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February 27, 2018

Healing our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report

Cosponsored by the Learning Policy Institute, the Eisenhower Foundation, and the Economic Policy Institute

One Nation Indivisible 920

  The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this video belong solely to the speakers, and do not necessarily reflect the perspective of the Learning Policy Institute.  

Jump to: Welcome & Framing the Day | Keynote: Catherine Lhamon | Panel 1: Economic, Health and Education Policy | Panel 2: Police, Mass Incarceration and Housing Policy | Panel 3: New Will and the Media | Keynote: Rev. Dr. William Barber, II | Keynote: Joseph Stiglitz

Fifty years ago this March, the Kerner Commission, appointed by President Lyndon Johnson, issued a seminal report on racial division and disparities in the United States. The report was produced in response to civil unrest that raged across the country. In it, the commission concluded that, “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Today, many of the same issues plague the country, and concerns over civil rights, racial division, and racial disparities are, in many ways, more pressing than ever.

On February 27, the findings from the 50-year update to the commission report were released at a day-long forum in Washington, D.C. That report, Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report, examines what has happened over the last half-century in our schools, our neighborhoods, our prisons, and our nation, and what work remains to be done to heal our divided society.

This special event examined social justice and equality with some of our nation’s leading policymakers, journalists, researchers, civil rights activists, and educators.


Welcome & Framing the Day (video)

  • Michael Feuer, Dean, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University
  • Congressman Robert “Bobby” C. Scott
  • Fred Harris, Member, 1968 Kerner Commission; former United States Senator
  • Alan Curtis, President, Eisenhower Foundation
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, President, Learning Policy Institute
  • Tchanori Kone, Student, Houston Independent School District; Winner, 2018 Annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition

Keynote Address: Catherine Lhamon, Chair, United States Commission on Civil Rights (video)

Panel: Economic, Health and Education Policy (video)

  • Linda Darling-Hammond, President, Learning Policy Institute
  • Jeff Faux, Founding President, Economic Policy Institute
  • Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Herbert Smitherman, Dean for Diversity and Community Affairs, Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Diane Ravitch, Research Professor, New York University
  • John Jackson, President, Schott Foundation for Public Education

Panel: Police, Mass Incarceration and Housing Policy (video)

  • Michael Jeffries, Associate Professor of American Studies, Wellesley College
  • Laurie Robinson, Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, George Mason University
  • Marc Mauer, Executive Director, Sentencing Project

Panel: New Will and the Media (video)

  • Dorothy Stoneman, Founder, YouthBuild USA
  • Julian Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University
  • E.J. Dionne, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • Celinda Lake, President, Lake Research Partners
  • Aimee Allison, President, Democracy in Color
  • James Mackey, Founder and Organizer, #StuckOnReplay; Community Organizer, I Have a Future

Keynote Address: Rev. Dr. William Barber, II: President, Repairers of the Breach (video)

Keynote Address: Joseph Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University (video)