Nov. 18 MNU forum to debate bioethics and civil rights

MidAmerica Nazarene University’s School of Nursing and Health Science is presenting “Dark Truths and Bright Promises: Bioethics and Civil Rights,” a forum on the history of civil rights and medical issues Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. in Bell Cultural Events Center on the Olathe campus. The public is invited to attend the free event which will explore the interrelated topics of bioethics, diversity, leadership, and equality under the law.

The forum will include screening of civil rights-related documentary film clips, panel discussions and audience participation. The goal is to provide perspective regarding the tragic history relating to medical research and minority populations. Panel members will discuss current bioethical issues and consider the prospects for a more equitable and humane future.

The event is part of the larger “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” project at MNU, made possible through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. MNU plans to hold a series of additional screenings and scholarly discussion in January and February 2014 at various locations throughout the Metro.

Project Director Bruce Flanders, director, Mabee Library and Learning Commons, says he hopes the November 18 event will result in constructive dialog and learning about the civil rights struggle. Event co-sponsor, Deb Highfill. PhD, RN, dean of prelicensure nursing education at MNU, says the event will be of special interest to those in health care fields.

MNU is one of only 473 institutions across the country awarded the set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement. The powerful documentaries, The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders and The Loving Story, include dramatic scenes of incidents in the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. Freedom Riders received an Emmy in 2012, and The Loving Story and The Abolitionists have been nominated for Emmys in 2013.

Each of the films was produced with NEH support, and tells remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo of deeply rooted institutions, from slavery to segregation. Created Equal programs bring communities together to revisit our shared history and help bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American civic life. Visit for more information.

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