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Pair of programs explore race, poverty, adolescence and justice
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Pair of programs explore race, poverty, adolescence and justice

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A pair of programs will challenge residents of the Quad-Cities to think about issues surrounding race, poverty, juvenile justice and childhood traumas.

The first program — a conversation-style podcast — is scheduled to start June 7 under the direction of Moline-based SAL Family and Community Services and is dedicated to exploring lived experiences of racism and poverty.

Loredia Nunn-Dixon, who directs SAL's Open Door Crisis Assistance program, is using a $14,200 grant to moderate dialogue between volunteers and participants in Open Door’s Opportunities Quad Cities initiative to talk about racism and poverty in their lives. Nunn-Dixon has planned for four weeks of recordings as the basis of the podcast — and hopes the conversations continue.

The second program is a free online webinar entitled "Race, Adolescence and Trauma." It will be held at noon Tuesday, June 22, and is offered by the the Juvenile Justice Coalition of the Quad Cities.

The webinar's featured presenter is Professor Kristin Henning, the Blume professor of law and director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and Initiative at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

Both programs look at how race intersects with issues of poverty, bias, justice and childhood.

Nunn-Dixon's goals for the podcast are rooted in the belief " ... the work of racial healing can make our community a more equitable and inclusive place ... ."

“We want to have what we call ‘courageous conversations,’ ” Nunn-Dixon said in a news release. "This work is all about bringing about healing — and not only healing, but awareness. We want others to be aware that poverty does exist in our community. We want to get them involved in our movement.”

In a news release, the Juvenile Justice Coalition of the Quad-Cities pointed out recent research shows Black, brown and other children of color who experience racial bias also suffer high rates of fear, anxiety and depression. Additionally, police encounters with youth can increase crime instead of reduce it.

The webinar will tackle the racial bias-induced traumas like:

• Being followed in a store by managers because of their color.

• Living in communities and going to schools that are highly surveilled by police.

• Experiencing frequent police stops and possible frisking.

• And watching news reports or online coverage of Black adults and youth being shot and killed by police officers.

Henning has written extensively about those and other issues of race, adolescence and policing. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and books, and she also is the author of the forthcoming book, “The Rage of Innocence: How America Criminalizes Black Youth.”

“Children today are facing unprecedented trauma from the pandemic, racial tensions in our country and disruptions in their learning and daily activities. As the community thinks about public safety and the well-being of youth, it is important that we talk about the intersection of race, adolescence and trauma,” Henning said in the event's new release.

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