Defund and Back 2020

Graham Bodie: ​
Cade Smith: ​
Jackie Koppell: ​


OXFORD, ​Miss.—Multiple Mississippi Universities will jointly host a virtual Everybody Loves Lincoln event using humor to set the tone for interesting debate and conversations about Activism and Authority: Back the Blue vs. Defund the Police. The registration-only event will take place Tuesday, Oct. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. via Zoom.

Starting like a late night talk show, the event will begin with a funny monologue delivered by ​Tehran Von Ghasri​, a rising comedian on the Hollywood comedy scene. An interactive panel discussion featuring invited guests from across the political spectrum will follow. The event will conclude with an opportunity for participants to practice important conversational skills.
The purpose of the panel is to frame the discussion of “activism and authority” with a focus on policing. The vision for the event is for this discussion to provide a model for meaningful dialogue across varying opinions, something that participants can use to help construct their own conversations later in the evening as well as in the days, weeks, and months to come.

“I'm thrilled to be hosting this event in partnership with such illustrious institutions,” said Jackie Koppell, founder of Everybody Loves Lincoln. Civil discourse feels like a lost art these days but it doesn't have to be that way. The goal of Everybody Loves Lincoln, is to encourage people to listen while also engaging in respectful, lively conversation showing it's okay if you have to agree to disagree. With some comedy up front, it helps set the tone for a more relaxed conversation for all. Who doesn't like to laugh, right? We're so excited for the students to participate in this event discussing such a timely topic.”

Panelists for the evening will include: ​Jeff McCutchen,​ current Chief of Police at the Oxford Police Department; ​Sykina Butts, ​current senior English major at Delta State University and member of the Social Justice Club and a Democracy in Action Fellow for MSVotes, a non-partisan voter registration and voter equity organization; ​Lauren Moses, current senior Economics and Political Science major at the University of Mississippi and former Chairwoman for Young Americans for Freedom, co-president and founder of Rebels for Life, and an opinion columnist for The Daily Mississippian; and ​David May, ​Professor and Social Science Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University who has authored or coauthored six books and dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters around his research interests of fear of crime, school safety, corrections, military sociology, cybercrime, and human-robot interaction.

To register for the event, visit the ​Everybody Loves Lincoln event page​. Participation is limited to the first 300 registrants. All students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members across Mississippi are encouraged to attend the event. Registrants will receive a link to the event, using the email address provided at registration, on Monday, Oct. 19.

The event is hosted by Everybody Loves Lincoln, The University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media, The University of Mississippi Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Delta State University Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Listen First Project, the Mississippi State University College of Arts & Sciences, and the Mississippi State University Department of Communication.

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