Continuing the Legacy

The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice is pleased to announce The Frances Tarlton “Sissy” Farenthold Endowed Lecture Series in Peace, Social Justice and Human Rights, which will honor Sissy for her relentless pursuit of social justice.  We are also delighted that Houston’s Rothko Chapel, where Sissy served as chair of the board for many years, will host the lecture at the Chapel in alternating years.

In line with Sissy’s own history of exposing and responding to injustices and inequality as both a public servant and citizen, the lecture series will bring to Austin and Houston internationally renowned scholars, activists and politicians who will inspire their audiences to think and act creatively to respond to some of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. (See previous lecturers below.)

Many of Sissy’s supporters from across the country have already donated or pledged nearly $100,000 to establish the endowment (see full list to the right). Our goal is to reach $200,000 to support the lecture series in perpetuity. Gifts of any amount will help us toward that goal. All who make or pledge a donation of at least $5,000 will be listed in the Circle of Friends. Distributions from the endowment will be used to support the lecture series and relevant scholarship and programming in issues of peace, social justice and human rights in Sissy’s name.

Gifts and pledges may be made by credit card or by check (payable to “UT Austin Farenthold Endowment”), mailed to The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, University of Texas School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78705. To make a gift or pledge by phone, please call us at 512-232-4857.


The 2017 lecture will feature labor organizer and activist Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Co-Director of Caring Across Generations. Her presentation, entitled “Immigration and the Future of American Families,” will focus on the role of immigrant women in the American care economy, which is increasingly a central part of our entire economy. Her talk will begin with her personal story, and weave in the stories and solutions of immigrant women and our movement for a more caring economy and democracy. The event will take place on October 19, 2017 at the University of Texas School of Law. Full details here.


The 2016 lecture featured Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. The event, entitled “Yes Justice, Yes Peace: The Role of Art in Confronting Inequality,” took place on October 3, 2016 at the Rothko Chapel in Houston. The lecture explored the intersection of the arts and human rights, and the need for artists and non-artists alike to engage more fully with the power of artistic expression in the instigation of social change. Mr. Walker was in conversation with Sarah Lewis, professor, curator, and bestselling author. A reception on the plaza followed in celebration of Sissy’s birthday. For more information, please click here.


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The 2015 lecture featured writer, journalist, and professor Mark Danner. His talk was entitled “Spiraling Down: Human Rights, Endless War.” For more information, including photos and video, please click here.