2nd Annual Race and Social Justice Institute begins virtually in New Hanover Co.

The second annual Race and Social Justice Institute hosted by New Hanover County and the Cape Fear Museum started on Thursday.
Second Annual Race and Social Justice Institute

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The second annual Race and Social Justice Institute hosted by New Hanover County and the Cape Fear Museum started on Thursday.

This year’s webinar series is called Healing the Racial Divide in Education. The first session was on Thursday night and was led by Dr. Jan Davidson, who serves as the historian at the Cape Fear Museum, and Adrian Gaines, a student facilitator from within New Hanover County Schools. The focus of this discussion was establishing the context and history of education in the Cape Fear Region and nationwide.

New Hanover County’s Chief Diversity and Equity Officer Linda Thompson says it’s important to hear from historians when learning from and about our past.

“People who have done the study, who know the background, who can kind of tell us what was happening. Who can inform us and instruct us on what was going on and what created the environment we’re seeing today. What was the foundation behind it?” Thomson said. “While we certainly have come a long way, we certainly have a long way to go and I believe if we learn where we came from, what happened. We can certainly learn from our past and try and improve our future.”

Thompson says the first year of the institute was successful, but they received feedback that the discussions were a little broad. This is what led to the decision of zeroing in on education for the second year of the institute. The discussions this year will include how to form partnerships between the community and schools and how to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.

While conversations about race may be uncomfortable, Thompson says they are critical to understanding one another. She hopes people are able to gain that understanding through these sessions.

“I certainly hope they will gain a better understanding of why certain groups of people struggle and what their challenges have been,” Thompson said. “Not only just recently, but what does history say about those changes and challenges? And have we tried to do what we could to meet those challenges?”

The next session will be held virtually on Tuesday from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. To register for future sessions and watch recordings of past sessions, visit here.

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