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Voting in the United States: Suppression, Registration, & Rights

As the United States approaches elections this Fall, understanding the voting process is critical. The Tulane University School of Social Work Elk Place Health Spot is going virtual to provide information on the history of voter suppression, voting rights, and voter registration. Join us for “Voting in the United States: Suppression, Registration, and Rights” on Tuesday, September 29 from 11 am to noon CDT for a series of presentations from New Orleans area experts. We'll hear from the following:

  • Melissa Haley, President of National Association of Black Social Workers
  • Nia Weeks, Founder and Executive Director of Citizen SHE United
  • Ronald L. Wilson, Attorney at Law
  • Checo Yancy, Director of Voters Organized to Educate
  • Lawrence Perry, TSSW Master of Social Work candidate

This event is online, free, and open to the public. Registration here is required.

This event is presented collaboratively with TSSW's Empowering Change task force.

Speakers Bios:

Melissa Smith Haley joined the National Association of Black Social Workers over 20 years ago as a student at Xavier University in New Orleans where she received her Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication. She  is a proud second generation graduate of Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work where she and her father received their Masters Degrees of Social Work. Melissa is the Director of Supportive Services for a non profit in New Orleans Louisiana. She has successfully managed several state and federal contracts totaling over 7 million dollars annually and a staff of over 70. During her 15 year tenure with the agency she has held the following positions: Facility Manager-Single Room Occupancy for Recovering Addicts, Assistant Program Director of Substance Abuse Services, Program Director of Recovery Services, Program Director of Children and Family Services and Program Director of Supportive Services. Her duties include staff training, contract implementation, budget development and management, hiring, program outcomes, quality assurance and stakeholder engagement. Melissa’s professional achievements include: Recipient of the NABSW Cenie Jomo William Scholarship, License Graduate Social Worker in the state of Louisiana, Outstanding Leadership-Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work presented by the Class of 1996, Past President Clark Atlanta University Chapter of ABSW, Past President Metro Washington, DC Chapter of ABSW,  National Conference Workshop Co-Chairperson, National Conference Plenary Co-Chairperson and National Conference Co-Chairperson for NABSW.

Nia Weeks is the Founder and Executive Director of Citizen SHE United, an advocacy group in Louisiana that is building an aligned base of Black Women who inform, advocate for and enact a collective policy agenda to address the needs of Black Women across the state. She is the former director of Policy and Advocacy at Women With A Vision located in New Orleans Louisiana. Nia is a native of New Orleans, and has spent years fighting for the rights of women, children, and families. Nia received her bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Women’s studies at Indiana State University, where her advocacy training began. After completing her undergraduate education, she worked in public relations before beginning law school. She then graduated with a law degree from the Loyola School of Law in New Orleans in 2009.

Ronald L. Wilson was graduated by the Tulane University School of Law in May, 1975 and was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar in October, 1975. He is licensed to practice law in the states of Colorado, Oregon, New York, and the District of Columbia, also. He is currently admitted to appear before the United States Supreme Court.  Since graduating from law school, he has been engaged in the private practice of  law - primarily public interest and civil rights litigation. He is a cooperating attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union. He is a member of various boards and foundations: the American Civil Liberties Union National Board of Directors, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, The Amistad, and the Legal Aid Bureau. 

Checo W. Yancy is the Director of Voters Organized to Educate (VOTE, C4), an organization established to advocate for re-storing the voting rights of formerly incarcerated people.  Which he now has his voting rights restored and he was able to vote for the first time in over 35 years. In his capacity as Director of VOTE, he along with Mr. Norris Henderson, the Executive Director of VOTE has worked tirelessly with the LA. Department of Corrections and the LA. Legislature, the Louisianans for Prison Alternatives (LPA), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the ACLU and other partners in pursuing the goal of restoring the voting rights and more broadly in securing the human and civil rights of formerly incarcerated individuals. In addition to his work with VOTE, Mr. Yancy currently serves as the state president of Louisiana’s Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE) a national organization whose mission is to help reduce crime through criminal justice reform.  As one of La. CURE’s community organizers, Yancy is also actively involved with the re-integration of persons back into society after incarceration. Yancy also works with various community services initiatives and programs such as the Kairos prison ministry, which allows him the opportunity to go back into the prisons to minister the Word of God – something he felt benefitted him greatly while he was incarcerated.  Before joining VOTE, Checo Yancy served as the Mentoring Program Director for the Capital Area Reentry Coalition (CAPARC), an organization that assists returning citizens in their effort to make a successful transition to life in our free society.   He worked in this capacity for 6 years.

Lawrence Perry is from Philadelphia, PA where he received his bachelor’s degree in social work from Temple University. He is currently a graduate student at Tulane School of Social Work pursing a master’s degree. Lawrence has previous experience working in child welfare for four years as a case manager at Turning Points for Children. He also created a program with his past agency called “Dads can do it too,” which aids African American providing support and resources for fathers to become strong role models, providers, and nurturers for their children. After graduating from Tulane, Lawrence plans to pursue a career as a medical social worker and continue his passion for social work. 



Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 11:00 to 12:15
Invitation status: 
Open to the public

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