Monday November 14, 2005

Racism Summit Reconvenes December 9-10

The summit envisions a racism-free Miami Valley in 20 years.

The Community Summit on Eliminating Racism's vision of a racism-free Miami Valley in 20 years will continue Dec. 9-10 at the University of Dayton.

Co-organizer and University of Dayton race law professor Vernellia Randall said the 2005 summit looks to build on its successes: helping convince the city of Dayton to approve the Matricula Consular as an acceptable form of identification for Mexican nationals and getting area doctors and hospitals to admit there are healthcare disparities between blacks and whites.

The top goal this year, Randall said, is to get more businesses involved in the discussion.

"Without institutions at the table helping us explore solutions, change will be slow to impossible," said Randall, who is often sought out by national media to discuss race and the law. "We need to increase our focus on predatory lending, so we need to get bankers and mortgage brokers involved. Another big issue is getting the media involved to discuss how different races are portrayed on the news."

Randall says the summit's work is about changing institutions rather than individuals and getting people to correctly identify and label racism.

"If one person says, 'All blacks are stupid,' that is a stereotype, not racism," Randall said. "Now, if that person is in a position of power and influence where they can create policies that are disparate against minorities, then that becomes racism."

Tim Wise, author of White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, will discuss how people of privilege unintentionally and intentionally promote racism. His talk, free and open to the public, is at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, in the Kennedy Union ballroom.

Wise is a former consultant for plaintiffs in discrimination cases in the states of Washington and New York.

Caucuses convene the next day to discuss how they can empower local anti-racism activists, increase awareness of community organizations' concerns and educate citizens on human rights laws as they relate to anti-racism work.

Saturday's session runs from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in UD's Kennedy Union ballroom. Registration is $35 and the deadline is Friday, Dec. 2.

Anyone can register online or by sending payment to Vernellia Randall, University of Dayton School of Law, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH, 45469-2772.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson at (937) 229-3391.