Conversations to educate, engage and inspire change.
Toward Racial Justice is a conversation series addressing systemic racism and injustice in Central Pennsylvania and beyond. Moderator is Charles Ellison, executive producer & host of “Reality Check” on WURD in Philadelphia — the only Black-owned talk radio station in Pennsylvania.
New programs are on pause this summer while staff and co-organizers gather community feedback to strengthen the series and re-envision how WITF presents these conversations.
You are encouraged to share your opinions, personal experiences and discussion topics at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using #RacialJusticePA on your preferred social media platform.
Toward Racial Justice: Medical Racism explores inequities within our healthcare system, the disparities communities of color are facing with access and hesitancy to COVID-19 vaccines, and the lack of Black representation in the medical field. (Broadcast live on July 6)
Panelists: George Fernandez Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins Dr. Cherise Hamblin Nicolette A. Louissaint, PhD
Toward Racial Justice: Intersection of Race & Religion looks at the role Black and Latino churches play in our community, what makes them unique and what they bring today to the racial and social justice movement. (Broadcast live on June 24)
Panelists: Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer Dr. Obery M. Hendricks Rev. Lydia E. Muñoz Bishop Dwayne D. Royster
For people of color, the process of tracing genetic and ancestral roots can be difficult, painful and often filled with false leads and dead ends. Toward Racial Justice: Tracing Family History features genealogists and other experts as they offer solutions and resources to trace BIPOC family histories. (Broadcast live on June 10)
Panelists: Dean A. Henry Ric Murphy Debbie-Ann Paige Dr. Gina Paige
Toward Racial Justice explores the impact of George Floyd’s death and how it has shaped the past year. During this discussion, hear from individuals who are working to establish criminal justice reform and where we go from here. (Broadcast live on May 27)
Panelists: Jamiel Alexander Detective Sergeant Ramon Caraballo Lieutenant Byron Lewis State Representative Chris Rabb
Toward Racial Justice: Intsersection of Race and the LGBTQ Community examines some of the needs and challenges faced by LGBTQ people of color, such as experiences with religion and discrimination. (Broadcast live on May 13)
Panelists: Amanda Carter Stephen Jiwanmall Ana Machado Kenneth J. Sutton Brice Williams
WITF’s Toward Racial Justice explores current events affecting today’s youth. We discuss timely issues that are top-of-mind to young people today, ranging from police brutality to climate change. (Broadcast live on April 29)
Explore the importance of supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color)-owned businesses, and their economic impact and development in Toward Racial Justice: Supporting BIPOC Owned Businesses. (Broadcast live on April 15)
Panelists: David Dix Josephina Encarnacion Stefan Hawkins Blane Fitzgerald Stoddart
One of our most engaging conversation topics of 2020 returns to further examine what it means to be an ally and why it is more important than ever for us to work together in the fight against racism. (Broadcast live on April 1)
Panelists: Sharon England Joseph Robinson Misha Viets van Dyk Rev. William Lamar A. Hirotoshi Nishikawa, Ph.D.
Toward Racial Justice: Multiracial Family Dynamics looks at the differences that multiracial families experience with self-esteem and how having multiple ethnic backgrounds can impact identity. (Broadcast live on March 18)
Panelists: Dr. Cathy Coleman Dr. Jean Corey Cynthia Daniels Dr. Jackie Wilson
For decades, students of color have lagged behind their peers in academic achievement across the country. Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, the school-funding formula hasn’t been able to remedy the disparities between affluent and poor public-school districts. Toward Racial Justice: Inequities in Pa.’s Education Funding System explores the issue. (Broadcast live on March 4)
Panelists: Crystal Echeverria Deborah Gordon Klehr Kelly Lewis Dr. Damaris Rau Beth Yoder
Toward Racial Justice: COVID-19, Trust and Vaccines explores some of the racial disparities within the COVID-19 pandemic. We also look at the hesitancy regarding vaccines. (Broadcast live on Feb. 18)
Panelists: Rev. Dr. Brenda Alton Dr. Marilyn Corder Dr. Eugene Curley Anika Jackson Dr. Mary E. Kelleher Dr. Ivan Walks
Toward Racial Justice: A Look Ahead looks back at highlights from the past year with several of the series’ community co-organizers. Plus we explore current issues surrounding policing and policy. (Broadcast live on Feb. 4)
Panelists: Sharia Benn Jonathan Feinberg Stephanie Jirard Representative Joanna McClinton Mark Rhodes
Toward Racial Justice: Celebrating Black and Latino Arts showcases the work of Black and Latino artists in Central Pennsylvania and provide them a space to share their story. (Broadcast live on Dec. 17)
Artists and panelists: Ophelia M. Chambliss Shelly Lipscomb Echeverria Daniel Egusquiza Lyeneal Griffin Christyn Seay Maria James Thiaw Reina Wooden With a special performance by Croix Ellison
With a backdrop of national protests, a surging pandemic and questions surrounding mail-in ballots, Toward Racial Justice unpacks Election 2020: One Month Later. (Broadcast live on Dec. 3)
