A Summary Report of the Black-Brown Dialogues Summit: Working toward Common Ground November 13, 2017
Hosted by The Julian Samora Research Institute and African American and African Studies, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Latinos and African Americans represent the two largest ethno-racial minority groups in the State of Michigan and in the nation. Working collaboratively, these two population segments could wield significantly more political power and influence in the state and the nation, but barriers exist that prevent that from occurring. Most importantly, Latinos and African Americans are often pitted against each other in competition for scarce resources, perpetuating needless divisions in order to maintain the existing power structure. The current political climate across the nation and in Michigan highlights the need for increased understanding and collaboration between these two groups, especially in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections. The Julian Samora Research Institute and the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University hosted the Black-Brown Dialogues Summit: Working toward Common Ground on November 13, 2017. The event brought together community leaders, non-profit leaders, scholars, and students to engage in a constructive dialogue on the unique histories and social contexts of African American and Latino communities and the barriers that prevent effective collaboration on common challenges facing these two communities. Participants identified common issues these communities can address, as well as the steps to take together in pursuit of a better Michigan for all. The ten key challenges for Black and Brown communities identified by attendees were: 1) Education; 2) Healthcare/Mental Health Care; 3) Cross-Cultural Communication/Collaboration; 4) Community Empowerment/Economic Development; 5) Civic Engagement/Political Clout; 6) Voter Suppression; 7) Criminal Justice Reform; 8) Anti-Blackness; 9) Trauma/Historical Crimes against Humanity; and 10) Immigration.