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Nobody Knows: (Un)Muted Voices
43rd Annual USC Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reception to follow.

Admission is free.


In celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are excited to present Nobody Knows: (Un)Muted Voices. 

Following up on the first iteration of Nobody Knows at the GRAMMY Museum, Nobody Knows: (Un)Muted Voices is inspired by the first two words of the African American spiritual, “Nobody Knows (The Troubles I’ve Seen).” To highlight the challenges and triumphs of those walking silently in the shadows, USC Thornton School of Music professor Ronald C. McCurdy and USC School of Dramatic Arts professor Anita Dashiell-Sparks will curate performances by students who will tell their stories via poetry, dance, video, and music.

The event will also include conversations facilitated by Rossier School of Education professor Brandi P. Jones with the performers, curators, Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer of USC Dornsife Quade French, Assistant Vice Provost for USC Student Life Naddia Palacios, and Reverend Brandon Harris, Associate Dean of USC Religious and Spritual Life, that will bring us together as we unmute and amplify the stories of marginalized communities.


Anita Dashiell-Sparks is the Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Vice Chair of Performance; and Burns Professor of Theatre Practice in Acting at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. As an actor, she is a veteran of the Broadway stage, Off-Broadway, and regional theaters across the country including the Geffen Playhouse and Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. In addition, she has directed Safe Harbor (Lower Depth Theatre), as well as Letters from Zora at the Tony Award–winning Crossroads Theatre and two critically acclaimed engagements at the Pasadena Playhouse, among others. She has received local, state, and national grants for her artistic scholarship and arts education including a recent Creative Art Placemaking Grant from the California Arts Council.

Quade French is the Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer of USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. In his work, he centers relationship-building as foundational to any systemic change. He guides leadership, faculty, staff, and students to emphasize humility over hubris in the pursuit of equity, curiosity over certainty as they work to build an inclusive community, and courage over fear to cultivate a positive culture at USC Dornsife.

The Reverend Brandon Harris is Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at USC. Previously, he served as a Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University, where he taught courses on African American religious thought, lived as a chaplain in residence, and served as the co-chair of Martin Luther King Jr. Initiative. Additionally, Reverend Harris is the youngest Senior Minister to ever lead the 131-year-old Peoples Congregational Church in Washington, D.C..

Brandi P. Jones, professor of research at the USC Rossier School of Education, is a national thought leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion whose research centers on the experiences of minoritized and marginalized communities in science and engineering. As chief of staff and chief operating officer for the USC Race and Equity Center, she partners with corporations and educational organizations to illuminate, disrupt, and dismantle racism and inequities.

Ronald C. McCurdy is a professor of music and Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he served as chair of the jazz department from 2002 to 2008. He has served as a consultant to the GRAMMY Foundation and the Walt Disney All-American College Band and continues to tour the Langston Hughes Project. McCurdy has also created or co-created several interdisciplinary productions including Letters from Zora (Hurston) and Shanghai Jazz: A Cultural Mix.

Naddia Palacios serves as the Assistant Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Student Equity and Inclusion, with a portfolio that includes Asian Pacific American Student Services, Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, First Generation Plus Success Center, Latinx/Chicanx Center for Advocacy and Student Affairs, LGBTQ+ Student Center, Student Basic Needs and the Veterans Resource Center. She acts as the campus-wide liaison for DEI issues that impact the student experience and leads student development programs and student-facing DEI services that focus on intersectionality, sense of belonging and well-being among our students.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices. Organized by Ronald C. McCurdy (Music), Anita Dashiell-Sparks (Dramatic Arts), and Brandi P. Jones (Education). Co-sponsored by the USC Black Staff & Faculty Caucus and the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs.

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