King workshop participants say race remains difficult subject for many to discuss


Many people know that institutionalized racism embodies a slew of discriminatory practices, procedures and policies, but conversations about the problem would be incomplete if they failed to address the economic aspects, a longtime minister contends.

“Racism will never end as long as someone makes money off those who are less fortunate,” said the Rev. Michael Harrison, pastor of Union Baptist Church on the North Side.

An historical examination of institutionalized racism reveals that slavery, today’s largely inadequate educational system and high rates of incarceration that disproportionately affect people of color – and even much labor that went into building many of the nation’s cities – were driven by economic incentives, the Rev. Mr. Harrison explained.

The minister was among those who attended Monday morning’s Community Workshop Celebrating the Life & Legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at First Presbyterian Church, 201 Wick Ave., near downtown.

Sponsoring the three-hour gathering was the Martin Luther King Planning Committee of Mahoning County. Its theme was “Remembering What is Civil and Doing What is Right: An Examination of Institutionalized Racism.”

The keynote speaker was the Rev. DeVante Hudson of Lilburn, Ga., a 2011 Liberty High School graduate who grew up in Youngstown.

Despite racial progress that’s been made since King’s day, race remains an exceptionally difficult subject for many to discuss openly and honestly. Nevertheless, true justice is “love in action,” and any gathering that fails to produce constructive means to tackle institutionalized racism “just becomes another pep rally,” the Rev. Mr. Hudson explained.

Read MORE in Tuesday's VINDICATOR.

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