Smithsonian Hosts National Conversation on Race

Program at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Will Explore Racism Through Historical and Contemporary Contexts
November 17, 2022
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The Smithsonian will host a National Conversation on Race Thursday, Dec. 1, at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Hosted by “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past,” the Smithsonian’s race initiative, the program is the first in a series of conversations across the U.S. that will bring together diverse groups of individuals to discuss race and racism in historical, cultural and contemporary contexts. 

The inaugural conversation in Washington, D.C., will take place 7 to 8:30 p.m. ET at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The event is open to the public, but free tickets are required to attend in person. The public can reserve tickets or join a livestream of the program on the initiative’s website. The program will include remarks from Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, a panel discussion and musical performance by composer and producer Nolan Williams Jr. Members of the audience will also have the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A following the discussion. 

The National Conversation on Race will bring together a group of panelists from diverse backgrounds to discuss how modern society is dealing with racism within the broader historical context of America’s complicated history and legacy of race. The conversation will delve into the impact that events of the past few years—ranging from the national protests in response to the murder of George Floyd to the COVID-19 pandemic—have had on society, and how these events will shape the ongoing legacy of race in the U.S. 

The panel discussion will be moderated by NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford. Panelists for the conversation are:

  • Stacey Bohlen, CEO of the National Indian Health Board 
  • Theodore S. Gonzalves, curator of Asian Pacific American history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History
  • Amanda Nguyen, CEO of RISE and civil rights activist 
  • Dometi Pongo, MTV host of the docuseries “True Life” 
  • Akiima Price, A Price Consulting

National and Community Conversations on Race

The Dec. 1 program is the first of three “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past” National Conversations on Race to be held in cities across the U.S. through 2024. These programs will bring together a diverse group of thought leaders to engage in conversations about race and racism to spark positive change and help build a more equitable future. 

In addition to the national discussions, the Smithsonian will launch local community conversations around race in cities and towns across the U.S. These community conversations, co-hosted by local organizations, will help facilitate open dialogue about issues related to race in their communities. The Smithsonian plans to host three community conversations annually between 2023 and 2025.   

About “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past”

Launched in 2021, “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past” is the Smithsonian’s race initiative. The initiative uses the Smithsonian’s vast resources and expertise in history, science, art and culture to explore how people of all backgrounds understand, experience and confront racism. The initiative strives to help the public understand the past and build a better future and is built on six pillars: Race and Wellness; Race and Wealth; Race and Place; Race, Policy and Ethics; Race Beyond the U.S.; and Race, Arts, and Aesthetics. The initiative hosts virtual and live events across the country and creates digital content, storytelling and learning resources. Bank of America is the founding partner of “Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past.” Additional support for the initiative has been provided by Target Corporation, Verizon and Google Arts & Culture. 

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