Although census data show Oregon’s population becoming more racially diverse, the perception persists that we are one of the whitest states in the nation. Many Oregonians value racial diversity and the dimension and depth it adds to our lives, yet we remain largely isolated from one another and have yet to fulfill the vision of a racially integrated society.

On Wednesday, January 18 at 5:30pm in the Library Meeting Room at Springfield City Hall, Willamette University professor Emily Drew will lead participants in a conversation on Power, Privilege, and Racial Diversity in Oregon. This free event offers a place to explore some of the causes of continued isolation and the differences of experience between Oregonians of different races—such as institutional racism, white privilege, and unconscious bias. What systems are in place to prevent the racial integration and equity many of us strive for? Knowing what we do, how do we act—as individuals and communities—to embrace the opportunity presented by a more diverse Oregon?

Drew is an associate professor of sociology at Willamette University, where she teaches courses on racism, race and ethnicity, urban sociology, mass media, and social change. She earned her doctorate from Loyola University Chicago and has published articles in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Television & New Media, and Tourism & Cultural Change.

Through the Conversation Project, Oregon Humanities offers free programs that engage community members in thoughtful, challenging conversations about ideas critical to our daily lives and our state’s future. A series of Conversation Project events will be hosted by the City of Springfield’s Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and Springfield Library the third Wednesday of the month January through April 2017 in the Library Meeting Room. Free and open to the public.

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