PITTSBURGH—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 titled “What is Economic Justice and How Do We Attain It?” at 7 p.m. June 4 at The Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd., Oakland;
• Alex Castellanos, 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 Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum; 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.”
For regular updates on the conference or to sign up for e-mail alerts, visit www.race.pitt.edu.
About Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems
In 2002, Pitt’s School of Social Work established the Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP)—the first race-research center to be housed in a school of social work. It has six foci: economic disparities; educational disparities; interracial group relations; mental health; youth, families, and the elderly; and criminal justice. CRSP fosters research by organizing research advisory panels, funding pilot studies, and assisting with funding applications. CRSP also mentors scholars through postdoctoral fellowships and guidance by senior faculty, and it disseminates knowledge through a lecture series, conferences, summer institutes, courses, and academic publications.
Research carried out by CRSP scholars has included “Pittsburgh’s Racial Demographics: Differences and Disparities,” the most comprehensive study ever done on quality-of-life issues for Pittsburgh’s Black, White, Asian, and Hispanic residents; “Raising the Stakes,” a report that suggested Allegheny County’s human services network is not prepared to adequately respond to the social ills surrounding casino gambling; and “Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Evaluation Research,” a study that revealed that providing services to Allegheny County Jail inmates while they are incarcerated and after their release dramatically reduces the chance of their returning to jail.
About Pitt’s School of Social Work
The School of Social Work strives to advance knowledge and to apply that knowledge for the fulfillment of human potential through the amelioration and prevention of social problems. The school is committed to promoting the values of social and economic justice. Recognizing the complexities of contemporary society, the school dedicates itself through its educational, research, and public service activities to advocating for a society that respects the dignity and achievement of all individuals, families, and communities. Ranked 14th in the country by “U.S. News & World Report,” the school is recognized as a leader in the field. The school is known nationally for its Center on Race and Social Problems, its model training and research programs in child welfare, and its overall leadership in the field.
About the University of Pittsburgh
Since its founding in 1787, the University of Pittsburgh has become an internationally renowned center for learning and research in the arts, sciences, humanities, professions, and health sciences, as well as a partner in regional development. The University has 34,000 students and more than 12,500 faculty, research associates, and staff on five campuses. It provides a wide range of programs and services for Western Pennsylvania, and local economy expenditure by the University and its constituents totaled $1.74 billion in FY2008. Pitt is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, an organization of 62 preeminent doctorate-granting research institutions in the United States and Canada.