Wednesday, November 13

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Healing Our Divided Society: Poverty, Inequity And Racial Injustice Fifty Years after the Kerner Commission

Location: Boulevard C (2nd Floor)

After the urban protests of the nineteen sixties, President Lyndon Johnson’s Kerner Commission, composed predominantly of White men who bore the imprimatur of the political establishment, concluded in 1968 that the national had made little progress in reducing poverty, inequality and racial injustice.

In 2018, the Milton Eisenhower Foundation and Temple University Press published the Foundation’s Fifty Year Update of the Kerner Commission, titled Healing Our Divided Society.  The Update concluded that, from 1968 to 2018, the overall child poverty rate, the deep poverty rate, income inequality, wealth inequality and public school segregation all increased.  Mass incarceration has become the present iteration of slavery and Jim Crow.

In response, Healing is challenging Independent Sector to better communicate these trends over the last fifty years and to better convey the existing evidence on what works – and what doesn’t work.  After almost fifty presentations on Healing around the nation, the Foundation has found that much of the American White public is not aware of the evidence.  Or is in denial.  Or does not care.

The original 1968 Kerner Commission concluded that “new will” was needed to scale up what works.  To create “new will,”  the Reverend Martin Luther King was assembling an interracial economic justice coalition among the poor, the working class and the middle class when was assassinated shortly after he endorsed the Kerner Commission in 1968.  Running for President in 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy also endorsed the Kerner Commission – and then he too was assassinated.

The Eisenhower Foundation now is speaking out on how nonprofit organizations and foundations need to play a much greater leadership role in the creation of “new will,”  as America heads into 2020, a critical year for the future of what presently is a betrayed democracy.

Presented by The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation

President and CEO
Eisenhower Foundation