Researchers at Penn Explore Impact of Race, Poverty and Change in America

The University of Pennsylvania will host “Race, Poverty and Change in America: The Persistent Dilemmas of Equity and Equality” Dec. 4-5 in the Fitts Auditorium of Penn’s Law School, 3400 Chestnut St.

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Bringing together scholars from multiple schools and centers at Penn, along with other prominent experts and advocates, “Race, Poverty and Change in America” will explore America’s 60-year history of pursuing civil and equal rights in the midst of unemployment, high levels of incarceration, low-quality education and neighborhood blight.

Highlights include a panel on the history of change; a roundtable on reducing vulnerability for families and neighborhoods; an evening plenary session on social justice, public policy and the law with a tribute to civil rights activist U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia; a discussion on the future of education, schools and the well being of children; and an examination of critical issues in the media and representations of race, poverty and religion.

Vivian Gadsden, a professor in Penn’s Graduate School of Education, holder of the Carter Chair in Child Development and co-sponsor of the symposium, said event organizers wanted to bring scholars together to offer critical, interdisciplinary and cross-domain perspectives on equality and justice.

“Each of the four policies represents turning a spotlight on entrenched problems that limit opportunity in America – school segregation, racial discrimination, poverty and language barriers. All have contributed to expanding access and creating new discourses about these very matters. None alone could ensure the change needed to achieve equality and equity,” Gadsden said. “We hope to highlight the research and scholarship on important national issues and the tensions experienced in countless communities, such as Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere depict, as well as point to the possibilities for justice and change.”

“Race, Poverty and Change in America” is sponsored by the Carter Chair in Child Development, Penn’s Graduate School of Education, the Center for Africana Studies, the Annenberg School for Communication, the Penn Institute for Urban Research, Penn Law, the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Social Policy & Practice, the Wharton School Sports Business Initiative and centers at Penn GSE: the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy, Center for Minority-Serving Institutions, Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education, Philadelphia Writing Project, Penn Children’s Center and National Center on Fathers and Families.         

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