ACLU of Michigan to commemorate 50th anniversary with Legacy Lectures

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is commemorating its 50th anniversary with a series of Legacy Lectures. The first this year will be held on Wed., March 10 with featured speaker Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award-winning writer of the screenplay, "Milk." The lecture begins at 6 p.m., and will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Avenue.

Black will discuss "Activism and the Creative Class: The Art of Building Inclusive Communities." The lecture will focus on building communities that enliven the economy, enhance understanding and cooperation and provide new opportunities for social and political engagement. In addition, the lecture will explore the impact of artist/advocates in this new political age.

Black, who is 36, will share his personal experiences as an artist and strong advocate for LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) rights. The gay son of devout Mormon parents who grew up in Texas, Black dared to come out, be himself and pursue his dreams. He won the 2008 Academy Award and Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Milk," the Gus Van Sant-directed biopic of the late gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Black also won acclaim for his work as a writer and producer of the HBO series, "Big Love," about a modern Mormon family in Utah practicing polygamy, and for his screenplay, "Pedro," about the late AIDS activist Pedro Zamora.

Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan said, "We are extremely honored to have Dustin Lance Black as our next Legacy lecturer. Dustin is living proof that art is a powerful medium to effect change in our country. Whether we are dealing with the issue of freedom of expression, LGBT rights, or government abuses of power, it is Michigan artists and advocates who are working to break down societal barriers and change perceptions."

The ACLU invites metro Detroit artist/advocates to contribute to the dialogue and share their local perspectives on the subject. The evening includes a strolling reception, a raffle and an opportunity for networking.

The event sponsors are the ACLU of Michigan; LGBT Project Leadership Committee; Between the Lines; Bureau of Urban Living; Cooley Law School; Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion; MSU College of Law; Rachel's Place; Slows Bar BQ: and The Whitney.

Tickets are $30 members; $40 non-members; $10 students; $100 VIP (VIP tickets include premium seating and admission to a private reception). To purchase tickets, visit, or call (313) 578-6827.

Published: Mon, Feb 22, 2010