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Toward Racial Justice

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 or by using #RacialJusticePA on your preferred social media platform

Toward Racial Justice | Voices from the Midstate photo stories


Past conversations

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Hadel A.
Elijah Dourado
Gaquaya Harris
Hilary Santos
Jelani Splawn

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Armenta Hinton, Ph.D.
Jamiel L. Alexander
Dr. Monea Abdul-Majeed
Sam Gerlach




Book recommendations from Toward Racial Justice panelists and co-organizing committee.


(Seven Stories Press)
(Ballantine Books)
(UNC Press)
(The New Press)
(One World)
(Haymarket Books)
(One World)
(The New Press)

(Atria Books)

(Crossing Press)
(Ballantine Books)
(Russell Sage Foundation)


(Penguin Classics)
(Vintage International)
(Vintage International)

Toward Racial Justice committee of co-organizers:

  • 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.