Race

Dr. Kimberly Barrett (left) and Dr. Joann Wright Mawasha organized the forum at Wright State along with Dayton Police.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

About fifty people attended a forum on race and policing at Wright State Tuesday evening intended to move community members from dialogue to action around racial bias and police.

“There’s a difficult and torturous history of race and policing in this country,” said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, who helped facilitate. “That history is not over. We’re still living it.”

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl acknowledges issues with diversity within the city's police department.
City of Dayton Police Department Website

Despite efforts to address racial disparities within its ranks, the Dayton Police Department hasn't increased the percentage of black officers. 

A 2008 lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice found the Dayton police and fire departments engaged in hiring practices that discriminated against African Americans. The criticisms focused on written and physical tests that were eliminating African-American candidates.

Dayton Police Chief, Richard Biehl, says there were problems with the testing.

Students from Ponitz Career Technology Center pictured with WYSO's Basim Blunt on the students' first visit to the WYSO studios for youth radio classes that turned into Dayton Youth Radio.
Juliet Fromholt / WYSO

This fall, WYSO expanded its community voices radio production training to include high school students at David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center and founded Dayton Youth Radio.

The group Racial Justice Now! (RJN) will return to the Dayton Public School Board meeting Tuesday evening to follow-up on a request that the district stop out-of-school suspensions for preschool through 3rd grade students. RJN presented its initial request at last month’s board meeting.

University of Dayton Professor of Law Emeritus Vernellia Randall says the group will present  a petition with more than 14oo signatures.

Michael Kellen

A local group has asked Dayton public schools for a moratorium on out of school suspensions. Racial Justice now presented their request at a school board meeting last night.  

According to the group, Black students accounted for 80% of school suspensions in 2011.

Professor Vernellia Randall with the University of Dayton is co-founder of Racial Justice now. She says removing students from the school system for non-violent offenses sets up an unfavorable pattern..

A new report from the Annie E. Casey foundation says children of color still face 'Troubling obstacles' when it comes to social and economic opportunity in the US.  The document states those obstacles are especially true for children in Ohio.

The annual Kids Count Policy Report measures how children in all racial groups are fairing as they reach certain milestones, from birth, through early education, and into adulthood. Sarah Biehl is policy director with Children's Defense Fund Ohio.