Symposium on the State of Race in America - Frequently Asked Questions
What is the State of Race?
The Aspen Institute Symposium on the State of Race in America explores new attitudes, opportunities, and challenges for and about people of color in 21st century America. The annual event is presented by the Communications and Society Program in association with Comcast Corporation. The 2015 Symposium, which took place on April 21st at the Newseum, included three panels on policing in America after Ferguson and Garner, data-driven discrimination and jobs for minorities in the new economy. Following the morning sessions, the Symposium panelists met for a private luncheon roundtable to have a more in-depth discussion about next steps and recommendations.
What is the Communications and Society Program?
The Communications and Society Program is an active venue for framing policies and developing recommendations in the information and communications fields. As one of over thirty policy programs at the Aspen Institute, the Program provides a multi-disciplinary space where veteran and emerging decision-makers can develop new approaches and suggestions for communications policy. The Program enables global leaders and experts to explore new concepts, exchange insights, develop meaningful networks, and find personal growth, all for the betterment of society.
The Program’s projects range across many areas of information, communications and media policy. Activities focus on issues of open and innovative governance, public diplomacy, institutional innovation, broadband and spectrum management, as well as the future of content, issues of race and diversity, and the free flow of digital goods, services and ideas across borders.
Who leads the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program?
Charles M. Firestone is executive director of the Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program. Since his appointment in December 1989, the Program has focused on the implications of communications and information technologies for leadership, the impact of new technologies on democratic and social institutions, and the development of new communications policy models and options for the public interest. He was also the Institute's executive vice president for policy programs and international activities from 1997-2000.
Prior to his positions with the Aspen Institute, Mr. Firestone was director of the Communications Law Program at the University of California at Los Angeles and an adjunct professor of law at the UCLA Law School. He was also the first president of the Los Angeles Board of Telecommunications Commissioners, which advises the Mayor and City Council on all regulatory matters relating to the cable and telecommunications fields.
Mr. Firestone's career includes positions as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission, as director of litigation for a Washington DC public interest law firm, and as a communications and entertainment attorney in Los Angeles. He has argued several landmark communications cases before the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. Mr. Firestone is the editor or co-author of seven books, including Digital Broadcasting and the Public Interest (The Aspen Institute, 1998) and Television and Elections (The Aspen Institute, 1992), and has written numerous articles on communications law and policy.
He holds degrees from Amherst College and Duke University Law School and resides with his wife, sculptor Pattie Porter Firestone, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Who are the participants at the State of Race?
Over the years, notable panelists have included Mayors Michael Nutter and Mitch Landrieu, Police Chief Edward Flynn, Spike Lee and Donna Brazile among others.
Can I attend The State of Race?
Yes, the State of Race Symposium is open to the public but RSVP is required.