In Celebration of the Life of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

We shall overcome: How far have we come?

The community is invited to the annual commemoration of Dr. King's committed life to civil rights and social justice legacy, as we engage with featured panelist from various perspectives about the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

Friday, January 30, 2015
3:15 p.m., Memorial Chapel


Riche J. Daniel Barnes, Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies, Smith College

Dr. Barnes received her B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College, her M.S. in Urban Studies from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Emory University. Her ethnographic research is focused on black women and the strategies they have developed over time for their families’ survival. Her book, Raising the Race: Black Career Women Redefine Marriage, Motherhood, and Community (forthcoming Rutgers University Press 2015), is a multi-year ethnographic study investigating the gender strategies black career women employ to negotiate their position as daughters, wives and mothers. Taking issue with the work and family conflict research and policies discussed in mainstream America, Dr. Barnes explores the raced and classed differences black women encounter when balancing work and family. She has published essays on how black women navigate career and family, the role of the black middle class, contesting the image of the Strong Black Woman and the neo-politics of respectability, race, class, gender and family policy, and representations and constructions of blackness within the black community.

Dr. Barnes continues to teach, lecture and work collaboratively with activists, scholars, and policymakers to address systems of inequality that impact black women, their families, and communities. Notable projects have included ethnographies of protest post-Ferguson, Why Lean-in Feminism doesn’t resonate for gay women and women of color, the importance of Sojourner Truth in the 21st Century, and the enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. Barnes is currently working on two projects that expand her research on black motherhood: Investigating the impact of race, class, and gender on health disparities and strategies for educating and enculturating black children.

Dreisen Heath '15, African American Studies & FGSS major, Wesleyan University

Dreisen Heath is currently a senior at Wesleyan University majoring in African American Studies and Feminine, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is a very active member of the Wesleyan community serving as the Co-Chair to the African-American Studies Major Committee and a leader/coordinator in Ujamaa. In addition, Dreisen is a member of the Wesleyan Women's Basketball Team and a Residential Advisor. 

Dreisen has participated in local & national peacefully-led demonstrations, protests, and marches concerning issues of equality, human rights, and police brutality. She is committed to erasing the social injustices that plague human beings in American society and the world at large.

Her senior essay entitled, Speaking Truth to Power: Black Women’s Legacy of Politics & Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to Contemporary Times, explores the legacies of intergenerational trauma and resistance of rape and physical violence perpetrated against Black women during the Civil Rights Movement, as they affect post-Civil Rights era political behavior, including electoral politics. A part of her greater mission in life is to bring to light to the Black women’s value and to honor those bold and brave black women who laid the foundation for activist work, enabling Black sexual politics and Black women’s political power to be reclaimed and reaffirmed.

Dreisen’s postgraduate aspirations include working for federal agencies, attending law school, starting her own non-profit organization, and continuing her work in community outreach.

Kiese Laymon, Associate Professor of English, Vassar College

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA from Indiana University and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division  and a collection of essays,  How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Chief Joseph Dooley, President of the CT Police Chiefs Association

Since 2006, Joseph M. Dooley has been Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Conn.  In this position, he leads 27 sworn officers, seven full-time civilian personnel and 24 part-time University Assistants, all of whom are responsible for the safety and security of the university’s 12,000 students, faculty and staff.

Prior to joining Southern, Chief Dooley served for 25 years with the Orange, Conn., Police Department, commencing as a patrol officer in 1981. He held that role until 1985, when he began a progression up the department’s hierarchical ladder by being named an investigator with the Investigative Services Unit. This was quickly followed by promotions to Sergeant in 1986 and Lieutenant in 1987, a position he held until 1995 when he was appointed Assistant Chief of Police.

In 2002, he was elevated to Chief of Police, where he oversaw a department of 42 sworn and 12 civilian personnel for the next four years.

A graduate of Notre Dame High School in West Haven, Conn., Chief Dooley holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of New Haven and a MBA degree from Southern Connecticut State University. He graduated from the Police Officer Standard Training Academy in Milford, Conn., in 1981 and attended the FBI National Academy 148th Session at Quantico, Va., in 1987.

Prior to his appointment as President of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association for 2014-15, Chief Dooley was honored with the Distinguished Chief’s Award presented by the Police Commissioners Association of Connecticut in May, 2006. He also served as President of the Connecticut Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates in 2004-05 and the South Central Chiefs of Police Association in 2009.

He is currently the Chairman of the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors and played a leadership role in the Campaign for Notre Dame Development Project, which saw the school add Collins Auditorium, Bessette Chapel, and the Jachimowski Media Center. Chief Dooley has also been President of St. Mary Church (Milford) Parish Council. In 2013, he was recognized with Notre Dame’s Knight of Honor Award and in 2014, the Connecticut Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run Hall of Fame Award

Chief Dooley is a member of the following groups and organizations: International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators; Law Enforcement Executive Development Association; International Association of Chiefs of Police; Connecticut Chiefs of Police; New England Chiefs of Police; South Central Chiefs of Police; FBI National Academy Associates Association and National Law Enforcement Associates.