Panelists: Aerion Abney Kendelle Durkson Stefan Hankin Armenta Early Hinton Megan Ruoro
When it comes to health, Black and Latino populations experience significant disparities. Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Health Disparities examines the importance of addressing health disparities and the work being done to close the gaps. (Broadcast live on Nov. 19)
Panelists: Dr. Sharee Livingston Dr. Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD Dr. Oralia G. Dominic Jenny Englerth
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on How to be an Ally examines what it means to be an ally and why it is so important for all of us to work together in the fight against racism. (Broadcast live on Nov. 5)
Panelists: Aurora Archer Kelly Croce Sorg Amanda Kemp Tsedale M. Melaku
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Policing & Safety examines racial bias in policing, the public’s view of the police and the movement to defund law enforcement. (Broadcast live on Oct. 22)
Panelists: Jamiel L. Alexander Detective Sergeant Ramon Caraballo Commissioner Thomas Carter Byron & Stephanie Lewis Capt. Sonia Pruitt
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Race & Identity in the Media explores role that news organizations play in covering people of color and the direct impact it can have on stereotypes, cultural perceptions and society as a whole. (Broadcast live on Oct. 8)
Panelists: Sandra Clark Marquise Davon Richards David Stamps Torraine Walker
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Race, Elections & Voting explores the reasons why people of color’s representation in elections matter. (Broadcast live on Sept. 24)
Panelists: Kendelle Durkson Veronica Ruiz Shelice Stewart Justin Walton Ralph Rodriguez Mikell Simpson Jonathan Tinoco
Youth of color are more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system. Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Race & Juvenile Justice explores the reasons behind that fact. (Broadcast live on Sept. 10)
Panelists: Steve Bishop Robert Saleem Holbrook Tiffany Sizemore Lenore Wyant
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Environmental Justice examines why it is important everyone has equal access the knowledge and decision-making process to have a healthy environment. (Broadcast live on Aug. 27)
Panelists: State Rep. Chris Rabb Darral Addison Dr. Reginald Archer Brandi Colander Tommy Joshua Megan Ruoro
People of color are regularly undercounted in the census. Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on the Census & Race explores the ways this survey directly impacts our community. (Broadcast live on Aug. 13)
Panelists: Leonard S. Brown Norman Bristol Colon Kimberly Corbin George Fernandez Lunden McClain
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Race & Housing explores discriminatory practices in real estate market, the public housing system, access to home ownership and the impacts of gentrification. (Broadcast live on July 30)
Panelists: Beck Joyner Sharee D. McFadden Angela McIver
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Racial Inequality in Education explores the racial disparities in our education system and steps we can take to address the issue. (Broadcast live on July 16)
Panelists: Dr. Nikole Hollins-Sims Stephen Sharp Casey Stokes-Rodriguez, LSW Peter Groff
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Racial Trauma & Mental Health explores the links between racism and mental health. (Broadcast live on July 2)
Panelists: Alphonso Nathan, LPC Dr. Ericka Pinckney, NCC, LPC Kelsey Benn Dr. Altha J. Stewart
Toward Racial Justice: A Conversation on Systemic Racism is the first in WITF’s Toward Racial Justice series of community conversations. (Broadcast live on June 18)
Panelists: Armenta Hinton, Ph.D. Jamiel L. Alexander Dr. Monea Abdul-Majeed Sam Gerlach
Just after the 2020 election, four panelists talked with TRJ host Charles Ellison about how White people can help demolish systemic racism and White supremacy. During an early-April installment of the TRJ series, Ellison returned to the topic and asked guests how to create coalitions across racial and ethnic groups.
Equity in education dollars is a longstanding debate in the Commonwealth, which is the defendant in a lawsuit arguing that its mode of funding is unconstitutional. Advocates who participated in WITF’s Toward Racial Justice panel on education funding say now is the time to begin closing the gaps.
Sharia Benn — President & Executive Artistic Director of Sankofa African American Theatre Company
Corey Dupree — Chief Operating Officer at The Bridge: Eco Village in Harrisburg
Stephanie A. Jirard — Chief Diversity Officer & Professor of Criminal Justice at Shippensburg University
Mark Rhodes — Diversity Educator and Strategist, Owner of Key Learning Consultants and a Commissioner with the City of York Human Relations Commission
Delma Rivera-Lytle — Diversity Education Specialist at Central York School District
Major Kristal M. Turner-Childs — Director, Bureau of Forensic Services, Pennsylvania State Police & WITF Board Member
A Time to Act!
In April 1968, WITF produced four half-hour documentaries about life in Harrisburg’s “ghetto” and hosted town halls around Central Pennsylvania to continue the discussion. After decades in our programming vault, these videos are now available for viewing online.