"The World of Henry Billups: Jim Crow at ...

“The World of Henry Billups: Jim Crow at the College of William and Mary” Exhibit (Photo credit: Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library)

Cover of "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarcer...

Cover via Amazon

The “R” Word | If I want to clear a room, especially if the majority of people are white and older black folks, all I have to do is say, “let’s talk about race and …” The room is empty  before I can finish my sentence.

Being the stubborn person I am, having been born under the triple sign of Leo, I forge ahead undaunted by the fear of others. My hope is that somehow, I can engage others to talk about that which is swept under the rug, pushed into a bulging closet or hidden somewhere deep in the recesses of our minds. Race. We’re color-blind, remember?

Take for instance race and how that plays out in public schools preK (or not) through 12th grade. No one wants to go there. Folks would rather talk about poverty. That’s safe. I carry Michelle Alexander‘s must read book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness,” with me as it has become a primer. The problem is real and multi-layered.

Fortunately, I’m not alone in my quest to bring this country out of the closet on race. Applied Research Center is hosting their 2012 Facing Race Conference this November in Baltimore. Here are the details:

The 2012 Facing Race Conference happens November 15-17 in Baltimore. In addition to Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Díaz, we’re excited to announce speakers advancing racial justice in different fields. Our latest lineup of plenary speakers includes:

  • Sally Kohn, political commentator and strategist
  • Janet Mock, writer and Staff Editor at People Magazine
  • Michael Omi, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

We’re looking forward to thought-provoking conversations with this amazing group of speakers…and you! Along with emcees W. Kamau Bell and Deanna ZandtFacing Race 2012 is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Even more speakers and workshops will be added throughout the summer!

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