On Oct. 15 from noon to 1 p.m. and on Nov. 2 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the Interprofessional Dialogues Committee held the second session of its Structural Racism series. This month’s session featured guest speaker Andrea Wilson from Brick House Realty, who gave a talk entitled “Why Closing the Wealth Gap Helps Restore Communities”.
The Interprofessional Dialogue Committee is a program hosted by the Health Education Campus which was announced in February of this year. According to The Huddle, it is “a recurring seminar series for the faculty, staff, and students engaged in interprofessional education, research and collaboration—as well as others who want to learn more about the topic.”
The Structural Racism series in particular began in September and was introduced with the aim of “creat[ing] ways to build a stronger community among faculty, staff, and students within the Health Education Campus, across CWRU and with the neighborhoods adjacent to campus” by discussing structural racism and the ways in which the community can work together to address it.
The sessions, held over Zoom, consist of a 15 to 20-minute long presentation within the theme of structural racism, followed by a 30-minute long discussion in breakout rooms, with everyone coming together at the end to talk about what they had discussed in their smaller groups and to go over the next steps need to be taken.
This seminar series comes at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has caused an increasing national awareness of racism in the wake of Minneapolis police officers slaying George Floyd. This also comes just months after Cuyahoga County joined several other Ohio counties in declaring racism a public health crisis on July 7, 2020. This announcement was intended to address the systemic racism which causes Black people to have lower life expectancies, worse health conditions and lower incomes––among other things––than white people. This is especially important to consider in the midst of the current pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted Black people and other people of color.
This series has also come after many stories of racism on CWRU’s campus have been brought to light, specifically through the Instagram account @black.at.cwru. At the time of writing, this account has over 2,900 followers and features 103 posts with stories of racism on campus, including racial profiling by campus police and and racism within the student body. While social media accounts were never stated to be a direct cause of the creation of this series, it’s worth noting that this formation comes in the aftermath of increased discussions of racism among the student body.
The first presentation in this series was given by Robert Solomon, vice president of CWRU’s Office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity, in September. He gave a speech entitled “Inclusive Excellence: A Cultural Shift.”
This month’s speaker was Andrea Wilson, a top real estate broker in Cleveland who trains realtors on growing their businesses, offers classes on pre-licensing for first-time home buyers, and hosts workshops on investing in real estate. She’s also the branch manager for NID Maple Heights, an organization approved by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which provides free services to the community, as well as the housing chair of NAACP Cleveland, and she runs a youth sports program with her husband.
Presentations for this program are offered twice a month, and recorded versions can be accessed on the Interprofessional Education, Research, and Collaborative Practice’s website. Students can register for the event through a link on The Daily or by contacting the office.