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Racial Attitudes Conference touches on hot issues

Submitted by Renea Goddard on April 27, 2016 – 10:36 amNo Comment

“Immigration has become a hot-button issue,” said John Kirk, Director of the Institute on Race and Ethnicity. With immigration becoming an increasing focus in the presidential primaries and Arkansas’s own Latino population is growing so rapidly, the Annual Racial Attitudes in Pulaski Conference is hitting current events right on the head by introducing immigration as this year’s topic.

Panelists included several influential members with expertise in immigration and racial attitudes, including Dr. Leslie Purdy-Hoyt, director of Hall High School’s Program for Immigrant Students, and Dr. Andre Guerrero, president of the Little Rock Chapter of the League of United Latin American citizens.

The Racial Attitudes Conference has been held annually for thirteen years, and is currently run by the Institute on Race and Ethnicity. The conference includes empirical data received from the Institute’s Racial Attitudes Survey and provides that information to policymakers and the general public. Some of the topics discussed in relation to this data are opportunities for undocumented immigrants to receive citizenship and access to education.

“I believe that the conference was successful in achieving its goals of informing and engaging the local community on important issues related to race and ethnicity,” Kirk said.

Kirk says that he is heartened by the fact that research data from the Institute’s Racial Attitudes Survey indicates that Arkansans of every ethnicity are increasingly becoming more empathetic in regards to immigrant issues. “This places Little Rock and Pulaski County in step with the rest of the nation,” he said.

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