Naked City

Happenings

The 17th annual Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights at UT explores "Progression vs. Regression," the effect hip-hop culture is having on American society, and how this generation views civil rights. The symposium began Wednesday and continues tonight (Thursday), 6-8pm, at the UT Law School's Francis Auditorium, with a panel discussion featuring UT professor Craig Watkins, author of Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema; Ph.D. candidates Maisha Akbar and Rana Emerson; and KAZI hip-hop DJ Sid Sharda, aka DJ Kurupt. On Friday night at 7pm, Emmy Award-winning BET Tonight host Ed Gordon delivers the keynote address at the Frank Erwin Center. All events free and open to the public. More info at www.utexas.edu/events/hemansweatt.

"Big Choices: The Future of Health Insurance for America's Families" will feature experts from the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Heritage Foundation, the Urban Institute, and other organizations. Friday, 8:30am-5pm, at the LBJ Library. Limited seating; call 471-0820 or register for free at www.utexas.edu/lbj/profdev/ct12reg.html.

This weekend the Austin Parks Foundation kicks off the summer with Austin ParksFest, a free, two-day festival, including the It's My Park! volunteer service day, a kids' carnival, an Earth Day expo, concerts, athletics, and the Texas BBQ Championship. Most events at Auditorium Shores; It's My Park! projects will take place citywide on Saturday. Interested It's My Park! volunteers can register at www.parksfest.org/partners/index.asp.

The Multi-Ethnic Chamber Alliance (a coalition of Austin's African-, Asian-, and Mexican-American chambers of commerce) will host a reception featuring this year's City Council contenders on Monday, April 28, at 5pm, at the Capital City African-American Chamber of Commerce, 5407 N. I-35 #304. Call 459-1181 x204 or e-mail cphillips@capcitychamber.org for more info.

John Brady Kiesling, the diplomat who resigned from the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, in February to protest the Iraq war, will speak at UT's Painter Hall Room 3.02, on Tuesday, April 29, 7-9pm. For info, call 459-8070.

The American Friends Service Committee's Showdown in Texas rally -- a multi-issue challenge to the Bush agenda in the Prez's old back yard -- is on tap for Saturday, May 3. Speakers at the Capitol, noon-3pm, include, among others, the Rev. Lucious Walker of Pastors for Peace; Palestinian activists Dalal Hasan and Rania Masri; poet and activist Emmanuel Ortiz; native Hawaiian advocate and activist Mililani Trask; union leader Angela Jordan; welfare-rights advocate Cheri Honkala; and Global Exchange founder Medea Benjamin. Before the rally, feeder marches -- highlighting issues for communities of color, labor unions, students and youth, environmental justice, and Palestinian solidarity -- will converge on the Capitol from locations around town. Visit www.showdowntx.com for more info.

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