In recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides of 1961, the Office of Equity and Human Rights has the pleasure of hosting Freedom Rider and Civil Rights Activist Joan Trumpauer Mulholland and her son, filmmaker Loki Mulholland, from 6-8:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021, at the Englert Civic Theatre, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City. Seating will be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This event will also be live streamed on Zoom. 

The Office is limiting the attendance of the in-person event at The Englert Theatre to the first 100 community members to register to receive a ticket on Eventbrite. There is no cost to attend or participate.

Those interested in attending the event via Zoom must register in advance.

The evening will include a film screening of "An Ordinary Hero: The True Story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland," directed by Loki Mulholland. Afterward, Abena Sankofa Imhotep of Sankofa Literary Group of Des Moines will moderate an in-panel discussion with Joan and Loki. The two will answer questions about the film as well as their continued Civil Rights and anti-racism work through the Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation. The program will be followed by a Meet and Greet where autographs, pictures, and merchandise will be available to purchase. 

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, a recipient of the 2015 National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, is a Civil Rights icon who participated in over 50 sit-ins and demonstrations by the time she was 23 years old. She was a Freedom Rider, a participant in the Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-in, the March on Washington, the Meredith March, and the Selma to Montgomery March.  She was the first white student to enroll at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi and served as the local secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She also became the first white member to be initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the largest African American Greek Sorority. For her actions, she was disowned by her family, attacked, shot at, cursed at, put on death row, and hunted down by the Klan for execution. Her path has crossed with some of the biggest names in the Civil Rights Movement: Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Diane Nash, and Julian Bond. She has appeared in numerous books and documentaries and has received numerous awards and recognition for her work in the Civil Rights Movement. 

Loki Mulholland is an award-winning filmmaker, author, and activist. An Emmy-winning producer who has received 40 Telly Awards, Loki’s films on race and social justice issues have won 14 Best Documentary awards including the National Black Film Festival for his film on institutional racism, “The Uncomfortable Truth”. His first book, “She Stood For Freedom” was nominated for the 2017 Amelia Bloomer Award.

Through the Mulhollands' work, they have found that the most effective way to change racist ideology is to begin with education. Racism is a learned behavior. Adults and children alike can benefit from a change in perspective and an increased awareness of the past. 

The Joan Trumpauer Mulholland Foundation takes a multi-faceted approach to educating people on anti-racism. Founded in 2014, the foundation began with a goal to preserve, share and continue Joan's legacy. Its goal is to educate people about the Civil Rights Movement and how they can make a difference in their community. Through classroom curricula, documentary films, podcasting, books, speaking engagements, and school assemblies, they cater to the different ways people can best understand new concepts and reframe old ones.

Date of publication

Monday, September 13, 2021