Building alliances between black, Latino communities in Ariz.


Maureen Roen

The Black and Latino Coalition Project, a dynamic community summit coordinated by ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, School of Letters and Sciences, was the subject of an April 10 interview on the Eight, Arizona PBS show "Horizonte."

“Horizonte” host Jose Cardenas and Matthew Whitaker, founding director of the center and ASU Foundation Professor of History, talked about some of the key issues discussed during the summit; namely issues related to identity that may have kept blacks and Latinos from collaborating historically, as well as some of the points of connection and cooperation for blacks and Latinos today.

“By about 2050, blacks and Latinos will make up half of the U.S. population,” noted Whitaker. “Leadership is not about wielding numbers, however. We need to prepare for leadership in the coming decades by pooling social, political and cultural resources to address issues like de facto segregation and shared inequities related to health and disease, education and our nation’s growing prison population – 66 percent of whom are black or Latino.”

The 2014 community summit comprised three initiatives on March 27-28: a pan-ASU screening and discussion of the documentary film "Trending Race: Shaping and Embracing Black and Latino Identity,” produced by the center and ASU’s Committee for Campus Inclusion; a community-building workshop and strategy session that included Luke Black of the Arizona Community Action Association and Hortencia Gutierrez, senior career specialist at ASU; and a sold-out community conversation with award-winning actor, director and social activist Edward James Olmos and educator, entrepreneur and filmmaker Lasana O. Hotep.

On April 22, ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy will host its inaugural Delivering Democracy public lecture, featuring Academy Award-winning actor and decorated humanitarian Forest Whitaker, at 6:30 p.m., at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Downtown Phoenix (1401 E. Jefferson St.). Whitaker will talk about the importance of participatory democracy and challenge youth to engage civically. Tickets for the event, which is free and open to all, are still available.