| Program: || Conference on Racism: Yours, Mine, and Ours, Pennsauken, NJ |
| Contact(s): || Keara R. Giannotti, Human Services Planner: (609) 663-3998 |
| Purpose: || To educate participants about different cultures, begin a dialogue on racism, and develop the "12 Steps Toward Undoing Racism" |
Begun in October 1996, the Conference on Racism: Yours, Mine, and Ours (Conference on Racism) is a project of the Community Planning and Advocacy Council (CPAC), a human services planning agency in Camden County, New Jersey. CPAC is a nonprofit organization that plans, advocates, and coordinates human service programs. Its mission is to serve as a catalyst for community efforts to strengthen and enhance the dignity and well-being of community members. CPAC has long recognized the importance of issues of race to its community, and Conference on Racism is the first step in its effort to launch a campaign to end discrimination.
The Conference on Racism is fosters dialogue on racism. Its "12 Steps Toward Undoing Racism" is used by individual participants in their daily lives and as a tool for future subcommittees to further CPAC's work towards undoing racism. The core trainer for the conference was Ronald Chisolm, co-founder and executive director of The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond. During the course of the Conference on Racism, participants attended workshops regarding cultural sensitivity, diversity, racism and other prejudice, action planning, community building, and policy development. The workshops facilitate the exchange of ideas and feelings about race and issues related to improving race relations among different groups. The formation of "12 Steps Toward Undoing Racism" was accomplished during the Conference on Racism by the various groups and individuals who were in attendance. The action steps include the following: 1) Analyzing what schools are doing to educate their staff regarding multiculturalism, racism and other prejudice; 2) Promoting better understanding through research and analysis of poverty, and its causes; 3) Building coalitions to influence policy makers at all levels of government; 4) Increasing political awareness and voter turnout through voter education; and 5) Confronting the written and electronic media regarding articles, opinions and statements which perpetuate stereotypes, divisions and prejudices. The Conference on Racism was attended by over 500 participants including school-aged youth, teachers, members of the general community, government employees, and community-based organization employees such as social workers, therapists, ministers, and administrators. The William Penn Foundation and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission-funded scholarships so that local students could attend the event.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Based on the recommendations of conference participants, two working subcommittees have been formed: The Youth Conference on Racism Subcommittee, which is organizing a Youth Conference on Racism planned both by and for youth, and the Institute on Racism Subcommittee, which is presently developing a statewide institute on racism to serve as a clearinghouse for information, an initiator of dialogues on race, and a coordinator of future events related to undoing racism in the state.