Racial Equity

5 Takeaways from the State of Race Symposium Social Media Ambassadors

April 8, 2016  • Arica Van Boxtel

State of Race 2016

Watch the above video for full coverage of the 2016 State of Race Symposium.

In light of continuing racial tension, the need for meaningful dialogue around racial inequality and systemic challenges is evermore apparent. The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program, in association with the Comcast Corporation, recently hosted the 2016 State of Race Symposium, which focused on dialogue around new attitudes, opportunities, and obstacles for and about people of color in 21st century America.

To expand the conversation, social media ambassadors were invited to help share opinions, observations, and exclusive previews with online communities. The social media ambassadors highlighted the key themes of the day using the hashtag #stateofrace on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more. Here are, in their own words, a few key takeaways from the day:

“The Aspen Institute State of Race Symposium stood out because it offered multiple perspectives on race and a chance for attendees to engage in the dialogue during the town hall. Most events and/or panels don’t usually engage the audience in this way — loved it! I also enjoyed my role as a social media ambassador to drive the conversation online. It was great tweeting my perspectives on the panel. Looking forward to seeing what’s next.” – Lanae Spruce, digital engagement specialist.(@_BlackMuses)

“My takeaway from the 2016 Aspen Institute Symposium on the State of Race in America was equally inspiring, frustrating, and frightening. Inspiring to hear so many brilliant people share what they are doing to make our society better. Frustrating that white people don’t care enough to be present for discussions about race, and frightening to consider that Democratic presidential candidates don’t seem to recognize that unless they learn quickly how to earn the votes of people of color, our next president could be an overt racist.” –Karen Fleshman, blogger, speaker, diversity and inclusion strategist. (@fleshmankaren)

“The Symposium on the State of Race was an inspiring, eye-opening, educational experience from start to finish. Opportunities like this one, which allow people of all colors to come together and discuss the issues at hand, are crucial to the progress of this nation towards fairness and inclusion. I was especially impacted by the conversation on the importance of inclusion on college campuses, and [Rutgers University Chancellor] Phoebe Haddon’s comments about students not being able to thrive academically if they feel under siege on their campus.” –Darlenne Helena, social media specialist. (@DarlenneH)

“You vote for elected officials to represent you. What happens when minorities do not see themselves represented in policy? Voting doesn’t guarantee that policy will change. Institutions need to make conscious decisions to change and address racism.” – Dr. Tyrone Grandison – CEO, Proficiency Labs.(@tyrgr)

“I think that in order to facilitate healthy conversations around race and injustice, they should be intergenerational, informative, and nuanced. It is also important to find ways to engage people online and offline and “meet them where they are.” –Kelsey Riley, social media manager, Donda’s House.(@fenix_rising_)


For more reactions to the 2016 Aspen Institute Symposium on the State of Race in America, check out our Storify from the event.