On Tuesday, Dr. Dillon Carr, Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Social Sciences Department, delivered a lecture titled, Race, Class and the Legitimacy of Power: An Anthropological Perspective on Ferguson, MO, which captivated an audience of more than 140 people attending the annual symposium on Race, Ethnicity, and Identity. Dr. Carr discussed the importance of community policing in fostering the stability of local communities characterized by socioeconomic and racial disparities. He also showed that in some cases a seemingly arbitrary imposition of citations and fines is encouraged by municipalities seeking to generate revenue to support local governments, and this can fuel unrest.
Also on Tuesday, Dr. Courtney Gallaher, Assistant Professor of Geography at Northern Illinois University, delivered a keynote lecture on environmental justice, and on Monday, Dr. Marie Price, Professor of Geography at George Washington University, delivered a keynote lecture on immigration. GRCC Sociology Professor Cedric Williams gave a talk on income inequality on Monday as well. All lectures drew in large numbers of students, as well as faculty and members of the local community. The conference continues today with a Diversity Lecture Series presentation by Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi at Fountain Street Church at 7:00 pm this evening. Events are also scheduled to take place on Thursday. Professors Carr and Abid will discuss the role GRCC has played in the local community throughout the last hundred years, and Dr. Anne Bonds, Assistant Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will give a talk on the geographies of racial violence.
This year’s Race, Ethnicity, and Identity Conference is sponsored by the GRCC Social Sciences Department and Grand Rapids Community College, as well as Pearson Education, the International Geographical Honor Society, and the Association of American Geographers. All lectures are free and open to the public.