Award-winning mystery novelist and social commentator, Walter Mosley challenged party politics on Capitol Hill last night and urged hundreds advocates to open themselves to new strategies for addressing racial and economic inequality. Mosley read from his monograph “Life Out of Context” to kick-off the inaugural FACING RACE conference on racial justice. Political leaders responded to Mosley’s provocative speech today in debates on “The Future of Racial Justice” and “Facing Race on Capitol Hill”.
“We need to come alive in this nation. We need to see ourselves for who we are and who we are in others’ eyes,” Mosley offered to a packed crowd at the CUNY Graduate Center. “Only when we open our culture and our cultural predilections to change can we end the tyranny that we create.”
The Applied Research Center, COLORLINES magazine and the Center for Humanities at CUNY Grad Center are sponsoring FACING RACE 2007, a national conference on racial justice this week in New York City. The conference brings together more than 600 policymakers, community leaders, advocates and media-makers who share a commitment to confront racial inequity in public policy and media.
“In this huge and diverse country, the meaning of justice is far from absolute,” said Rinku Sen, executive director of the Applied Research Center in her introduction of Mosley. “The theme of this conference is ‘define justice, make change’. We think that’s what we it will take to confront the truth of racial inequity today. Years from now we’ll be able to trace wonderful relationships, solid strategies and brilliant ideas for achieving racial justice back to the FACING RACE gathering.”
FACING RACE continues throughout the weekend with more than 50 workshops and panels on the racial wealth divide, transforming public schools and creating state policy that addresses racial disparities. This morning Juan Gonzalez, Winona LaDuke, Deepak Bhargava, Bertha Lewis and Sen debated the “Future of Racial Justice” and policymakers assessed the “First 100 Days of the New Congress”.
Nine-time Grammy Award winner Eddie Palmieri will also headline “Kaleidescope”, an evening of music, poetry and film, capping the first full day of the conference which expanded registrations to accommodate a rising tide of interest.
“The overwhelming response to FACING RACE shows that racial justice is more than idea,” Sen added from the conference. “It is a commitment to change the rules so that privileges and punishments are not determined by the color of our skin.”
Find summaries, photos and video of the event at the FACING RACE online conference: http://www.racewire.org