A 2013 DIVERSITY INITIATIVE
The year 2013 is going to be a landmark year for diversity. Between January 19 and April 28 the Rochester Museum and Science Center will host a traveling exhibit entitled RACE: Are We So Different? The exhibit will explore the concept of race and its power in the lived experience of humans through three themes: the everyday experience of race, the contemporary science that is challenging common ideas about race, and the history of this idea in the United States.
Because the experience of race is profoundly personal yet has critical implications for discrimination and prejudice in our society it is a very difficult and complex topic to discuss. If science confirms that we are “not so different” how can we explain the racial and ethnic inequalities in our community. ACT Rochester has documented profound differences in poverty, infant mortality, student performance, educational attainment, housing, income and health.
Rochesterians have a unique opportunity to connect the exhibit with our community through the Rochester Racial Equity Initiative entitled Facing Race, Embracing Equity. This local effort is designed with the intention of promoting awareness about racial issues in Rochester and fostering meaningful conversations about ways in which we can substantially improve our understanding of race. These dialogues will hopefully identify ways to alleviate structural inequity and to reduce disparities that exist in our community. The Rochester Area Community Foundation has provided $200,000 to fund this initiative in a collaboration with a wide range of community partners. A complete calendar of events is available at faceraceroc.org. The initiative will include community forums, cultural celebrations, films, lectures and related events.
Members of AAUW have attended some of the initial events. The conversations have been well organized and effective in moving the dialogues beyond the usual platitudes about the topic by exploring personal experiences and understandings as they are related to cultural ideas and ideals. The Diversity Committee will endeavor to provide opportunities to discuss these issues.