Wednesday, January 20, 2010

National Center for Race Amity

I wanted to give a shout out on behalf of a friend of mine, Dr. William "Smitty" Smith who has founded a National Center for Race Amity in the great city of Boston. The Associated Press has the 411 on this new initiative:

A new National Center for Race Amity opens this month in Boston to foster learning and discussion at the community level about race.

Wheelock College received a $400,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for the center. William Smith, who most recently was executive director of the Center for Diversity in the Communication Industries at Emerson College, will head the new center.

Part of the center's work will involve a national expansion of a program Smith developed that trains college students to moderate discussions on race.

Organizations including Harvard University and the United Church of Christ have participated in Smith's "Campus Conversations on Race" program so far. And Smith hopes to develop a network of 250 colleges using the program over the next three years.

"This does not require them to be an expert on race," Smith said. "The whole idea is, this is not the work of experts, because there are no experts. It's every person trying to make things better ... the everyday person living the experience bringing the expertise of their own lives to the conversation." (Read the whole article here)

You can also get a little historical context on the "race amity" concept here.