Monday January 23, 2006

Training Children to Eliminate Racism

Community Summit on Eliminating Racism will hold a follow-up meeting to its biennial summit held last December.

A local group will train youth how to identify and help eliminate institutional racism so it doesn't perpetuate from generation to generation from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in the University of Dayton's Keller Hall, room 115.

Unequal discipline in the local juvenile justice system will be another target of the Community Summit on Eliminating Racism when it holds a follow-up meeting to its biennial summit held last month.

"White defendants usually are held over for rehabilitation or receive lighter sentences or probation," said Vernellia Randall, summit co-organizer and UD race law professor. "Blacks are more likely to be tried in adult courts and receive longer sentences. Seeing how judges dictate penalties, they have the power to change policies that unfairly impact minorities."

Randall, who has been interviewed by the national media about race and the law, says the summit's work is about changing institutions rather than individuals. She wants people to correctly identify and label racism.

"If a 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."

Summit caucuses will wrap up their strategic planning sessions started in December. The follow-up meeting is free and open to the public. It is not necessary to have attended the summit to attend the follow-up meeting.

"This is another chance for people who would like to help us but were not able to attend in December," Randall said. "The break between meetings is beneficial. People have an opportunity to reflect on the summit's progress and can bring ideas to the follow-up meeting that they may not have thought of previously."

Randall said about 30 children participated in December's youth caucus.

The caucuses on education, environmental, health care, ethnic and cultural, diversity, housing, and technology also will meet during the follow-up meeting.

Since forming in 2003, the summit helped convince the city of Dayton to approve the Matricula Consular as an acceptable form of identification for Mexican nationals and influenced area doctors and hospitals to admit healthcare disparities between blacks and whites.

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