Civil Rights Symposium being hosted by Wichita State
A report on racial profiling produced by Wichita State University will lead off the U.S. Attorney’s Fourth Annual Statewide Civil Rights Symposium from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, at Wichita State’s Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 5015 East 29th St. N.
Michael Birzer, director of WSU’s School of Community Affairs, will speak on racial profiling during the day-long symposium, which is expected to draw civil rights advocates and law enforcement officers from across the state. Earlier this month, Birzer reported the results of a study for the city of Wichita showing that during a six-month period African-Americans accounted for 22 percent of the people receiving traffic violations in Wichita. African-Americans make up about 11 percent of the city’s population.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said he looks forward to a frank discussion about what the results of the study mean and how law enforcement can work more cooperatively with the community.
“Protecting public safety and protecting civil rights are compatible goals,” said Grissom. “We can do both.
“Our office is committed to the principle that all persons are equal in the eyes of the law. We should work together to address anything that might undermine the trust and confidence that people have in our law enforcement.”
The symposium also will include:
- A look at the federal Community Relations Service, which provides mediation, facilitation and training on federal civil rights issues.
- A presentation on hate crimes by the FBI.
- A civil rights panel discussion moderated by U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.
The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans. It enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.
Sponsors for the symposium include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Midwest Criminal Justice Institute at WSU, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, the School of Community Affairs at WSU and the Regional Policing Training Institute at WSU.