Every Voice: Turning A Civil Rights Setback Into A New Vision of Social Justice is recommended reading by popular radio commentator Don Imus. Now she will deliver her messages at the fifth annual lecture on multiculturalism at the University of Rhode Island. Her talk, free and open to the public, will focus on multiculturalism and institutional change. It will be held Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium, Kingston. Guinier came into public prominence in 1993 when her Yale Law School classmate, President Bill Clinton, nominated her for assistant attorney general for civil rights. Before her name was submitted to Congress for confirmation, Clinton withdrew it in response to heavy political pressure from the right. In Lift Every Voice, Guinier breaks her silence and “presents a compelling, wonderfully written account of what really happened there behind closed doors in the Oval Office, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Senate. It is a great book,” says Imus. A graduate of Radcliffe College and Yale Law School, Guinier is the first black woman to hold a tenured professorship at Harvard University Law School. Guinier co-founded COMMONPLACE, a national non-profit center to connect citizens, communities, and ideas, and RACE TALKS, a project to encourage multiracial collaboration and problem-solving. “Professor Guinier is a leader in proposing creative strategies for addressing 21st century problems,” said Melvin Wade, director of Multicultural Student Services at URI. A popular speaker, Guinier is the daughter of a white, Jewish mother and a black West Indian father who sees herself as a natural bridge between races and emphatically rejects the polarizing quota-queen image surrounding her nomination. Guinier is also the author of The Tyranny of the Majority (1994) and co-author of Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School, and Institutional Change (1997). Previous speakers in URI’s Multicultural Series have included bell hooks (1995), Christopher Edley (1996), Alvin Poussaint (1997), and Cornel West (1998). For additional information, please call 401-874-2851.