The X Race, Ethnicity, and Place (REP) conference organizers express their outrage at the continued and unrepentant assault on people of color and underrepresented groups of all kinds across the United States. In this moment of resistance while under pandemic quarantine, we extend our strongest moral support for and solidarity with victims of systemic racism and police violence and to the millions of peaceful protestors who have taken to the streets to demand an end to the killings of black people and for the dismantling of policies and practices that have systematically devalued black lives.
But we have to do more. REP conferences have long been sites for interrogating forces sustaining racial and ethnic division and discrimination. That has meant learning from communities and neighborhoods impacted by economic inequality and by generations impacted by discrimination leading to low educational opportunities, under-employment, unresponsive public health systems, deficient housing, and over-policing and incarceration. Justice and the City in an Age of Social Division is the theme of the 2020 REP Conference in Baltimore (now extended to 2021 with a virtual component in 2020—see the conference update following). The conference location and theme were intended to celebrate the fortitude of Baltimore neighborhoods and learn from community members themselves how to employ an equity lens on policy, undertake social and economic investment in communities and neighborhoods, and understand how communities themselves are working to build neighborhoods and social and economic foundations needed to sustain healthy communities.
Please join us in using the REP Conference as a space to expand upon its theme to workshop progressive change that highlights issues raised by the anti-racist movement of the moment and that may lead to concrete action. We especially invite AAG Specialty Groups to work directly with conference organizers to develop sessions relevant to their constituent members.
Mural by Kwame Rose, West Baltimore.