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A Path to Righting Racial Inequities in College, Workplace

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Prairie View A&M University, one of nine historically black colleges and universities in the U.S., will open its Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice next week. (pvamu.edu)
Prairie View A&M University, one of nine historically black colleges and universities in the U.S., will open its Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice next week. (pvamu.edu)
 By Roz Brown - Producer, Contact
February 5, 2021

HOUSTON - College students entering the workforce can face discrimination because of implicit bias, and a Texas university wants to prepare them and also influence the culture to encourage a civil society.

Prairie View A&M opens the Ruth J. Simmons Center for Race and Justice next week, with Professor of Political Science Melanye Price as its inaugural director.

Price said the Center's goal is to educate students about how racial and other biases can impact their beliefs, affect their choices and shape their opportunities in life. At the same time, she said the workplace also must respond by deciding racism is unacceptable.

"So that when they go out to get jobs, when they go out to make careers, that they are not dogged by these same racial prejudices that have existed in our world for so long," said Price.

According to Price, the Center for Race and Justice at Prairie View will illuminate how practices and policies separate people based on race, and how these disadvantages can be repaired to create more and better interactions across different parts of society.

The Center opens officially on February 10.

Sixty-percent of people who enroll at Prairie View are first-generation college students, and Price said when they graduate, they need to be clear on their value to the workplace. Whether they become nurses, engineers, or teachers, she said higher education can change the trajectory of entire families, the region and nation.

"We go through these cycles in American history where there are these racial awakenings, where we come to understand that the way that we do business as a nation is not equal, is not acceptable," said Price. "And we're in one of those moments right now."

Prairie View's Race and Justice Center was one of 11 organizations to receive a Lumina Foundation grant, to help educate the campus community and the public on how to combat racism and bias, and to support governments and other organizations training leaders to lead inclusively.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

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