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Ali Velshi: "Small Acts of Courage"

Small acts of courage matter. Sometimes, they change the world. Our history books are filled with the stories of those who fought for democracy and freedom―for idealism itself―against all odds, from Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. These iconic struggles for social change illustrate the importance of engagement and activism, and offer a template for the battles we are fighting today. But using the right words is often easier than taking action; action can be hard, and costly.

More than a century ago, MSNBC host Ali Velshi’s great-grandfather sent his seven-year-old son to live at Tolstoy Farm, Gandhi’s ashram in South Africa. This difficult decision would change the trajectory of his family history forever. From childhood, Velshi’s grandfather was imbued with an ethos of public service and social justice, and a belief in absolute equality among all people―ideals that his children carried forward as they escaped apartheid, emigrating to Kenya and ultimately Canada and the United States.

In Small Acts of Courage, Velshi taps into 125 years of family history to advocate for social justice as a living, breathing experience―a way of life more than an ideology. With rich detail and vivid prose, he relates the stories of regular people who made a lasting commitment to fight for change, even when success seemed impossible. This heartfelt exploration of how we can breathe new life into the principles of pluralistic democracy is an urgent call to action―for progress to be possible, we must all do whatever we can to make a difference.

Ali Velshi will be joined in conversation by Karsonya Wise Whitehead, host of Today with Dr. Kaye on WEAA 88.9 FM. 

About the Author: 

Ali Velshi is an award-winning journalist, host of Velshi, Chief Correspondent for MSNBC, and a weekly economics contributor to NPR’s Here And Now. He has covered multiple U.S. Midterm and Presidential elections and significant news stories around the globe, including extensive reporting from Ukraine and across Central and Eastern Europe during the Russian invasion, the Syrian refugee crisis from Turkey and Jordan, the Iran Nuclear Deal in Tehran, the Greek debt crisis in Athens, and the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. He hosts the Velshi Banned Book Club on MSNBC, and the Velshi Banned Book Club podcast. Velshi is known for his immersive on-the-ground reporting and his interactive discussions with small groups, which form part of his ongoing series, Velshi Across America.  He is the author of Gimme My Money Back and The Trump Indictments, co-author of How to Speak Money and the upcoming Open Space (2025). Velshi has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards and is the recipient of two National Headliner Awards and a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award.

About the Moderator: 

Karsonya Wise Whitehead is the host of Today with Dr. Kaye on WEAA 88.9 FM.   She is the founding director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice, as well as a communication and African and African American Studies professor at Loyola University.    

Program Information: 

  • Registration opens on Monday, March 18 at 12pm. 
  • Doors will open to registered attendees at 6 pm. 
  • Seating for registered attendees in Central Hall is first come, first served. 
  • All registered in-person attendees will receive a free copy of the book. 
  • There will not be a book signing following the program. 
  • Free parking vouchers are available to program attendees who park at the Franklin Street Garage (15 W. Franklin Street) after 4pm.  Ask Pratt event staff for your parking voucher prior to or after the program. 

 

Thursday, May 9 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Central Library, Central Hall
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

Event Type

Writers LIVE!, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Age Group

Adults

Compass Category

Writers LIVE at the Library

Event Publisher

Cleve Corner, Manager of Speaker & Author Engagement

Digital Signage

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