Listen & Learn Speaker Series

Join Project Unity as we host our Listen & Learn Summer Speaker Series. These virtual events are actionable steps you can participate in as part of your own personal journey with race, race relations, and diversity matters. The speaker series features individuals who share their life stories and experiences as a way for the community to walk in their shoes for just that hour in time. By listening we can all learn to become more introspective about our own life journey, our biases and perceptions. Listening to someone’s walk also helps us to become more sympathetic, empathic and understanding of others. The speaker series also features the lives and journeys of key figures in our history. Join us!

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2021 Speaker Series

September 2021 | Dr. Fred Jones test test test test test

“Nightmare at the Lorraine Motel”
Featured Speaker – Contributing Author, Dr. Fred Jones

This book is a collaboration of different authors looking at Dr. Martin Luther King from the perspective of not so much the “Dream”, but the “Nightmare of America” from the thought process of Dr. King’s last night on earth, April 3rd. Dr. Jones writes a chapter on Politics that looks at the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 which was Dr. King’s first entrance into the mainstream fight of the Civil Rights movement.

To purchase your copy of Nightmare at the Lorraine Motel ahead of the event, email Dr. Jones at

October 2021 | Dale Long test test test test test

Mr. Dale Long is one of few remaining survivors of the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church where four of his friends were tragically killed and twenty-seven people were injured. Mr. Long and his late brother escaped unscathed. We took an hour to “walk in his shoes” as he shared his story of that painful day in history.

November 2021 | Captain Richard G. Stewart, Jr., JAGC US Navy (Ret)

In honor of our military veterans, we highlighted the accomplishments and shared in the story of Captain Richard G. Stewart, Jr., Esquire. Captain Stewart grew up during Jim Crow in Shreveport, LA, and attended segregated schools. A career military officer, he has 24 years of service in the United States Navy and was the first African-American to command a Naval Legal Service officer and reach captain rank in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corp in 1991.

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2022 Summer Speaker Series

May 2022 | Qubilah Shabazz, Daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz

Qubilah Shabazz is the daughter of American former Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X. She was born on December 25, 1960, in Queens, New York City, New York, to Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She witnessed the assassination of her father when she was just four years old. The incident took place on February 21, 1965, when Malcolm X was preparing to address the ‘Organization of Afro-American Unity’ (OAAU) at the ‘Audubon Theatre and Ballroom’ in Manhattan.

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June 2022 | Ms. Opal Lee, “Grandmother of Juneteenth”

Known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” Ms. Opal Lee was present on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act bill that established June 19 or “Juneteenth” a federal holiday. Ms. Lee said on that day, “Now we can celebrate freedom from the 19th of June to the 4th of July!”

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July 2022 | Rev. Peter Johnson, Prominent Civil Rights Leader

Peter Jerome Johnson was born in 1945 in Plaquemine, Louisiana. He began his entry into the civil rights movement as a teenager when he convinced a hometown gang of young toughs, calling themselves the Trojans, to transform themselves into an NAACP youth chapter in which Peter served as president. He attended schools in Plaquemine and decided to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. By the time he reached Southern, he was almost a full-time civil rights worker. His motto was, “Have picket, will travel”.

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2023 Summer Speaker Series

July 2023 | Florence Shapiro, Daughter of Holocaust Survivors

Florence Shapiro is the daughter of Holocaust survivors, Ann and Martin Donald. She was born in New York City on May 2, 1948. Following the War, Shapiro’s mother was pregnant with her on the ship passage from England to New York City. After a decade in New York city, her family moved to Dallas, Texas where Florence began her educational journey graduating from Hillcrest High School, and the University of Texas at Austin. While she held a lengthy career in public service, Plano City Council, Mayor and Texas State Senator, it’s her family’s story and journey which helped to guide her love for family, education and the community.

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August 2023 | The Shankleville Story: A Family. A Community. A Freedom Colony.

The Shankleville Community is one of the more than 500 “unmapped and unplatted” Texas Freedom Colonies organized by newly emancipated Texans between 1865 and the early twentieth century. Located in Deep East Texas’ Newton County, the community gets its name from Jim and Winnie Shankle, the first African Americans in the county to purchase land.

Lareatha Clay, the Shankles’ great-great-great-granddaughter, tells the story of the founding of Shankleville, and the lifelong lessons about love, perseverance and resilience that have been passed down from generation to generation. Her story is yet another story of knowing our roots and tracing our ancestry to discover how each of our families shaped America’s history.

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September 2023 | Dr. Michael Hinojosa: A Rise to Leadership

Dr. Michael Hinojosa is known for his leadership and career longevity in education. He has served more than 27 years as a superintendent/CEO of six public education systems, including two of the 25 largest school systems in America, Dallas ISD in Texas, and the Cobb County School District in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. While many locals are familiar with him as superintendent of Dallas ISD, he began his rise to leadership began in 1975 as a senior at Sunset High School, a Dallas ISD school.

Not knowing where his path would take him post high school graduation, it was a teacher who saw potential in him and encouraged Dr. Hinojosa to apply for a teaching scholarship. So, his journey in education began where he embarked on touching lives as a coach, teacher, and administrator. His story is one that demonstrates a rise to leadership and how we all can impact the lives of one person who can then help change an entire community, and perhaps even the world.

You are invited to walk in his shoes and hear the story of his journey from challenges to triumphs through faith, family, and influencers who helped shape his destiny.

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