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    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    'WITH JUSTICE FOR ALL'

    Litigation lawyer Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to seeking justice and equal opportunities for minorities and the poor, will lecture on "With Justice for All" at Southeastern Louisiana University on Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., in Pottle Auditorium.

    The lecture, which is free to the public, is sponsored by the department of sociology and criminal justice Social Justice Lecture Series; Student Government Association; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and the Lyceum Arts and Lectures Committee. A reception will follow the lecture.

    "Morris Dees will address how our commitment to justice for all will determine our nation's success in the next century as America becomes more diverse and economic disparity widens," said Anna Kleiner, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice.

    Dees, the son of an Alabama farmer, witnessed firsthand the painful consequences of prejudice and racial injustice. He sympathized with the Civil Rights movement but did not become actively involved until he decided to leave his safe business environment and undertake a new mission.

    He and his law partner, Joseph Levin Jr., and civil rights activist Julian Bond founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. Today the center is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, legal victories against white supremacists, and its tracking of hate groups.

    "We wanted a speaker who could address issues of race, ethnicity, and tolerance in the Southern region," said Ken Bolton, interim head of the department of sociology and criminal justice.

    During the past 25 years, Dees has been involved in several complex federal civil rights cases involving appeals to federal circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. Cases included free speech, student and teacher rights, and equal rights for women.

    In 1987, he secured a $7 million jury award in federal court on behalf of a mother of a young black man lynched by the Ku Klux Klan. The verdict represented the first time that a Klan organization had been held liable for the violent acts of its members.

    For information regarding the lecture series, contact the department of sociology and criminal justice at (985) 549-2110.

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