PITTSBURGH, PA — The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and the Center on Race and Social Problems will host “Race in America” — designed to be the most solution-focused conference on race ever held — on the University’s Pittsburgh campus June 3-6.
Seven key areas will be explored during “Race in America”: economics, education, criminal justice, race relations, health, mental health, and families, youth, and the elderly. There will be two keynote speeches and a panel discussion, all open to the public, as well as 20 sessions for conference participants. Forty of the nation’s most prominent experts on race will give presentations in the conference sessions.
Conference participants — a multiracial group of researchers, policy makers, students, and community leaders — will be asked to identify the most pervasive instances of racial inequities, explore the factors that contribute to them, and work on actionable steps that can be taken at the federal, state, and local levels to help build greater equity in our society.
In addition to experts from Pitt, conference presenters are from Boston College; Brandeis University; Carnegie Mellon University; Georgetown University; Harvard University; Indiana University; the NAACP; New York University; Ohio State University; Texas A&M University; the University of Alabama-Birmingham; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Michigan; the University of Minnesota; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; the University of Texas; the University of Washington; the U.S. Census Bureau; and Washington University in St. Louis, among others.
Guest speakers will include: -- Julian Bond, longtime civil rights activist and former NAACP board chair, who will give a free public address titled "The Road to Freedom: From Alabama to Obama" at 7 p.m. June 3 at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum, 4141 Fifth Ave.; -- Julianne Malveaux, economist and president of Bennett College for Women, who will give a free public address at 7 p.m. June 4 at The Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland; -- Alex Castellanos, partner at National Media, Inc., and a frequent guest commentator on CNN, who will moderate a free public panel discussion titled "Post-racial America--Does It and Should It Exist?" at 7 p.m. June 5 at The Twentieth Century Club; and -- Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, who will be one of the panelists in that discussion.
Following the conference, a report and action plan for each of the seven areas of focus will be produced.
“Times of challenge provide the opportunity to create change,” says Larry E. Davis, dean of the School of Social Work, Donald M. Henderson Professor, and director of the Center on Race and Social Problems at Pitt. “As the nation continues its efforts to recover from an economic downturn, there has never been a better time to reexamine and correct racial inequalities in American society. It is our intent to make this the best conference ever on race in America. More importantly, it is our goal to make it the most useful one.”