Community discussion leads conversation on race: Rethinking Racism captures open dialogue on struggles in diversity

By: James Neyer ~Staff Writer~

Photo courtesy of | The IPJC hosted several discussion on racism on Jan. 14. Volunteers led conversations on topics such as institutionalized racism and interpersonal racist encounters.

Approximately 100 people gathered in the basement of a church last week to discuss racism. They did not just discuss feeling the sting of racism from any particular individual, but also what they have experienced due to institutional racism. Various volunteers led discussions, including conversations about institutional racism in the economic and criminal justice systems. The volunteers lead conversations in mixed groups, composed of people of all ages and races. The event was held for the first time ever by the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) and the Cincinnati Humans Relation Committee (CHRC).

“I think the event went really well,” Christina Brown, Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for CHCR said. “We were able to bring about a discussion of racism in areas which people traditionally may not have realized.” “Rethinking Racism” took place on Jan. 14 in Father Rivers Hall at St. Joseph Parish. The event began with a large group engagement, where instances of racism were brought up by individual members one at a time. Smaller groups emerged following the conversations, led by the volunteers who brought up the original issues discussed.

“I thought it was an interesting opportunity to bring a diverse audience from around Cincinnati to have an open discussion about whatever anyone wanted to talk about concerning race and racism within the city of Cincinnati.” Brian Igel, a senior theology and philosophy major, said.

The group reconvened after the first separation to discuss what they had all learned. They then broke off once more to engage in discussion with another group about a new topic brought up in the large group. This was repeated once more, allowing for people to engage in discussion about many different issues. There will be another event from 5-6 p.m. on Wednesday at IJPC. At this meeting, another dialogue will occur so that attendees can recap what was discussed in the previous meeting and what can be done moving forward.