It’s time to talk.
About the underlying roots of civil unrest that have led to present day.
About the conversations we’re having with ourselves and within personal networks and why talking about race makes us uncomfortable.
It’s time to understand concepts discussed in the news, in the current political climate and in social networks. More importantly, it’s time to find common ground and listen to each other, according to the organizers behind a new UNLV discussion series.
The series "We Need to Talk: Conversations on Racism for a More Resilient Las Vegas” brings context to the demonstrations that unfolded after the death of George Floyd.
“In the wake of these protests, we were hearing stories and learning more about how systemic racism impacts the daily lives of people from every walk of life,” said Su Kim Chung, head of public services in UNLV’s Special Collections & Archives. “The mission of a library and a university is to educate, so we thought a discussion series would be a good opportunity to explore these concepts and learn from each other. Plus, we are fortunate to be surrounded by research experts and community members who are willing to share their knowledge and lived experiences to benefit our community.”
Guiding the conversations will be Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV Libraries. Co-sponsored by University Libraries and the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, the educational series aims to develop solutions to overcoming racism and differences that impact our community and propose steps for individuals and communities to affect positive change.
“We will formulate solutions for the long-term work we must do to heal our country and move us forward,” White said. “This will take a commitment from all of us. These conversations will be difficult, but we must do this work.”
The series is split up into seven discussions and will feature Southern Nevada community members, UNLV alumni, and researchers surrounding issues of race and systemic racism.
Each panel discussion will be livestreamed by UNLV-TV. Links to the live stream episodes can be found on the Libraries website. The episodes will be available for later viewing and will be archived on the UNLV Libraries website.
The first panel Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m. will define concepts of institutional racism and white supremacy within a historical context with A.B. Wilkinson, associate professor of history, Brenda Williams, President & Founder of the Westside School Alumni Foundation, and Kevin Wright, assistant director of student diversity at UNLV.
A panel on Oct. 1 will examine issues related to criminal justice reform, and the panel on Oct. 14 will address how communities of color are represented by news organizations and in digital media. Additional conversations will focus on issues related to inequality in education, economic challenges, and health disparities among communities of color.
Additional funding for the series is being provided by UNLV Libraries Advisory Board Members Sara Mason and Geri Tomich.
Chung, White, and UNLV Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies Librarian Brittani Sterling have created a catalog of educational tools to complement each conversation, with research articles, books, videos, and more.
We Need to Talk: Conversations on Racism for a More Resilient Las Vegas
All episodes will be livestreamed at 5:30 p.m.