A regionwide discussion starts this week as ERASE Racism asks “How Do We Build a Just Long Island?”
Five public forums will be held in 12 days starting Thursday across Nassau and Suffolk counties, including one in Melville on Dec. 6.
The initial public forum will take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Stony Brook, co-hosted by the Center for the Study of Inequalities, Social Justice, and Policy at Stony Brook University.
The discussion is generated by the fact that Long Island is one of the most racially segregated regions in the country, and that a more inclusive society is needed for Long Island to be just and economically competitive in the 21st century, according to event organizers.
The initial five public forums will focus on increasing Long Islanders’ shared understanding of structural racism, its history on Long Island, and its implications. Through interactive exercises and conversations, participants will explore what can be done to achieve the benefits of more inclusive communities. The other four of the initial five public forums will take place as follows:
- Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Riverhead Senior Center, Riverhead – co-hosted by the Town of Riverhead’s Anti-Bias Task Force;
- Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hofstra University Club, Hempstead – co-hosted by The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University;
- Thursday, Dec. 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Bank of America Building, Melville – co-hosted by the Long Island Association; and
- Monday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, Hauppauge – co-hosted by the State of Black Long Island Equity Council, convened by the Urban League of Long Island.
The regionwide discussion that will begin with these five forums is designed to spark a public conversation about moving forward from segregation to inclusion and equity. The initiative is made possible by a generous grant from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock – with additional support for communications from the Rauch Foundation.
“Segregation is not only wrong,” said Elaine Gross, president of ERASE Racism, “it’s causing Long Islanders to miss out on the benefits of inclusiveness and justice. Those benefits are proving vital to a competitive economy, so they are needed if the region is to achieve its potential in the 21st century. The much-needed, upcoming, public discussion will illuminate and explore the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
ERASE Racism is a regional organization that leads public policy advocacy campaigns and related initiatives to promote racial equity in areas such as housing, public school education and community development.