Communications and Society Program
Communications and Society Program
Aspen Institute Symposium on The State of Race in America
The Aspen Institute Symposium on the State of Race in America explores new attitudes, opportunities, and challenges for and about people of color in 21st century America. The annual event is presented by the Communications and Society Program in association with Comcast Corporation.
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Welcome and Introduction by Charles M. Firestone, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program
Remarks by David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation
Opening Presentation: Attitudes Towards Race
The recession and housing bust hit minority communities the hardest, as Hispanic households on average lost nearly half of their home equity and Black households lost 28% between 2007 and 2010, according to the Urban Institute. Due to the loss of homes by people of color, the wealth gap is likely to increase as minorities are finding it more difficult to enter back into the housing market. What will these disparities and demographic shifts mean for race and class in the United States? How will the lack of affordable housing for minorities affect their ability to take financial risks?
Violence in Minority CommunitiesWith the recent tragic events at the Naval Yard in Washington, D.C. and in Newtown, Connecticut, the subject of violence in communities is at the forefront of the minds of many Americans. Last year, 333 people were murdered in Philadelphia and 75% of the victims and perpetrators were African American males. In communities where people of color are without jobs, healthcare and homes, many are resorting to a life of crime. And while poverty is not an excuse for criminal behavior, it is an explanation for it. What are some long-term solutions for decreasing violence in minority communities? While there are policy efforts in place to combat international terrorism, are there equal policies in place to combat domestic terrorism? How can local, state and federal agencies collaborate to combat crime effectively in U.S. communities of color?
Race, Media and Politics
Interviews of Mayors Michael Nutter and Mitch Landrieu provide a perspective on the role of race in local politics, looking at how Philadelphia and New Orleans have addressed racial issues and divides. Additionally, the way the media cover issues such as housing, education, and violence is especially important in the formation of racial and cultural attitudes. The panel provides two mayors' perspective on the representation of race and racially charged political issues in the media.
For more information, please contact Kiahna Williams, Senior Project Manager, Communications and Society Program at 202-736-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Welcome and Introduction by Charles M. Firestone, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program.
Presentation on the Demographics of Race
Presenter:Paul Taylor, Executive Vice-President and Director of Social and Demographic Trends Project, Pew Research Center
The Impact of Faith - based Communities on Race Relations Panel.
Churches have played an insurmountable role in race issues since the 1960's. Religious leaders are now taking platforms on issues like immigration and inequality in the criminal justice system, among others. How citizens view their faith and are practicing it continues to serve as a catalyst for the major changes that are happening in society.
Panelists:Abed Awad, Attorney, Specialist in Islamic Law; Ralph Reed, Founder and Chairman, Faith and Freedom Coalition; Jasjit Singh, Executive Director, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Juan Williams, Political Analyst, Fox News (moderator).
Panel on YouthPresent day race relations in the United States have had a large impact on the youth and next generation of Americans. How has the national dialogue on race shaped the perspective of America's youth? Are young men and women of the United States prepared for a society here minorities (people of color) are the majority?
Panelists:Christina Downs, Editor-in-Chief,The Hilltop, Howard University; Kristal High, Editor-in-Chief, Politic365; Victor Rios, Author of Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys; Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts and Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent,PBS NewsHour (moderator).
Media and Popular Culture Panel
Racial and cultural attitudes are often formed more from entertainment media than the news. Hip-Hop music, movies, YouTube videos and television sitcoms and dramas bring current attitudes to the public consciousness nearly instantaneously. Sports and entertainment icons become role models for all youth whether intentional or not.
Concluding Remarks by Historian and Author: Taylor Branch
Presenter: Taylor Branch, Historian and Author, 'The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.'
April 9, 2012 - The Newseum
The Second Symposium examined individual, cultural, institutional and structural causes of racial problems, looking towards new and viable solutions. It featured five substantive panel sessions: Political Factors, the Latino Vote, the New American Identity, Education, and News Media. The discussions were moderated by Juan Williams and Jose Diaz-Balart.
- Watch the panels
- Download the agenda
- See list of participants
- Presentation by Dr. James Jackson
- C-SPAN coverage
- Predicting the Latino Vote in 2012
April 11, 2011 - The Newseum
The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, in association with Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change and Comcast Corporation, hosted the inaugural Aspen Institute Symposium on the State of Race in America on April 11th, 2011. The Symposium examined individual, cultural, institutional, and structural implications of race, and explored the impact of change in the context of the home, workplace, school, and the public sphere. The discussions were moderated by Juan Williams and Richard Liu.
Introduction and Panel 1: Family and Identity Factors
Panel 2: Race and Politics
Panel 3: Institutional Factors
Panel 4: Media and Popular Culture
The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program serves as a non-partisan venue for global leaders and experts to exchange insights on the societal impact of advances in digital technology and network communications. It also creates a multidisciplinary space in the communications policy-making world where veteran and emerging decision-makers can explore new concepts and develop new policy networks. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners.