Series Archive

The LSU Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, in partnership with Southern University's Nelson Mandela College of Government & Social Sciences, Louisiana Budget Project, NAACP Louisiana State Conference and LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is pleased to present Racism: Dismantling the System, an ongoing series of conversations about structural racism and solution-oriented action toward equal opportunity and justice in our communities. The series will amplify the voices of community advocates, academics, journalists and more working for social justice in our nation and beyond.

Season One: Fall 2020

What is Race? Unpacking Racism in Our Structures & Institutions

In the inaugural episode of Racism: Dismantling the System, NAACP Louisiana State Conference President Michael McClanahan will moderate a conversation tracing the construction of structures and institutions built on racism in society from the earliest days of the United States. Local and national experts will explore the history of how racism has been built into the fabric of the United States from colonization to slavery to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond.


  • Dr. Micheal McClanahan, NAACP Louisiana State Conference, President, Moderator
  • Dr. Laura Adderley, Tulane University, Associate Professor, Department of History
  • Dr. Cassandra Chaney, Louisiana State University School of Social Work, J. Franklin Bayhi Endowed Professor
  • Dr. Andrew Jolivétte, UC San Diego Professor, Chair, Department of Ethnic Studies & Director Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Dr. Albert Samuels, Southern University Nelson Mandela College of Government & Social Sciences, Jewel L. Prestage-Kellogg Professor of Political Science and Chair, Department of Political Science and History

Blackness and the Media Miniseries

In partnership with Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists and LSU National Association of Black Journalists

The Black Press: Advocating from the Beginning to Today

The first installment of “Blackness and the Media” will feature a conversation about the genesis of the Black Press, its advocacy role, the twists and turns of its existence, and ongoing fight to remain relevant during a time of increased media competition.


  • Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR, Assistant Professor in Public Relations, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, Moderator
  • Anitra Brown, Managing Editor, The New Orleans Tribune
  • Crystal deGregory, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Historic Preservation
  • Renette Dejoie-Hall, President and Publisher, The Louisiana Weekly Cheryl Smith, Publisher of I Messenger News Group and Secretary of the National Association of Black Journalists

Justice For Us All: Black Journalists and Their Continued Fight for Accuracy, Representation and a Seat at the Table

This second conversation in the Blackness and the Media Miniseries will focus on Black representation in mainstream media outlets as journalists and decision-makers are paramount in the continued fight for racial equity and social justice.


  • Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR, Assistant Professor in Public Relations, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, Moderator
  • Gerron Jordan, Adjunct Instructor, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication; Anchor, WVLA-TV; Vice President, BRAABJ, Moderator
  • Jarvis DeBerry, Editor, States Newsroom, Louisiana Brandi B. Harris, Morning Anchor, WBRZ News 2
  • Angel Jennings, Assistant Managing Editor for Culture and Talent, Los Angeles Times Marc Spears, Senior NBA Writer The Undefeated

New Media, New Rules: How Social Media and Digital Media Outlets Help Expand the Black Narrative and March Toward Real Systemic Change

The final installment in the Blackness and the Media Miniseries, Manship School of Mass Communication Assistant Professor Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR, will moderate a conversation about how social media influencers are leveraging their followers to champion social justice and equality for Black communities near and far.

Liberty and Justice for All: Fighting Voting Suppression Then & Now 

As we close out an unprecedented election cycle in the midst of a global pandemic and nationwide racial tension, the stark reality of voter suppression cannot be ignored. From states attempting to limit the number of ballot drop-boxes to hours long early voting lines, the 2020 Presidential Election brought into clear focus the inequities that have long-existed to keep people of color away from the ballot box. We will explore the past and current voter suppression methods and how these methods have disenfranchised minority voters throughout history as well as what we can do to begin dismantling voter suppression for all.


  • Charlie Stephens – Political Communication Sophomore, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication; Director, LA Vote-By-Mail; Moderator Commissioner
  • Jay Dardenne – Commissioner of Administration, State of Louisiana
  • Brad Jenkins - Co-Founder of RUN AAPI, CEO of Enfranchisement Production
  • Ashley K. Shelton – Executive Director, Power Coalition
  • Victoria Wenger – Skadden Fellow, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
  • Allie Young – Co-Founder, Protect the Sacred

Season Two: Spring 2021

HBCUs and PWIs: The Importance of Both

In the spring premiere of Racism: Dismantling the System, join us for a conversation about the significance and continued importance of HBCUs in academia and our society. Local and national scholars will explore the relationships between HBCUs and PWIs and how both play important roles in educating students of color.

Race, Religion and the Moment We're In: The Religion of White Rage

The second episode in the Spring 2021 Semester which will feature an in-depth conversation focused on “The Religion of White Rage: Religious Fervor, White Workers and the Myth of Black Racial Progress.” This book, co-edited by Drs. Stephen C. Finley, Biko Mandela Gray and Lori Latrice Martin, sheds light on the phenomenon of white rage, and maps out the uneasy relationship between white anxiety, religious fervor, American identity, and perceived black racial progress. 

The Opportunity Gap: A Discussion About Healthcare, Economic and Housing Disparities in Communities of Color Part I

In Part I of The Opportunity Gap, we will explore the historical aspects of the economic, housing and healthcare policies that have led to enormous disparities among communities of color. From tax policies and banking practices that target Black and Brown communities, to housing discrimination and healthcare inequities, join us as we host economists and public health experts to explore the historical roots of policy decisions intended to keep communities of color from progressing in society.

The Opportunity Gap: A Discussion About Healthcare, Economic and Housing Disparities in Communities of Color Part II

New research shows that low-income families - particularly people of color - pay state and local taxes at a higher rate than wealthy, white families. This is not an accident. As the Louisiana Legislature convenes for a two-month session focused on tax policy, experts will detail the racist origins of the revenue structure in Louisiana and the South, and how this history manifests in the present day in the economic outcomes of Black Louisianans, including healthcare disparities and residential patterns. Scholars from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center and Louisiana Public Health Institute will also explain how states can make their tax systems more equitable.


  • Priska Neely, Managing Editor, Gulf States Newsroom
  • Kamolika Das, State Policy Analyst, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy
  • Cashauna Hill, Executive Director, Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center
  • Tiffany Jeanminette, Policy & Equity Director, Louisiana Public Health Institute

Season Three: Fall 2021

Anti-AAPI Racism and Its Effects

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the globe in 2020, divisive and racist rhetoric led to an alarming rise in hate crimes against Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in the United States. But, anti-AAPI racism is not a result of this pandemic or even this rhetoric. Historically, AAPI communities have faced a multitude of systemic and institutionalized racism from exclusionary immigration policies to the use of American internment camps for Japanese and Japanese Americans in the wake of the Pearl Harbor bombings of 1942. Join us as activists, academics and journalists explore this complex history and how they have built thriving and vibrant communities that are integral to the fabric of the United States.


  • Sherry Liang, Moderator, University of Georgia Student and Former Editor-in-Chief of The Red & Black
  • Priyanka Bhatt, Staff Attorney, Project South
  • Keva X Bui, PhD Candidate in Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego
  • Dr. Natasha Chen Christensen, Associate Professor of Sociology, Monroe Community College Liz Koh, Morning Anchor, WAFB-TV
  • Eunice Kim, Program Manager, Stop AAPI Hate
  • Dr. Craig Santos Perez, Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa 

The Great Equalizer? How Policy Cemented Educational Inequity

Following the ruling in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, legal segregation based on race became the law of the land. The longstanding aftereffects of that ruling filtered into every aspect of our society, including the education system. In this episode, experts will discuss the “separate but equal” doctrine’s role in cementing educational inequity. We will delve into the misrepresentation of education as the great equalizer, and how the education system has been complicit in reproducing inequality, despite segregation ending in 1954 following the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Ruling. 


  • Xavier Kent, Moderator, Student, LSU
  • Dr. Albert Samuels, Chair of Department of Political Science, Southern University
  • Dr. Erica Frankenberg, Director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State University
  • A.P. Tureaud, Jr., Board Member, Plessy & Ferguson Foundation

Separate and Unequal: The Legacy of Plessy v. Ferguson

Over 125 years after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case, we are still experiencing the aftershocks of a system built to segregate and disenfranchise. The “separate but equal” doctrine spread through society to touch everything from public transportation to the education system. As we convene the third season of Racism: Dismantling the System, historians, journalists and legal experts will join us for a conversation on the long-standing effects that Plessy v. Ferguson has had on the systems and structures we are working to dismantle. 


  • Mary Smith, Moderator, Political Science Senior, Southern University Professor
  • Angela Allen-Bell, Associate Professor, Southern University Law Center
  • Brian J. Costello, O. de M. III, Tertiary, Historian, Genealogist and Author
  • Phoebe Ferguson, Executive Director, Plessy and Ferguson Foundation
  • Keith Plessy, President, Plessy and Ferguson Foundation
  • Dr. Albert Samuels, Chair of Department of Political Science, Southern University

The Role of Social Injustice in Mental Health Inequity

In the season three finale of Racism: Dismantling the System, we explore inequities in mental healthcare in communities of color. In a recent article about the realities of the relationship between the mental health system in the United States and communities of color, Professors Ruth S. Shim, M.D., M.P.H. and Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D. breakdown the impact of structural racism and impacts of social injustice on access to resources, opportunities and basic protections for people of color in the United States.


  • Shelina Davis, MPH, MSW, Moderator, CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute
  • Lucy Ogbu-Nwobodo, MD, MS, MAS, PGY-4, MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency
  • Ruth Shim, MD, MPH, Luke & Grace Kim Professor in Cultural Psychiatry, University of California, Davis School of Medicine

Season Four: Spring 2022


Activism Across Generations: The Fight for Civil Rights Then and Now

Across history, the fight for social justice has carried many faces. From the earliest days of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the Civil Rights Movement to today’s Black Lives Matter movement, youth have played prominent roles in progressing civil rights. But how has the generational divide played a role in how these movements were able to push forward change. Join us as we compare the legacies that remain and today’s successes in dismantling the structures of racism.


  • Kennedi Smith, Co-Founder of Black Women Graduate Collective, Masters Candidate, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, Moderator
  • Christin 'Cici' Battle, Activist, Speaker, Organizer, & Former Executive Director of Young People For
  • Dr. Tristan Cabello, Director of the Master of Liberal Arts, Johns Hopkins University
  • Dr. Zackory Kirk, Social Activist & Content Creator
  • Sara Mora, Storyteller, Speaker, Digital Strategist, Activist & Founder of Population MIC 

Is the Customer Always Right? Discrimination Experienced by BIPOC Consumers

In a time when calls for racial justice have led to major national and global brands making statements about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in their spaces, how can businesses protect BIPOC consumers when they face discrimination from fellow consumers? Join us as we host an exploration of the ways businesses deal with instances of racism and discrimination. 


  • Davante Lewis, Director of Public Affairs and Outreach, Louisiana Budget Project (moderator)
  • Alexander Camardelle, Ph.D., Director of Workforce Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
  • Elsa Dimitriadis, Chief Impact Officer, Conversation Starters
  • Cassi Pittman Claytor, Ph.D., Climo Junior Professor; Acting Co-Director of African & African American Studies Minor, Case Western Reserve University
  • Traci Parker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The Fight for Environmental Equity

The most vulnerable and marginalized communities live, work and play in cities exceedingly affected by pollution and climate change. This is not a coincidence. From the Flint, Michigan water crisis to Louisiana’s own “Cancer Alley,” local and national neglect and ineffective environmental policies and regulations place the greatest environmental burdens on the backs of poor and minority communities. In the season four finale, state and national experts and activists will examine the history behind the disproportionate impacts and the push for policies that support clean, healthy and thriving communities for all. 


  • Charity C. Williams, Vice President, LSU National Association of Black Journalists; Senior, LSU Manship School of Mass Communication, Moderator
  • Denise Abdul-Rahman, Special Project Manager, The Chisholm Legacy Project & Environmental Climate Justice Program Chair, Indiana State Conference of the NAACP
  • Timothy W. Hardy, Partner, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P.
  • Isaias Hernandez, Environmental Educator and Founder of QueerBrownVegan
  • Charles Lee, Senior Policy Advisor, EPA Office of Environmental Justice

Season Five: Fall 2022

Narrative Shifting: Centering the Humanity of the Enslaved on Plantations

Louisiana is home to some of the grandest and most notable plantation homes in the United States. But these estates have long been misrepresented and their histories whitewashed to gloss over the horrific legacy of slavery. So how can we begin to unravel the histories of these places and understand the atrocities committed and their impact on today’s society? Join us as we host a conversation on understanding and telling the true story of plantations, the responsibility of plantations to change the narrative to accurately honor the millions of enslaved peoples whose lives and legacies are irrevocably tied to these places.


  • Morgan Harris, Southern University Political Science Senior, Moderator
  • Joy Banner, Ph.D., The Descendants Project
  • Christopher E. Cottrell, Assistant Professor of Geography, Department of Political Science, Geography and History, Southern University Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences
  • Yvonne Holden, Director of Visitor Experience & Operations

Looking in a Mirror: How Black Horror Film Pathology Supports Racist Tropes

In season five, episode two of the Racism: Dismantling the System series, a panel of experts will investigate the popularity of Black horror films and discuss the danger of plots and scripts that still perpetuate harmful stereotypes of BIPOC people as disadvantaged or oppressed. Led by new series partner Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Media, panelists will share ways we can be entertained while still being advocates.


  • Ty Lawson, Moderator, Marion M. and John S. Stokes Visiting Professor in Race and Culture in Media, Loyola University’s School of Communication and Design
  • Geretta Geretta, Writer, Director, Actress
  • Dagmawi Abebe (Dag), Director
  • Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Writer,  Director

Season Six: Spring 2023

Sickle Cell Disease: Looking at the Medical Distrust & Health Disparities

Join us for a special episode of Racism: Dismantling the System as we partner with the Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana to discuss the healthcare disparities that are harming Black and Brown lives in our community, specifically those with sickle cell disease. This particular discussion, “Sickle Cell Disease: Looking at the Medical Distrust & Health Disparities Facing the Minority Community,” will dive into the chronic internal pain many individuals living with sickle cell disease experience as well as the external struggles like discrimination and health-related stigmas based on their race, disease, and socioeconomic status.

Sickle cell disease is a common blood disorder inherited mainly among African Americans but affects all. Approximately 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease. We encourage you to attend this discussion to learn more about sickle cell disease and how you can help break the stigma to support sickle cell warriors in Louisiana.


  • Quenton Buckhalter, Moderator
  • Tanisha Burrell Smith, NP, Hematology-Oncology, Our Lady of the Lake
  • Ernest DeJean, MSW, Program Manager, School of Medicine at Tulane University
  • Renee Gardner, M.D., Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital New Orleans
  • Corey Hebert, M.D., Director of Medical Research/Development at Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc.
  • Sherell Jones, Sickle Cell Warrior

History and Cultural Impacts of Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over the French army during the battle of Puebla in 1862. Over time, this holiday has turned into a commercialized celebration that fails to acknowledge the history, culture, and accomplishments of Mexican people. Rather than honoring this history, Americans use it as an excuse to party and play into harmful stereotypes instead of celebrating respectfully. The Mexican-American community has since reclaimed the holiday to commemorate Mexican resilience during the Chicano movement. Join us as we discuss different negative stereotypes, the ties to the Chicano movement, and how to support Mexican-American/Undocumented communities this Cinco de Mayo. 


  • Adamaris Chavez, Moderator
  • Alejandro Cortazar, Ph.D. 
  • William Camargo, photographer and activist
  • Lorena Márquez, Ph.D., Chicano and Latino Studies
  • Gabriela Spears-Rico, Ph.D.


Season Seven: Fall 2023

Equity at the Ballot Box: Discriminatory Obstacles to Voting

In this new episode of Racism: Dismantling the System, advocates and experts will discuss efforts across the US to curb voting in response to baseless claims of rampant fraud and a stolen presidential election in 2020. Voter suppression and election result subversion measures largely target racial minorities. Learn about these tactics and how communities are working to shape an increasingly equitable democratic process in the face of efforts to degrade voting rights. Join us as we host a panel discussion to discuss the state of the voting process. 



  • Sara Martin - Moderator, Political Science Master Student at Southern University.
  • Sara Carter - J.D., Equal Justice America Fellow in the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program.
  • Jarret Luter - Committee Chair of the Baton Rouge NAACP Branch Political Action Committee.
  • Albert Samuels, Ph.D. - Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Southern University.
  • Ashley Shelton - Founder, President and CEO of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice.