When Two Worlds Collide

I like a good academic discussion. I also love celebrity gossip. So imagine my complete joy last Friday when I attended a lecture on civil rights featuring Reverend Al Sharpton as the keynote speaker. The lecture was a thought provoking discussion about contemporary civil rights—what we are fighting for and the importance of unity among all special interest groups. The panelists talked about viewing civil rights as a continuing process instead of a movement that happened in the sixties. They talked about immigration laws and how Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is violating federal law when he racially profiles Mexican Americans in Arizona then parades them around in pink underwear. State Representative Krysten Sinema—a lawyer, professor and all-around impressive politician who represents Central Phoenix—talked about the importance of gay rights. RaulYzaguirre, ASU’s Director for Community Development & Civil Rights, made an interesting point when he said that we don’t have the language to talk about conquered populations like Native Americans. There were many people in the audience despite the fact that it started at 8:00 a.m. and it was nice to see and hear from progressive people who are a growing constituency here in Arizona. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder as I listened, is Reverend Al really dating Lisa Raye? That’s what the gossip blogs speculate…and he is looking slimmer these days.

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