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2015 State of Race in America Symposium

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Welcome and Introduction by Charles M. Firestone, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program

Remarks by David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation

Opening Presentation: The Year in Race
by Richard Lui, Anchor, NBC News and MSNBC

Policing in America after Ferguson and Garner
Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York, and in other parts of the U.S. have undoubtedly put race relations at the forefront of the minds of Americans. Many citizens who listen to witness accounts or watch cell phone videos of these incidents feel that law enforcement officers responded with brutality and used unnecessary force. Meanwhile, some suggest that there is a disconnect between public perceptions and the official facts of a case. Minority citizens in these communities fear being wrongfully targeted by police officers, while police officers are in fear while they protect the community, and themselves, from possible threats. How do we resolve these racial fears? Have race relations worsened in recent months? Featuring:

Juan Williams, Political Analyst, Fox News (MODERATOR)
Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Edward Flynn, Chief, Milwaukee Police Department
Benjamin Crump, Attorney, Parks & Crump, LLC

Data-Driven Discrimination
Many companies utilize data analytics to learn more about consumers and their behaviors. There are opportunities where data can be used to bring about positive societal change such as increased diversity in the workplace and exposing social inequality. But its use can also raise major privacy and civil rights concerns. The same analytics that could foster diversity could discriminate against racial minorities in credit, advertising or privacy cases, creating a kind of digital redlining. How can big data be used to decrease racial disparities and increase diversity? How can discriminatory use of data be prevented or reversed? What should companies, individuals, and governments do to address the issue?

Joaquin Alvarado, CEO, Center for Investigative Reporting (MODERATOR)
Michael Fertik, CEO, 
Julie Brill, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
Kim Keenan, Minority Media and Telecom Council

Jobs for People of Color in the New Economy
One of the great dilemmas of Silicon Valley is obtaining and retaining data scientists and others qualified for the challenging jobs in new technologies, while those same companies have under-represented percentages of minority hires. According to USAToday, computer science jobs are the fastest growing and command the highest salaries, yet just one in 14 technical employees in Silicon Valley is Black or Hispanic. At Google, 3% of the staff is Hispanic and 2% African American. At Yahoo and Facebook 4% are Hispanic and 2% African American. How can this country develop more minorities for tech fields where the U.S. is importing qualified candidates for the jobs that remain vacant?

Richard Lui, Anchor, NBC News and MSNBC (MODERATOR)
Ben Jealous, Co-Chair, Kapor Center for Social Impact and Former President and CEO, NAACP
Earl Lewis, President, Mellon Foundation
Ron Busby, President and CEO, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.