A Community Conversation on Racism and Inequality

Last month, the United Way of Roanoke Valley and our agency hosted a panel discussion about racism and inequality. Watch the live recording on our Facebook page….CLICK HERE TO WATCH.

Actions speak louder than words. Sparking action, however, often starts by expressing our ideals in words. (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”)

Racism and inequality are deeply ingrained in modern life—holding a commitment to justice and equality demands action to uphold our stated ideals. That’s why, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, we and United Way of Roanoke Valley (UWRV) decided to start with an honest conversation.

On Monday, June 15, we hosted a panel discussion on racism and inequality for human services leaders geared toward practical next action steps. Panel guests represented a broad cross-section of expertise from the region, including:

  • Dr. Nathaniel Bishop, senior vice president for administration at Carilion Clinic
  • Dr. Deneen Evans, tenured associate professor of social work at Radford University
  • Mr. Ray Bemis, a 30-year veteran of prevention and wellness work at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and founding member of Points of Diversity
  • Dr. Bush Kavuru, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine
  • Dr. Tracey Criss, MD, associate dean for clinical science at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and vice president of medical staff affairs at Carilion.

A panel discussion, of course, isn’t an answer. However, it’s a start. It’s the kind of moment every generation has had to face—and we hope you will join us in meeting the moment with the thoughtfulness, determination, and above all else, hope, that our future requires of us.