A panel discussion will be held at the DeWitt Operahouse at 2 p.m. Sunday. The panel will feature people from eastern Iowa and western Illinois who have overcome racial bias on the job, in education, and in their personal relationships.
The event, entitled “Encountering Racism,” is free and open to the public. It is being presented by the Franciscan Peace Center in observation of the International Day of Peace and Campaign Nonviolence.
“We clearly have a long way to go in resolving racial issues in our country,” reports Lori Freudenberg, Outreach Director for the Franciscan Peace Center. “We have heard countless stories from people who are still experiencing prejudice because of racial bias. It is crucial that we listen to each other to gain an understanding of what our neighbors are facing and learn what we need to do to bring about change.”
The panel discussion will feature WHBF news reporter, Tahera Rahman – the first woman in hijab to work as an on-air reporter for American television. Rahman joined the WHBF Local 4 News team as a producer in May 2016. In February of 2018, Rahman moved from making the decisions behind the scenes to telling the stories on the scene, achieving her childhood dream.
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, prior to joining WHBF, Tahera was a producer for a community radio station downtown. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in Journalism and International Studies. While there, she became the first Muslim editor-in-chief of the weekly student paper, the Loyola Phoenix.
Also on the panel will be Dr. Bianca and Ty Perkins. The Perkinses will talk about their experiences with raising children in a divided society.
Bianca is the director of adult education at Black Hawk College in Moline, Ill. Her 20 years of professional experience in higher education includes teaching, faculty and program management, faculty training and development, grant writing, and conference and special project coordination.
Ty Perkins is the associate dean of students at Scott Community College. He has worked in education for over 17 years, covering all sectors of higher education. His experience includes management of intercultural programming, inclusion and equity, community engagement, student services, academic affairs, student retention, and enrollment services.
The third panelist will be Dr. Savannah Mussington, partnership director for the Equal Opportunity Schools organization. Mussington previously served as a college administrator, providing leadership for a competitive, federally-funded TRiO program at Kishwaukee College and more recently Sauk Valley Community College.
The International Day of Peace is observed around the world each year on Sept. 21. Established in 1981 by unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.
Campaign Nonviolence is a grassroots movement to mainstream active nonviolence using the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. that calls people to become people of nonviolence and to resolve personal and global conflicts nonviolently.