National Latina leader joined panel discussion on overcoming racial division in the U.S.

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- Janet Murguia, Executive Director and COO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights organization in the U.S., joined internationally-acclaimed advocates for social inclusion in a national dialogue on overcoming racial, ethnic, and religious divisions in America.



The panel, Bridging the Divide: Racial Reconciliation in the 21st Century, was sponsored by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), the SBC Foundation, and the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), and it was held at the University Theater in UALR's Center for Performing Arts on Thursday, November 16.



Bridging the Divide: Racial Reconciliation in the 21st Century was being held two days before the opening of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center at UALR in order to highlight a theme that Clinton returned to often during his eight years in the White House: America's critical challenge of resolving tensions of bigotry, intolerance, and racism. In particular, Murguia spoke to the “nation's increasing diversity,” and she offered insights on how the Latino community, “through its network of local leaders, community-based and national organizations, and elected officials can help unite diverse communities around shared values of patriotism, social justice, and inclusion.”



"To actually 'bridge the divide of race in the United States,' educational, non-profit and business institutions will have to work together, so this partnership among UALR, NCCJ, and the SBC Foundation is emblemic of how we must proceed to set an agenda for progress in the next century," Ruth Shephers, Executive Director of the NCCJ in Arkansas, said of the event.



Other participants in the panel discussion will include: Sanford Cloud Jr., President and CEO of NCCJ; Robert A. Evans, Executive Director of Plowshares Institute; Rose Matsui Ochi, former Director of the Community Relations Service of the Justice Department; and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Founder of the American Sufi Muslim Association.



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