Roosevelt University Presents THE AMERICAN DREAM RECONSIDERED (CONVERSATIONS WITH ERIC HOLDER AND WITH COMMON) Review – The Power of Ordinary Citizens

Roosevelt University THE AMERICAN DREAM RECONSIDERED
Former Attorney General Eric Holder

What is the American Dream?-- Making something out of nothing. Using the opportunities America provides to create a life for yourself, your family, and the people around you. The American Dream Reconsidered Conference posits that our definition has shifted since the creation of our country, though, fortunately, amazing work is still being done, and inspiration is not hard to find.

No One is Better Than You

Eric Holder’s father, born in Barbados, instilled in him the power and drive that comes from knowing the the title above, and he hasn’t stopped since. The lecture with Judge Ann Claire Williams did start off with a few quips here and there. Holder coyly announced his loyalty to the New York Knicks, only to have Judge Williams respond sarcastically “I didn’t know this conversation was going to be so brief.” One interesting turn Judge Williams made was asking Holder about his work-life balance, a question usually relegated to women only. His response was solemn, admitting that his wife was essentially a single mother for a while until he made the decision to make more time for his family. It was an honest moment that this viewer sincerely appreciated, and felt made Holder more relatable.

“There is nothing more precious than casting a ballot.”

There were some musings on Holder’s potential run for president in 2020, which he said he would decide on early next year (though he mentioned having his own plane again would be wonderful). However, the main theme of Holder’s discussion was getting to the polls for midterms this November 6th. He placed emphasis on how important every voice is, and how so much of life is simply showing up and doing the right thing. “Do that, and you will make this country better than the one I give to you”

Unconditional Love

The conversation with Common, moderated by Dr. Tom Philion, the Dean of the College of Education, struck a similarly activist chord. Starting with Common’s life growing up in Chicago, learning about the Commodores and Marvin Gaye from his babysitters with “a great taste in music” and being formed by the south side and the “soul in Greenview”. His mother, Mahalia Hines (currently serving on the Chicago Board of Education), inspired a responsibility to give back to the youth.

Roosevelt University THE AMERICAN DREAM RECONSIDERED
Common

“Empower our young people, give them a chance to reach their dreams.”

There were lighter moments to the lecture as well. “I read a lot about love, I’m tryin’ to find it y’all”, he quipped after realizing so many of his readings lately had been on that romantic topic. His 6’9” father, Lonnie Lynn Sr., was also by his side up until his death in 2014, pushing Common to “take that risk”, which Common likened to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests of today. At one intimate moment, Common went into an impromptu sample of his song ‘Letter to the Free’, which he proudly performed at the White House (during Barack’s tenure he asserted), which, if only for that moment, made the enormous and extravagant Auditorium Theatre feel like a close knit group of people, bonded by kindred human spirit.

More Lectures Like THE AMERICAN DREAM RECONSIDERED

The Auditorium Theatre has been increasing the number of speaking events on its calendar, alongside the roster of music, dance, theater and more.  To keep up with the new events the Auditorium Theatre is hosting, bookmark the Auditorium Theatre website.

Photos courtesy of Roosevelt University

NATE HALL
Nate Hall Photo: Jeff Day

About the Author

Nate is an actor/composer/playwright currently based in Chicago, and originally from Los Alamos, New Mexico. He is the first graduate of Texas Tech's BFA Musical Theatre program, and has been acting for over six years, performing in the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival and Santa Fe Musical Festival, among others. His plays have been featured in one act/ten-minute play festivals, and his musical Fade Out had it's first reading in December 2017.

See his current work at actornatehall.wordpress.com or on Facebook

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