“Finding Your Voice: Helping Young People Transform Trauma into Leadership” is the topic of the 2015 Rosel Schewel Lecture in Education and Human Diversity at University of Lynchburg.
Bestselling author and anti-violence activist Michael Patrick MacDonald will give the talk at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Memorial Ballroom, Hall Campus Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.
MacDonald knows heartbreak and tragedy through personal experience from growing up in “the Southie,” a Boston neighborhood overrun with crime, drugs, violence and poverty. After seeing some of his own siblings fall prey to drugs, crime and suicide, MacDonald was determined to make a different life for him—and for others. He became a leader in nonviolence initiatives in Boston, including gun buyback programs and a vigil group. He continues to work for social change through his writing and speaking.
MacDonald won an American Book Award in 2000 for his debut book All Souls, a gritty memoir about his family and the challenges they faced. His follow-up book, Easter Rising, tells MacDonald’s story of escaping his neighborhood’s “normal” life of crime and drugs to become a leading activist. Both books will be available for sale and for signing by MacDonald after his lecture at University of Lynchburg.
MacDonald was selected for the lecture because of his compelling story and his personal experience, said Dr. Jan S. Stennette, dean of the School of Education and Human Development. She hopes his insight will be helpful to people from the Lynchburg community who work with young people. “Trauma and tragedy happen in everyone’s life,” Stennette said. “We hope people who attend Patrick’s lecture will go away and help someone—and maybe even help themselves—to overcome these challenges.”
The Rosel Schewel Lecture in Education and Human Diversity is brought annually to the campus and community by an endowment established by Elliot and Rosel Schewel. The purpose of the event is to help educate citizens and focus discussion on a topic that is important to all Americans.