Past Event

Black and Brown: United or Divided?

"Fortunately, most people I know—whether white, Asian, black, or Latino—support the immigrant rights movement. Yet we have to recognize our long history of division and diversion that has stalled many a wonderful struggle in this country…It’s time to expand this struggle, to increase the dialogue. I would start with having black and brown gatherings everywhere it’s possible. There are dynamic links between blacks and browns, and we need to make them clear and widely understood soon or this historical movement will lose its unifying energy for lasting and deep social change ." – Louis Rodriguez in Progressive Magazine

The recent mobilization for immigrant rights and the response from the African American community provide a point of departure for aprovocative community discussion. This event will address the complex political, historical, and social links between blacks and browns.

Do we still see the kind of coalitions that elected Harold Washington in 1983? What necessities drive such a coalition? What harsh realities make them difficult?

Please join this distinguished panel of scholars and activists for a lively community discussion!


  • John Betancur is professor of Urban Planning and Policy at University of Illinois at Chicago and author of The Collaborative City: Opportunities and Struggles for Blacks and Latinos in U.S. Cities. He has a lifelong involvement in community work in Latin America and the US and his diverse research includes development issues related to disadvantaged populations, globalization, and its impacts on Latino settlement patterns, gentrification, and joint efforts for advancement between African Americans and Latinos.
  • Rudy Lozano, Jr. is a well-known community activist and youth organizer currently working with at-risk youth as a teacher at the Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy. He is the son of renowned activist Rudy Lozano Sr., who played a critical role in the independent movement that changed Chicago’s political history forever with the election of Mayor Harold Washington.
  • Tiffany Childress is New Communities Program (NCP) organizer and activist with the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation. She won the Spirit of Youth Development Award sponsored by Harris Bank and the Steans Family Foundation for her community work with youth to create a mosaic called "Change Makers" which celebrates people making positive changes to better their lives.
  • Laura Washington (Moderator) is the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University, an award-winning reporter and editor, and op-ed columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, contributor to In These Times, and former Press Secretary under Mayor Harold Washington. She specializes in African-American affairs, Illinois and national politics, diversity, race and racism, and social justice.

"It’s in places like Chicago, with its mix of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and blacks, and Spanish Harlem, whose demographics are beginning to resemble Chicago’s, that much of the work of black-Latino relations will be done." – Ed Morales in The Nation

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. Pizza will be served.

If you need a sign interpreter, or have a disability and may require accommodations to fully participate, please call (312) 422-5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit Chicago Parking

For more information, please contact The Public Square at the IHC at 312.422.5580.