MUNSTER | Racism thrives in Northwest Indiana with people of all races, creeds and cultures engaging in individual and institutional forms of the discriminatory behavior.
That message was central to the panel discussion “Facing Racism in Northwest Indiana” taped Tuesday at Munster High School’s auditorium by Lakeshore Public Television before a live audience.
This third in the “Lakeshore Focus On the Road” series will air at 8:30 p.m. Friday on Channel 56 WYIN, Comcast channel 17 and on Dish/Direct/U-Verse on Channel 56.
Keith Kirkpatrick, executive director of Leadership Northwest Indiana, served as series host and moderator of the six-member panel. Questions also were posed by the audience.
“We will look at how we need to respond to acts of discrimination and racism and not try to talk about the big picture of racism. It’s a huge issue,” Kirkpatrick told the audience before the taping began. “We want to bring it down to the local level (and) what we need to do to deal with things that go on in our communities.”
Panelists represented the diversity of Northwest Indiana. During the conversation, each panelist offered actions to take and solutions to try to create a vibrant, multicultural, multiracial society throughout the area.
They included Victoria Brockett, who recently completed her master’s degree in sociology from Loyola University and focuses on outreach programs; Barbara Bullock, director of counseling services at Indiana University Northwest and adjunct faculty at Valparaiso University, and Carol Dahlen, mental health counselor with Porter County Family Counseling.
Also participating were Danny Lackey, coordinator of diversity programming at Merrillville Community Schools; Ferass Safadi, director of Life DME of Merrillville, a home medical equipment and supply company and an active member of the Northwest Indiana Islamic Center in Crown Point, and Rick Soria, newly-appointed vice chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana's Michigan City campus.
Among the solutions offered by panelist are celebrating rather than fearing diversity, education, personal example and getting to know people of other races, cultures and faiths.
The Knight Foundation provides major funding for the series.