Friday, September 22, 2000

Race relations panel part of town hall series

Questions will be asked of participants

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Organizers say next week's fourth town hall meeting about race might be the biggest and best to date.

        “We're definitely anticipating that,” said Vaughn Lewis, director of Hamilton's Human Relations Department. “In the past, we would ask the panelists to share what their efforts have been on issues of race and diversity. This time, we actually are asking them the program topic questions. I think we'll hit more of the root issues of the problems of race and diversity by guiding the panelist more.”

        Participants met this week to discuss details of the free program, which will begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center at Miami University- Hamilton.

        Melanie Mitchell, executive director of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, will be lead speaker in the program in the “Racial Legacies & Learning: How to Talk About Race” series. Following Ms. Mitchell's speech, panelists will discuss ways of:

        • Engaging in meaningful conversations about race.

        • Better educating students about race relations and diversity within the classroom and community.

        • Ensuring the provision of fair and equitable lending and housing opportunities.

        • Implementing fair and equitable hiring practices within organizations.

        The number of supporting sponsors for this year's program has doubled to 60. Supporting sponsors are expected to bring at least two people with them to the program, as well as support its mission.

        “We're overwhelmed with the number of indi viduals and organizations in the community that are supporting this program,” said Bob Rusbosin, director of student services at Miami University-Hamilton. “I think we have a very diverse panel ... who will really enhance the discussions.”

        Panelists include: L.M. Tony Blaine, executive director of the Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority; Mary Jacobs, principal of Jefferson Elementary School; Ivy Price, president of the Minority Ac tion Committee at Miami University-Hamilton; Ron Woolwine, executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Hamilton; and Dianne Sparks, owner of Front and Pershing convenience store.

        Primary sponsors are Miami University Hamilton's office of the executive director, Multicultural Services, Student Services and the Business Technology Department, as well the Hamilton Department of Human Relations.


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