The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and the Center on Race and Social Problems is hosting a summit this week that organizers say will find solutions to some of the region’s most pressing race related issues. The summit titled, “Race in America” begins Jun 3rd and runs through the 6th. The event will include 20 different panels focusing on seven key areas: economics, education, criminal justice, race relations, health, mental health, and families, youth, and the elderly. There will also be two keynote speeches.
Conference organizer and Dean of the school of Social Work at Pitt, Larry Davis, says this is a one-of-a-kind event that will bring in what he calls the best minds in the nation. Davis says the speakers and panel members were told to bring their varied experiences and expertise and expect to put them to use to find solutions to real-world issues. Members of the local community will moderate many of the panels. Davis says they looked for leaders in the areas being discussed including the head of the Pittsburgh Public School District for a panel on education and Pittsburgh’s Chief of Police for a session about crime prevention.
Longtime civil rights activist and former NAACP board chair Julian Bond 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. Julianne Malveaux, economist and president of Bennett College for Women, will speak at 7:00 the next day at the Twentieth Century Club with an address titled “What is Economic Justice and How Do We Attain It.
Following the conference, a report and action plan for each of the seven areas of focus will be published. Davis says while the participants are from all over the Untied States it will be Pittsburgh that will benefit most from the open exchange of ideas and search for solutions. Davis says, “Times of challenge provide the opportunity to create change. 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.” Updates will be posted on line during the event.