Race in America: Cabrini to host panel for ongoing issues of racial disparity

By Megan Fee
September 15, 2020

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On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the Cabrini Academic Affairs office along with the Nerney Leadership Institute and the Office of Diversity Initiatives will be hosting a panel of three Philadelphia-based Black women to discuss matters of racial injustices and examine issues of disparity from “a social, educational and legal perspective.”

Dr. Chioma Ugochukwu, the provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be moderating the event/panel, which will take place in the Widener Lecture Hall from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. followed by questions until 3:30 p.m. Students have the option to attend in-person or can attend via live stream on Cabrini’s YouTube channel.

The panel will consist of Keir Bradford-Grey, the chief defender of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, Andrea Lawful-Sanders, a radio host for WURD and writer for WHYY and the Philadelphia Sun and Dr. Zakia Gates, an assistant professor of teacher education at Cabrini.

“The panelists for our Race in America conversation are individuals who are well known in the community for their own work on some of these issues,” Ugochukwu wrote via email. “They are right for this critical conversation because they are well versed in the issues and will not offer surface solutions. They are doers who have done their part to effect change and implement policies that have directly and positively impacted everyday Americans and society at large.” 

According to Ugochukwu, the focal point of the discussion will be about the latest news events, discrimination and other injustices in education and academic institutions, as well as prejudices in the immigration and criminal justice systems in America.

“We are at a moment in the country that is ripe for the examination of inequities in all aspects of social life,” Ugochukwu wrote. “COVID-19 unmasked the disparities in health services and outcomes. The ensuing lockdown exposed the digital divide and imbalance in our schools and showed us how the pandemic affected students and parents differently depending on their socio-economic status.”

“Amid all of that, the shooting of George Floyd illuminated the disparities in policing as well as the inequities in our criminal justice system. Additionally, numerous stories and first-person accounts on social media laid bare the micro-aggressions and indignities people of color encounter daily,” she added.

Ugochukwu believes that as a social justice school, Cabrini should be participating in these conversations of racial justice and working to find solutions to some of these problems. She explained that the first step is to hold uncomfortable conversations, acknowledge that the problem exists and then to seek ways to be part of the solution.

Ugochukwu hopes that those who attend the event will be “exposed to American history” and leave with a deeper appreciation for some of the historical injustices and prejudices that have existed in education, healthcare, immigration, and criminal justice systems. She hopes that students will take time to reflect and examine their own privilege and be inspired to work toward “respecting difference.”

“Success will come when we all work toward eschewing structures that enable discrimination and insensitivity and do all we can to create a welcoming campus for all,” she added.

To RSVP to this event contact email kd7012@cabrini.edu.

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Megan Fee

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