Professor to discuss race relations, social justice

Library plans variety of programming for 2021

By: Andy Kozlowski | Troy Times | Published January 13, 2021

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TROY — Last summer saw protests across the country that called attention to police brutality against minorities, highlighting the injustice that people of color have faced for generations.

An upcoming event arranged by the Troy Public Library looks to continue that conversation, with the perspective of an expert on the topic.

Chaunda Scott, a professor of human resource development at Oakland University, will be the speaker for a Zoom presentation  6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The event is titled, “Human Diversity, Social Justice, and You.” For more information on how to sign up and access the Zoom meeting, visit troypl.org.

Scott is Black. She is a workforce diversity educator and specialist, and a social justice activist. Her talk Jan. 21 will look at past and present trends in racial inequality and how they impact society, as well as social action strategies that people can use to counter racism and improve race relations.

“Racism continues to manifest itself in society today as it relates to African Americans and other minorities in gaining equal and fair access to educational, housing and employment opportunities,” Scott said in an email. “Racism is also present in the criminal justice system and community policing, as currently seen in the George Floyd and Brianna Taylor murder cases.

“The reason why specifically non-minorities cannot see racism in action is because it is an endorsed and accepted societal norm,” she said.

She said that not enough meaningful change has occurred since the protests.

“Racism is still a lingering hurtful social ill. Yes, people were protesting months ago widely, but not so much now. Protesting is good if it leads to social change, but if no change occurs, then it is just protesting. Non-minorities still need to learn that living and working in a diversity environment with people of color does not mean that racism has ended,” Scott said.

In addition to speaking up for change, people concerned about racism can make a sincere effort to understand the lived experiences of others by talking to them.

“I highly recommend getting to know people from different races and backgrounds, so that you can comfortably ask them the important racism and race-related questions,” Scott said. “To begin the process of eradicating societal racism, people must put into action what they learn from people of color and from what they read.”

 

Library plans
Connie Doherty, the head of adult information services at the Troy Public Library, said that the event’s online format will likely be the trend for the months ahead, as the coronavirus continues.

“I don’t foresee in-person programs happening again at (the library) for quite a while — probably autumn at the soonest,” Doherty said in an email. “Our librarians have done a phenomenal job pivoting to virtual programming, and I think that even when we are able to have in-person programs again, we will continue to offer a portion of our programs virtually. It allows more people to participate … and when our presenters agree to it, we can add their programs to the city’s YouTube channel for patrons to watch whenever it’s convenient for them.”

Doherty said that the programming lineup for 2021 will continue to reflect the diverse interests of the library’s patrons. She said that some presenters will return by popular demand, such as Rick and Ken Bloom, of Bloom Advisors, with their financial education programs; Troy resident and CPA Tom Hill, with his “Getting Ready for Tax Time” program; and veteran Steve Mrozek, with his detailed military history presentations.

The library also plans to bring back the “Bird Guys” for a spring birding program, and the library’s digital services staff will hold presentations on technology topics.

New programs are also planned, such as a presentation in February on the Mackinac Bridge, and a program in March titled “Women on Opposite Sides of the Law.” More live music programs are also planned via Zoom.

Doherty said she hopes Scott’s program will help people see the situation more clearly.

“We hope that providing a place for our patrons to learn about and discuss these issues will promote tolerance and understanding of their neighbors,” Doherty said, “and encourage them to think about things in a new way.”

To learn more about the Troy Public Library, visit troypl.org. For more information on the human diversity inclusion and social justice program at Oakland University, visit https://oakland.edu/orgleadership/human-resource-development-programs/diversity.

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