Collaborative Community Conversations to Address Racism in October

Greater Scranton MLK Commission partners with higher education to offer community conversations addressing systemic racism
Collaborative Community Conversations to Address Racism in October

To offer education and engage our local community, The Greater Scranton MLK Commission in collaboration with other higher education partners, including The University of Scranton, will offer a series of three sessions this October, “Talking about Racism: A Community Conversation” to provide space for community members to listen, learn, and work for change.

This series was planned over the summer as nationwide protests in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and other Black people brought renewed attention to longstanding issues of racism and social justice. The events recognize that talking about race can be difficult, but see possibilities for progress when participants engage with curiosity, knowledge, and empathy.

These sessions were developed by the Greater Scranton MLK Commission together with higher education partners utilizing speakers from Northeastern Pennsylvania colleges and universities and local organizations.  

 “Education is essential. We need to raise awareness so that people can actually see and understand the scope of the problem of racism – how it impacts individuals and our society. This conversation series will be an opportunity for learning and engagement as a Scranton community.” said Cathy Ann Hardaway, President of the Greater Scranton MLK Commission.

With this goal in mind, “Talking About Racism: A Community Conversation” was created to take participants on a learning journey over three weeks as they uncover their own implicit biases and privilege so we can all work together to create a more equitable and just community here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“The summer of 2020 has prompted a racial reckoning in our country. These problems are not new, but this series was developed to seize the moment now to listen and learn about the ways in which racism affects our Black neighbors and to do our part to bring about lasting change,” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement and Government Affairs at The University of Scranton.

This series includes three sessions on different but related topics. The first session on October 1, “Defining and Identifying Racism” will be moderated by Cathy Ann Hardaway, MLK Commission President and will feature presenters Arthur Breese, Director of Diversity, Geisinger and Teresa Grettano, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English/Theatre, The University of Scranton. The second session on October 8, “Understanding White Privilege and Allyship” will be moderated by Ida Castro, JD, MLK Commission, GCSOM and will feature presenters Jessica Nolan, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology, The University of Scranton and Leon John, Ph.D., Director of Alumni Engagement, East Stroudsburg University. The third session on October 15, “Discussing Black Lives Matter” will be moderated by Lia Richards Palmiter, Ph.D., MLK Commission, Marywood University and will feature presenters Glynis Johns, Founder, Black Scranton Project and Yerodin Lucas, Ph.D., Interim Director Office of Equity & Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator, Marywood University.

Community members are invited to join in the conversation through a series of presentations followed by question and answer sessions held via Zoom on Thursdays from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. beginning October 1. Registration is required at Zoom information will be sent prior to the event.

This series is a project of The Greater Scranton MLK Commission in collaboration with Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Johnson College, Lackawanna College, Marywood University, Penn State Scranton, and The University of Scranton. Questions can be directed to

Back to Top