May 21, 2012

Antioch University Los Angeles Presents Panel and Discussion on Racial Profiling and Race Relations in Los Angeles

Culver City, CA – May 21, 2012 – Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) will present a panel presentation and discussion with community leaders and scholars entitled “From Rodney King to Trayvon Martin: Racial Profiling and Race Relations in Los Angeles.” The event will take place on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 from 6pm to 9pm. AULA staff, faculty, students, and community members will be invited to discuss issues of race relations and racial profiling with the guest speakers.

“Bias, prejudice, and racism often are the products of fear, ignorance, and hate,” notes AULA’s provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, Luis Pedraja. “Education, understanding, and dialogue are the antidote. As an institution of higher education, it is our responsibility to offer opportunities that educate the public and foster dialogue on these difficult and timely issues.”

The event follows AULA’s Wear Your Hoodie to Work Day held in March, during which the AULA community came together to express concern over the shooting death of unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. About 60 people – many wearing hooded sweatshirts in Martin’s memory – packed into a community meeting to discuss the school’s response to the shooting, and engaged in a candid and emotional dialogue about racism in our society. AULA community members movingly shared their personal battles with prejudice, both as victims and as perpetrators. Speakers praised the University’s social justice roots, but also challenged the school to do more to live up to its values, articulated in the school’s Inclusion & Diversity Statement of Commitment.

The panelists for “From Rodney King to Trayvon Martin: Racial Profiling and Race Relations in Los Angeles” are as follows:

Vincent Jones
is deputy director of Common Agenda and senior program officer at the Liberty Hill Foundation. He has staffed several political campaigns and elected officials including President Barack Obama, Senator Barbara Boxer, L.A. Councilmember Bernard Parks, and NYC Councilmember David Yassky, among others. He currently serves on the boards of the National Teen Leadership Program, Lambda Legal, African-American Board Leadership Institute, and the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.  Vincent is co-chair of Southern California Blacks in Philanthropy and actively engaged with Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Grantmakers for Children Youth & Families.

Victor Riosis an associate professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His research interests include urban ethnography, policing, criminal justice, and youth culture. Professor Rios’ recent book, “Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys,” analyzes how punitive juvenile crime policies and criminalization affect the everyday lives of urban youth. In 2010, Professor Rios received the Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Criminology Division on People of Color.

Ky-Phong Tranis a writer and teacher from Long Beach, California. A graduate of UCLA, he holds an MA in Asian American Studies and an MFA in Creative Writing.  He has been awarded a New America Media Award and scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont.  His work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Orange County Register, and Hyphen Magazine.

The panel will also include a representative of the Youth Justice Coalition, which works to build a youth-led movement to challenge race, gender, and class inequality in the Los Angeles County juvenile injustice system. Their mission reads: “We work to transform a system that has ensured the massive lock-up of people of color, widespread police violence, corruption and distrust between police and communities, violation of youth and communities’ constitutional rights, and the build-up of the world’s largest prison system. We use direct action organizing, advocacy, political education and activist arts to mobilize youth, and their allies – both in the community and within government – to bring about change.”

About Antioch University Los Angeles

Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) provides a rigorous progressive education to prepare students for the complexities of today’s diverse societies. AULA, a not-for-profit institution and part of the Antioch University system, has served the greater Los Angeles area for 40 years. The core values of social justice, service to the community and lifelong learning lie at the heart of the BA degree completion program and master’s degree programs in Organizational Management, Education and Teacher Credentialing, Psychology, Creative Writing, and Urban Sustainability.

Inspired by the work of pioneering educator Horace Mann, Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. With campuses in Keene, New Hampshire, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Seattle, and Yellow Springs, Ohio, Antioch University is a bold and enduring source of innovation in higher education. The University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.