Kerner Commission findings still resonate more than 50 years later

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on October 27, 2020
In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson established the Kerner Commission to explore the origins of the 1967 race riots. In Spotlight Exclusive, Alan Curtis, president of the Eisenhower Commission – the private sector continuation of the original commission – describes how the Commission continues to address racial justice and equality during the pandemic. The Kerner Commission’s conclusions about inequality and racism were based on evidence collected by its members, many of whom were privileged white men. Curtis stresses that this mutual acceptance of the evidence by white audiences is lacking in modern day, as many are unaware or in denial of the detriment of structural racism. Curtis argues that the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color illustrates the need to enact supportive economic and public health policies to create systemic change. Curtis and the Eisenhower Commission speak around the country to educate audiences and advocate for a democracy that is more responsive to the needs of people of color.

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