The American Evaluation Association (AEA) will be hosting a series of national dialogues to reflect and promote positive actions on the deeply rooted, and structurally intertwined issues behind the headlines that propel racial, ethnic, and class disparities in our society. These complimentary discussions, moderated by Melvin Hall, Northern Arizona University Professor, Former Member AEA Board of Directors, will bring evaluators, policy analysts, and applied researchers together to discern ways to proactively engage entrenched issues as the nation goes from one headline making incident to the next. The case study for the dialogue series be found here.
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Our nation and its prospects for the future, are profoundly challenged by the level of divisive discourse and violent actions reported daily in social and mainstream media. From lingering fractures of the recent political campaigning to violent street altercations between police and those they are sworn to protect and serve, we hear daily accounts that give pause and worry about our future. The tattered social fabric of the country urgently calls for collective alarm and thoughtful response.
AEA recognizes that the professional roles of its member community, individually and collectively, comprises a critical part of promoting positive action on any social issue of concern. The work of evaluators, policy analysts, and applied researchers is expected to bring the power of systematic inquiry to promote understanding and positive movement on social issues. Today we see that ideological or emotional appeals, and even purposefully faked “news” reports, can mute the results of disciplined inquiry in public policy and political debate. While issues of current concern cover virtually every facet of society, none has shown more resistance to improvement than racial strife, distrust and disharmony. The persistent, deeply rooted, and structurally intertwined racial, ethnic, and class disparities in our society manifest in both overt behaviors and hidden structural and cultural patterns of thought and action.
Between now and its annual meeting in November, AEA will host a series of national Dialogues on Race and Class in America. Our hope is through dialogue we can discern ways to proactively engage entrenched issues and end the sense of paralysis many have felt as the nation goes from one headline making incident to the next. For AEA and the entire country, this must be a time of reflecting upon the issues behind the headlines and the substantive concerns behind the ideological splits. We urge our members and colleagues to come together and ask the important questions, raise our collective understanding, and commit to contributing to racial and social class healing. Through purposefully learning about ourselves and the society to which we contribute, we hope to create plans of action capable of positively impacting areas of national concern.
To continue the conversation between dialogues, join and participate in our online forum discussion.
The AEA Dialogue on Race and Class in America Series is supported by: