Keynote Part One: Toussaint Romain: When ‘Say What’ Doesn't Work
Civil rights activist, former public defender and Constitutional Law educator Toussaint Romain discusses free speech, activism, public protest, law enforcement and your rights. After a 45-60 minute talk, audience members will be invited to ask questions and further the conversation around issues facing Appalachian’s campus and beyond.
*This event may be recorded or live streamed.
Toussaint Romain is a public defender in Charlotte, North Carolina. Romain became a key figure, civil rights leader and peacekeeper during the protests of the Shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in September 2016. Romain is a community advocate who has spoken across the nation, taught continuing legal education courses (CLEs) and developed community initiatives for his local community. He was featured on live television several times both for interviews and as a peacekeeper forming a physical barrier between demonstrators and the police on the second night of the protests. Romain is also an adjunct professor of criminal justice and criminology at the UNC Charlotte (UNCC) campus, where he instructs constitutional law.
Romain earned his B.A. from UNCC, where he was a Conference USA Track & Field champion and student leader. Prior to earning his law degree from Regent University in 2007, Romain worked for federal prosecutors, judges, large firms and U.S. Senator John Edwards. He also studied at the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. Romain has received numerous awards and recognitions from a variety of diverse organizations. He has spoken locally, regionally and nationally on issues of leadership and race. Additionally, he is often sought to teach other lawyers on a variety of legal issues. He is married with three children and has a beagle named Caicos.
Say What? Examining Freedom of Speech at App State
Appalachian State University, like universities across the nation, faces the challenge of balancing a respect for and obligation to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution with an institutional culture of respect for thought, belief and community.
- When members of our community express themselves in ways that belittle or degrade others, how do we address these actions?
- When members of our community view expressions of speech as threats, how do we ensure their safety?
- How can we protect freedom of speech and thought for all members of our community?
- Can we – or should we – use policy to address these matters?
Each semester, the Appalachian Community investigates these questions, and others like them, through intentional programming designed to explore meaningful, challenging issues respectfully.
Join us for a weeklong series of conversations, panel discussions, speeches and forums.