Moments of Reckoning:
Global Calls for Racial Equity and Action
E.N. Thompson Logo

After a painful year of protest and a global pandemic, the world is reemerging with a clearer understanding of the broad and complex picture of systemic racism and the need for action. This year’s season not only highlights historical and contemporary cases of discrimination, but it celebrates efforts to dismantle oppression in the quest for justice.


FREE and open to the public.

UNL Faculty Discussion

September 1, 2021

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia

November 2, 2021

Anna Deavere Smith

February 9, 2022

Forum Youth Panel

March 22, 2022

Walter Echo-Hawk

April 6, 2022

UNL Faculty Discussion

September 1, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. | Kimball Recital Hall
"Global and Historical Moments of Reckoning with UNL Faculty"

Partnership with UNL's College of Arts and Sciences

Watch Video of This Discussion

This kickoff event will include faculty from the departments of History and English, the Humanities in Medicine Program, and the Center for Great Plains Studies to focus on different groups and periods of racial reckoning and action.

Moderator: Nkenge Friday

Ng’ang’a Wahu-Mũchiri, "Perspectives from Africa"
Deirdre Cooper Owens, "Race, Gender, and Women’s Health"
William Thomas, "American Families Challenging Slavery"
Margaret Jacobs, "Indigenous Reckoning Around the World"

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia portrait

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia 

November 2, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. | Lied Center for Performing Arts
"Facing Immigrant Exclusion: Then and Now"

Partnership with the Nebraska College of Law

Watch Video of this Talk

Wadhia is Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Clinical Professor of Law at Penn State Law in University Park. Her research focuses on the role of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law and the intersections of race, national security and immigration. Wadhia will talk about immigration reform, and the need to adopt a legal and policy framework that considers the factors driving disparate immigration enforcement–policies that affirm and include, as opposed to punish or exclude.

Anna Deavere Smith portrait

Anna Deavere Smith

February 9, 2022 - 4:00 p.m. | Lied Center for Performing Arts
A Conversation on Race and the Arts, Moderated by Sändra Washington

Partnership with the Lied Center for Performing Arts

Watch the Conversation

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, teacher, and author, credited with creating a new form of theater. Smith received the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal and the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Her acting credits in television include Shonda Rhimes’s new “untitled project,” For the People, Blackish, Nurse Jackie, and The West Wing, and her film credits include The American President, Rachel Getting Married, Philadelphia, Dave, Rent, and Human Stain.

Note: “A Conversation on Race and the Arts” will take place at 4:00 pm, prior to Smith’s 7:30 pm performance of her most recent original work, Notes from the Field, which looks at the vulnerability of youth, the criminal justice system, and contemporary activism.

Composite photo of four youth panel participants

Forum Youth Panel

March 22, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. | The Bay 2005 Y St, Lincoln, NE 68503
"Performative Activism: Youths Reckoning with Racial Justice"

Partnership with the University Honors Program

Watch the Panel Discussion

At this Cooper Conversation, young activists from UNL and Lincoln come together to discuss their activism, what motivates them, and how to move forward. Panelists will address the intersection of their own communities’ fight for racial justice, focusing on a rise in performative activism, allyship, burden of representation, and microaggressions. Moderated by Meyri Ibrahim, UNL political science and journalism major.

Walter Echo-Hawk portrait

Walter Echo-Hawk

April 6, 2022 - 7:00 p.m. | Lied Center for Performing Arts
"Reckoning and Reconciliation on the Great Plains: Healing Historical Harm Caused by Conquest and Colonialism"

Partnership with the Center for Great Plains Studies

Watch Video for Walter Echo-Hawk

Echo-Hawk is President of the Pawnee Nation Business Council. He is an author, attorney, and and well-renowned legal scholar. A Pawnee Indian with a BA, Political Science, Oklahoma St. Univ. (1970) and JD, UNM (1973), he practices law in Oklahoma.

Lied Center for Performing Arts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Cooper Foundation

Lectures are streamed online at, and are available on Lincoln City and Education TV channels, and University of Nebraska–Lincoln KRNU radio 90.3 FM.

The E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues is a cooperative project of the Cooper Foundation, Lied Center for Performing Arts, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It was established in 1988 with the purpose of bringing a diversity of viewpoints on international and public policy issues to the university and people of Nebraska to promote understanding and encourage debate.