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MEDIA ADVISORY: Conference to Explore Race, Segregation and Inequality

Feb. 27, 2018
CONTACT: Jill Rosen
Office: 443-997-9906 / Cell: 443-547-8805
jrosen@jhu.edu @JHUmediareps

WHAT: Race & Inequality in America: The Kerner Commission at 50. A conference featuring dozens of scholars and experts exploring race, segregation, and inequality 50 years after the release of the historic Kerner Commission Report.

The event is sponsored by University of California, Berkeley’s Haas Institute, Johns Hopkins University’s 21st Century Cities Initiative, and the Economic Policy Institute.

The event is free, but space is limited. Reserve a ticket here.

WHEN: Feb. 28 to March 1, 2018.

WHERE: Most events will be held in Berkeley, but livestreamed to Baltimore. Baltimore events will be at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, 2nd Floor Theater, 830 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202


Wednesday Feb. 28:

Noon: Welcome by Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels

12:15 p.m.: History, Origins, and Legacy of the Kerner Commission panel: Moderator: John Koskinen from Berkeley with Baltimore panelists: former Sen. Fred Harris of Oklahoma, the only surviving member of the nine-member Kerner Commission; Jay Kriegel, who previously served as assistant to the vice chairman of the Kerner Commission, John Lindsay; and Victor Palmieri, deputy executive director of the Kerner Commission staff from Berkeley.

Thursday March 1:

Noon – Health and Race panel: Moderator: Johns Hopkins social epidemiologist

Lisa Cooper; Panelists: Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner; and Robert Hahn, general health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; with epidemiologist Mahasin Mujahid from Berkeley.

Details on the Berkeley-based programs: http://21cc.jhu.edu/events/the-kerner-commission-at-50/

BACKGROUND: In the mid-1960s, a series of violent police encounters with Black Americans sparked uprisings in more than 100 American cities. Shaken by the civil unrest across the nation in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson established the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate the immediate causes of the rebellions, as well as the underlying conditions of racial segregation and discrimination that gave rise to them. Headed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, with Mayor John V. Lindsay of New York as vice chairman, the Commission issued its landmark report, which became commonly known as the “Kerner Report,” on February 29, 1968.

The Kerner Report, unanimously signed by the bipartisan and politically mainstream commission, was wide-ranging and dramatic, and concluded that white society had denied opportunity to Black Americans living in poor urban neighborhoods. The report offered both dire warnings along with a bold plan of federal action. Its most famous line, cited again by the US Supreme Court as recently as 2015, was: “Our Nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”

Members of the media who expect to attend must RSVP to Jill Rosen at 443-997-9906 or 443-547-8805 or jrosen@jhu.edu.


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