Toward Justice: A City-Wide Upstanders' Project
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Toward Justice: A City-Wide Upstanders' Project

05/02/2018, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Memphis Jewish Community Center map

Marcy Stagner


Memphis Jewish Community Center( )


A group of Memphis-based leaders come together to present the month-long project, “Toward Justice: A City-Wide Upstanders’ Project.” Participating agencies include Facing History and Ourselves, Indie Memphis, OUTMemphis, Latino Memphis, the Memphis Islamic Center, Crosstown Arts, The Shelby County Government Office of Multicultural and Hispanic Affairs, and Latinos of Memphis.


Kicking off the project is keynote speaker, Bob Zellner, who will be speaking at the Memphis Jewish Community Center on Wednesday, May 2nd at 7:00. Bob is one of the most influential leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, from the 1960s to today. The son and grandson of Ku Klux Klan members, he risked his life – and nearly lost it – many times in the fight to achieve The Second Emancipation. As an organizer of The Freedom Rides of 1961 and the first white southerner to serve as field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, Rosa Parks, and many other civil rights leaders.

Bob captivates audiences with the untold stories of the Civil Rights Movement and his dedication to fighting for the rights of others. Drawing on decades of experience guiding the movement and his ongoing active role, he presents a modern-day message for combating deep-seated racism, discrimination and prejudice, and sparking widespread social change.

In addition to the keynote speaking event, we will also be screening the film, Besa: The Promise on Tuesday, May 15th at 7:00pm.  BESA: The Promise weaves Albania’s heroism in WWII through the journeys of two men.

The first is Norman Gershman, a renowned Jewish-American photographer determined to document first-person accounts of the Albanian Muslims who rescued Jews during the Holocaust.

The other is Rexhep Hoxha, a Muslim-Albanian. Rexhep must fulfill the promise made to a Jewish family his father rescued during the Holocaust and return to them a set of Hebrew prayer books they left behind.

Throughout the month of May, the art installation created by Yancy Villa-Calvo titled, Barrier-Free will be displayed in the lobby of the MJCC. Barrier Free is a socially engaged art installation about the impact of barriers. This large installation includes three main elements: a physical barrier with portraits of families and individuals, free standing life-size mirror and cut-out silhouettes of families surrounding the wall, and an actual fence in which people can express a wish, a frustration, a solution, a thought or a prayer.

In addition to the art installation, we will also feature an art exhibition by Memphis-based artist, Carl E. Moore. Carl’s paintings deal with identity and color with the goal of comparing social ideologies about race, stereotypes, and belief systems to everyday colors and the perception of these colors in our environment.

Finally, a curated photography and storytelling exhibition titled, I Am Your Protector will be displayed around the main lobby of the MJCC. Stories and photographs of local, national, and international people who have been a “protector” of someone who is different from them will be on display in the main lobby of the MJCC. These stories and photos are a powerful conversation starter.

All events in Toward Justice: A City-Wide Upstanders’ Project are free and open to the public. For more information, you can go to or contact Marcy Stagner, Program Director of Cultural Arts and Adult Services at 901-259-9230 or at