The Honors Carolina program and Phi Beta Kappa Society kicked off their second discussion series focused on structural inequality Thursday.
"Moving Forward On...'' is the continuation of the series from the fall semester, "Structures of Inequality: A Focused Look at Systemic Racism," which was designed to bring awareness to aspects of the University community that have been deeply hurt by racism.
Over 1,500 people participated in the six discussions in the fall, Mitch Prinstein, assistant dean for Honors Carolina, said. The events centered around systematic racism in the education, health and criminal justice systems — and how it can influence the way a person thinks and behaves.
"It's really important that people, regardless of what major or department they're in, can understand the broad effects of structural inequalities and how they're interrelated," Prinstein said.
The main focus this spring will be on bias and discrimination. The topics will range from equity in the media to the rural-urban divide, including the hardships of some communities to access health care and mental health resources.
"We are living in an extraordinary time of crisis, dealing simultaneously with the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing police violence against people of color," Shandol Hoover, director of student development and special projects at Honors Carolina, said. "These crises have laid bare inequalities that, we've known them long to exist, but are often ignored."
All of the lectures will be accompanied by a subsequent hour of action the following week, in which students and faculty members will discuss what they learned.
The series, which is open to the public, began Thursday with a lecture about media equity by award-winning investigative reporter and journalism professor Paul Cuadros.
"While Latinos are disproportionately testing positive for the virus, the data on deaths is showing they are not dying from equally disproportionate numbers," Cuadros said in one of his slides during the lecture, referring to the frequent lack of coverage of minority communities. "There needs to be more focus from health officials on the Latinx in N.C."
The series will continue until April 16, with two more guest speakers yet to be announced. People interested in participating can register on the Honors Carolina website.
"People have good intentions, but sometimes, it's tough to find a safe space to participate," Hoover said. "It's been neat to work with faculty and professionals all across the University. It is great to see all of this interconnection and see this grow and become an ongoing resource for everyone."
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