UWI hosts virtual Race Relations Symposium today

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is calling on all citizens to “Play your part in healing the nation and moving forward in Unity…” as it hosts a virtual symposium on Race Relations, today.

The virtual symposium titled “A Time for Healing: Understanding and Reconciling Race Relations in Trinidad and Tobago”, is open to the public and is free of charge. 

It is scheduled for 1 pm, today, Sunday 30 August 2020, and can be accessed through the UWI St Augustine Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UWISTA/.

The virtual symposium is a collaborate effort between the UWI’s Faculty of Law St. Augustine Campus and the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ).

An official statement issued by the UWI explains the rationale behind today’s virtual symposium:

“In recent times, we have witnessed a display of   race hostilities that enveloped Trinidad and Tobago during the election period and is continuing. It is certain that these incidences of racist conduct have deep underpinnings in our diverse society,” the statement says.

The UWI warns: “If not managed properly, racial tensions could deteriorate and have far-reaching, damaging impacts on our pluralistic society.”

It adds: “A national conversation, focusing on understanding and healing, is sorely needed and this should be hosted in an empathetic, balanced and objective environment.”

The says this National Symposium will bring together scholars and thought leaders on the subject of race, to generate discussion in a safe space.

“Importantly, a safe space to actively involve the public has also been created,” the UWI says. “This is through a special web-link to harness contributions from the public, both before and during the event. Persons who have personally experienced racism or discrimination are asked to send their testimonials using this web-link, https://sta.uwi.edu/law/newsfeatures/RaceRelations2020.php.”

Symposium panelists include UWI Professor Emerita Rhoda Reddock, UN CEDAW Committee; Justice Donna Prowell-Raphael, Judge Equal Opportunity Tribunal; Kwasi Mutema , Chair, NJAC; the UWI’s Dr. Bishnu Ragoonath, Council for Responsible Political Behaviour; Mr. David Abdullah, activist; Dr. Raymond Ramcharitar, writer and cultural historian; Dr. Sheila Rampersad;  Dr. Kadija Khan, psychologist; and Prof. Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Dean, Law and former Rapporteur, Persons of African Descent and Against Discrimination, OAS.

The event will be moderated by CCSJ Chair, Ms. Leela Ramdeen.

Various faith communities will participate through prayer.