Event to examine connections among race, wealth, demographics of poverty

Thu, 01/30/2014

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KU News Service
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LAWRENCE — Race, Wealth and the New Demographics of Poverty, the third installment of an ongoing series at the University of Kansas, will examine connections among poverty, assets and the American dream.

The event will take place from noon to 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the Kansas Union Ballroom. It is open to the public.

Speakers include

  • Introduction: Michael Fletcher, The Washington Post
  • Keynote speech: Thomas Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy; director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Brandeis University
  • Panel discussion: Lewis Diuguid, editorial board member, columnist and letters editor, The Kansas City Star; Kilolo Kijakazi, program officer, The Ford Foundation, ChangHwan Kim, KU associate professor of sociology; Melinda Lewis, KU policy director, Assets and Education Initiative (moderator).

The United States cannot end poverty without confronting persistent racial gaps in wealth, chasms only partly explained by inequality of income. Today, the average white household has nearly 10 times the wealth of the average African-American household. This wealth divide, perhaps even more than income, has dramatic effects on intergenerational economic mobility, access to education and societal prosperity.

Keynote speaker Shapiro is a leading scholar on questions of race, poverty and inequality. Using data from a study spanning 25 years, including new evidence slated for future publication, he identifies the factors that make for long-term financial success, the role of race in perpetuating poverty and how to build a more economically and racially just America. Panelists will address policy changes that could improve the wealth standing of minorities, building a platform for economic security and mobility for the nation’s future.

The event, co-sponsored by the School of Social Welfare, the Assets and Education Initiative, the Office of the Provost and KU's Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice concentration, will include an introduction to the topic, keynote address, panel discussion and an audience question-and-answer session.

The School of Social Welfare is the oldest school of social work in Kansas. Current research centers within the School are building knowledge in many areas including child welfare, mental health, aging and income and asset poverty.

The Assets and Education Initiative is an office of the School of Social Welfare whose mission is to create and study innovations related to assets and economic well-being, with a focus on the relationship between children’s savings and the educational outcomes of low-income and minority children as a way to achieve the American dream.

The Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice concentration in the Master of Social Work program at prepares students for administrative and advocacy practice grounded in the knowledge and values of social work.



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Poet offers insights to Jayhawk experience through wordplay "Welcome to KU. Where questions rest, in stacks of answers from the past. …" Listen to Topher Enneking, a spoken word poet and former KU football player, as he weaves the experience of KU and its traditions through this storytelling and wordplay performance. Learn more about KU traditions at http://www.ku.edu/about/traditions/. Welcome to KU. Where questions rest in stacks of answers from the past. Where dreams crawl out of bed And learn to walk Uphill both ways. Where freshmen stand on stilts And hang from the rafters, While the wheat waves In a fieldhouse Where the Phog rolls in Helping us to see Through the past into the future. Haunting hosts giving handouts in a heritage Too heavy to grasp til you add to it. So it may be born anew, Allowing our boots to stand in the ash of oppression’s hate But shine bright as the sun While war cries of warriors past Ring in our ears long after their battles are won. Memorials telling time, “you don’t have to stand still.” Because the top of the world Is just up that Hill. Where our natural history is an awe-struck echo Of world’s fair and equal Past, present and future, prelude and sequel. Where our flags fly above planes. Where we build in chalks that can’t be erased. Stone edifices made to last So you would walk Past their doors, down their halls And let your voice fill their room. Because only in empty silence can destruction loom. So stand tall. Wrap your arms around this crowd Sing our alma mater and sing it out loud. Let your voice sing in chorus and reach other nations Beckoning new Jayhawks to spark new collaborations Because you are the mortar that will hold these walls upright. Your future Your dreams are why Jayhawks did fight For the tradition before you Was merely prelude For what will come next now that you’re at KU.


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