On November 12, the Oakwood University Social Work Department hosted a follow-up meeting, to continue “closing the gap” in the key areas identified at the “Better Together” Conference on Race, held in September, 2009. Attendees worked on strategies to improve conditions in the areas of 1) mental health; 2) crime and race; 3) housing; 4) health care; 5) children and family; and 6) the educational system here in Huntsville.
At the “Better Together” Conference on Race in September 10-11, 2009, representatives from local government, major businesses, and institutions of higher education (Oakwood, UAH, A & M) engaged for the first time in an open dialog on race relations in the South in general, and specifically in Huntsville.
The renewed focus on racism in the U.S. in recent years has been triggered by a number of events, which continue to propel the work of advocacy groups to dismantle racism and the structures that perpetuate it at the community level. Reduction of racial hatred shown to Blacks was the focus of the “Better Together” Conference, although racial hatred is not limited to the Black American applications. Attendees at the “Better Together” Conference sought ways to methodically attempt to eliminate its root stock in the Deep South, starting in our own community of Huntsville, Alabama.
The Conference reviewed some of the racial inequalities that still exist in Huntsville. Statistics provided at the conference clearly indicate that Blacks and Latinos still lag far behind Whites in terms of income, educational attainment, access to affordable housing, life expectancy, and mental health issues. High incarceration rates among Blacks also continue to have a devastating effect on the Black family. The “Better Together” Conference created a spark for ongoing methods to address these issues. Discussion groups continued on November 12, hosted by the OU Department of Social Work.
News & Events -