Talking about race

Equity Summit 2018: Conversations on Race and Reconciliation brings together academics, community leaders

A summit on talking about race in America grew naturally out of a conversation.

Jennifer Gunter, ’17 Ph.D. history and director of the S.C. Collaborative on Race and Reconciliation, wanted to bring together a group of community leaders dedicated to equity and inclusion to learn from one another about projects that were working.

One such project idea came up in conversation with her mentor, Susan Glisson, co-director of Sustainable Equity, who works with residents using theater to develop community trust.

“We’re all trying to get to the same place, we’re just taking different cars,” says Gunter, whose brainchild Equity Summit 2018: Conversations on Race and Reconciliation will take place Nov. 8-9 at the University of South Carolina. “This conference will be a time and place for like-minded folks to come together and learn strategies, share stories and collaborate.”

The summit is an extension of the work being done by the university’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, says UofSC chief diversity officer John Dozier.

“We want to engage our community partners and stakeholders in conversations that reveal some of the underlying beliefs that perpetuate stereotypes and prevent us from appreciating the individuality and uniqueness of all citizens,” Dozier says.

Glisson will deliver the keynote address “Only Cheap Talk is Cheap: Creating Deliberative Friendship and Pro-social Environments for Healing and Equity,” on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Russell House Theater.

On Nov. 9, two panels will discuss diversity initiatives and Arnold School of Public Health faculty Janice Probst and Saundra Glover will talk about their recent paper, “Strange Harvest: A Cross-sectional Ecological Analysis of the Association Between Historic Lynching Events and 2010-2014 County Mortality Rates.”

Those panels will focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives underway at universities across the country and methods of bring folks together that have worked in other communities around the world.

“Our inaugural Equity Summit 2018 provides an important opportunity to bring together leading academics and activists from across our state and beyond to collaborate on race and reconciliation,” university President Harris Pastides says. “These important conversations build upon UofSC’s strong commitment to encourage open, but respectful and civil dialogue, while advancing greater unity throughout our South Carolina communities.”

The events are free and open to the public. The summit is co-sponsored by the South Carolina Collaborative for Race and Reconciliation, the Center for Civil Rights History and Research, the Arnold School of Public Health and Children’s Trust SC.

For registration and more information visit the summit’s webpage.

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