Daily Archive: June 9, 2010


Race conference targets Black disparities…National leaders, scholars gather to suggest solutions

In what has been touted as the largest conference on race ever, the Race in America: Restructuring Inequality National Conference brought speakers from across the country together to find solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time. Opening the conference on June 3 was Dean Larry E. Davis of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and director of the Center on Race and Social Problems. In front of a full house at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Davis shared a story of racial discrimination experienced by his mother and two siblings on a train in the 1950s. FROM ALABAMA TO OBAMA—Julian Bond delights the crowd with an entertaining and inspiring keynote address.



Criminal justice…Eliminating bias and crime

Having the conversation about race as it applies to inequities in the criminal justice system will invariably lead to a discussion of politics. Because as Carnegie Mellon professor Alfred Blumstein told a packed conference room during the University of Pittsburgh’s Race In America summit, politics has introduced the vast majority of those inequities. During his portion of the “Minority Majority: Imbalance in the Criminal Justice System” session, shared with Marc Mauer, Sentencing Project executive director, Blumstein presented data on a century of arrest and incarceration rates showing the current imbalance is largely the product of political decisions, and what appears to be obvious discrimination that may be due to various factors, of which bias is a small part. NEW PARTNERS—Introducing David Kennedy at the Race in America conference, Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper said reducing violence is not just police work, but everyone’s work.


Economists set on reversing economic injustice…Minority poverty affecting entire country

As part of the Race in America conference, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and Center on Race and Social Problems, a number of sessions and presenters were focused on economic disparities for minorities. In her keynote speech on “Economic Justice,” Julianne Malveaux, a noted commentator and economist, presented startling statistics illustrating the dire economic status of African-Americans and other minorities. JULIANNE MALVEAUX speaks at the conference.


Panelists see no sign of ‘post-racial America’

For the past 19 months since the election of President Barack Obama, America has been buzzing over whether or not we now live in a “post-racial America.” At the closing panel discussion of the Race in America conference June 5, the four panelists answered that question with a resounding “NO.” “I had predicted that the election of Obama was not going to be this momentous issue that the media made it out to be,” said Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Duke University. “If you look at the status of minorities nothing much has changed.” RACE IN AMERICA PANEL—From left, back: Benjamin Jealous, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Alex Castellanos and Larry Davis. Front, from left: Tony Norman and Abigail Thernstrom.


New role for One Vision One Life

Since its inception in 2004, Once Vision One Life has worked to reduce gun violence in Pittsburgh’s North Side, Hill District and South Side (not including East End) neighborhoods through its unique front line intervention in turf battles, disputes and gang interactions to diffuse them before they result in homicides and shootings. A four-year assessment of the Allegheny County program released last week by RAND Corp. researchers, however, found the program had little impact. According to the report, One Vision “had no significant impact on homicide rates but was associated with significant increases in aggravated assault and gun assault rates in the target neighborhoods.” RICHARD GARLAND


Detroit retirement systems participate in successful recapitalization of Rivers Casino

DETROIT—The General Retirement System of the City of Detroit and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the city of Detroit (Detroit Retirement Systems), announced that they, along with other existing investors including the gaming affiliates of Rivers Casino Chairman Neil Bluhm and Walton Street Capital, have participated in a successful recapitalization of the Rivers Casino located in Pittsburgh.