Bahá’í Chair keeps spotlight on sexual assault, racism

As programs on race continued with a fall symposium, a lecture co-hosted by the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland added to discussion of another barrier to peace: sexual assault.

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson was featured in an installment of the Bahá’í Chair’s Empowerment of Women and Peace series.

Addressing the topic “Journeys to Justice: From Victim to Survivor,” Jackson discussed her latest project, a film on the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

A wave of activism, she said, has spurred more and more survivors to hold schools accountable for failing to stem the tide of abuse.

The Chair began its focus on structural racism and the roots of prejudice with a spring symposium and the 2014 annual lecture.

The fall symposium, Oct. 29, brought Phillip J. Bowman of the University of Michigan and John L. Jackson Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania to campus.

Bowman spoke on “Contemporary Racism, Organizational Inequality and Sustainable Diversity: Challenges for the 21st Century.”

He told the standing-room-only crowd that social research on various conceptualizations of “contemporary racism” is increasingly pushing study of “traditional racism” to the background.

But while these new areas of focus are valuable, Bowman said, they don’t completely explain the racial inequalities that persist at all levels of society.

John Jackson’s topic was “What You CAN’T See Is What You Get: Color, Community and Citizenship in an Aspiringly ‘Post-Racial’ Democracy.”

The contemporary politico-racial landscape has rendered traditional understandings of race and racism in America inadequate, he said.

After explaining why, he enumerated strategies for developing a more vivid picture of current reality. 

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