Friday, December 6, 2013

Martin-Zimmerman Dialogues address tough social issues

In an effort to drive further discussion about race relations in our schools and in the community, San Diego Unified recently hosted the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Dialogues at the Ed Center.

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Although the famous court case may have been the impetus for holding the dialogues, the conversation focused less on the case itself and more on the issue of racism and how changing attitudes and creating a more tolerant society starts with education.

“This is not so much about George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin as it is about giving students the tools they need to address the issues we face right here in our own community,” Agin Shaheed, chief of the district’s race, human relations and advocacy office told UT San Diego.

The district hopes this event will serve as the launching point for middle and high school students to engage in similar conversations and learn how to address these types of issues in a productive manner at school and in the community.
Organized by the Office of Race Human Relations and Advocacy, the event featured a panel of local experts offering a variety of perspectives. Most all agreed that racial and ethnic bias continues to divide our schools, our communities and our nation.

Panelists at the Martin-Zimmerman Dialogues
 Panelists Dr. Alberto Ochoa and Dr. John Robert Brown
The event’s distinguished panelists included: Dr. Alberto Ochoa, San Diego State University; Chief Rueben Littlejohn, San Diego Unified School Police Department; Danell Scarborough, City of San Diego Human Relations Commission; Dr. Joe Fulcher, San Diego Unified School District Chief of Student Services; Dr. John Robert Brown, retired district administrator, author, and education consultant; Lynn Sharpe-Underwood, City of San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention; Prof. Jesse Mills, University of San Diego; Tina Malka, Anti-Defamation League; Salimisha Logan, NAACP; LaShae Collins from Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s office; Lee Muhammad, parent representative and Program Coordinator at the Multicultural Counseling and Consulting Center; Al Abdallah, Chairperson of the San Diego Urban League Board; and student representative Michaela Valk, SCPA ASB president.

For more information about the dialogues, contact the district’s Office of Race Human Relations and Advocacy at 858-490-8678.