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United Not Divided: Economic Inequality and the Opportunity Gap

ST. MARY'S CITY, Md., Feb. 4, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The distribution of income and wealth in the United States has been widening steadily for several decades. The American middle class is shrinking. Children of disadvantaged families lack access to the quality educational resources and the opportunity gap between the poor and affluent Americans is increasing. The trend is alarming, but many believe that it can be reversed.

"United not Divided: Economic Inequality and Opportunity Gap" is a two-day public forum where scholars, community leaders, policy makers, students and the general public will discuss issues of economic inequality and the opportunity gap with the goal of exploring ways to mitigate their negative impacts on the social, cultural and political fabric of the nation. The second day is devoted to discussions on Baltimore and its efforts to transform low-opportunity neighborhoods.

The forum will take place at the Marriot Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md., on March 30-31. The event is organized by the Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary's College of Maryland with the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA) and St. Mary's County Arts Council.

At the end of the forum, attendees are invited to participate in the Theory Meets Practice Tour of NCIA, a nonprofit organization that provides support services to adults and children with intellectual and emotional disabilities and develops credible alternatives to incarceration and institutionalization. The tour will last 1 hour 15 minutes; it is free and open to the public. Bus transportation is provided.

This forum is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Attendees should register by March 25, 2016 at www.smcm.edu/baltimoreforum or by calling 240-895-4215.

Topics to be explored:

• What does scholarly research say about economic inequality?
• What do me mean by the opportunity gap?
• What are the specific enduring challenges faced by many communities in American cities?
• What strategies are available to meet these challenges?
• How hopeful can we be in our efforts to transform low-opportunity neighborhoods in cities such as Baltimore into neighborhoods of greater opportunity?

Forum Chair: Dr. Maija Harkonen, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Democracy at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Co-Director and Moderator: Dr. Helen Daugherty, Professor of Sociology and G. Thomas and Martha Myers Yeager Chair in the Liberal Arts at St Mary's College of Maryland.

Forum Speakers: Hon. Steny Hoyer (U.S. Representative, 5th Congressional District, Maryland), Dr. Tuajuanda C. Jordan (President, St. Mary's College of Maryland), Mr. Kurt L. Schmoke (President, University of Baltimore, former Mayor, City of Baltimore), Dr. Karl L. Alexander (Chair and the John Dewey Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University), Mr. Michael Cryor (Chair, OneBaltimore), Mr. Herbert J. Hoelter (CEO and Co-Founder, NCIA), Dr. Nasir M. Khilji (Senior Economist, Office of Economic Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury), Ms. Diane Bell McKoy (President and CEO of Black Charities), Dr. Branko Milanovic (Visiting Presidential Professor, Luxemburg Income Center, Graduate Center of University of New York), Mr. Keiffer Jackson Mitchell (Special Adviser to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan), Mr. Antero Pietila (Baltimore Sun Reporter, Author of Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City), Arloc Sherman (Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities), and Dr. Margery Austin Turner (Senior Vice President, Planning and Management, The Urban Institute).

Organizers

The Center for the Study of Democracy

The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) explores contemporary and historical issues associated with the ideas of democracy, liberty and justice in national and international contexts. It supports research that enhances our understanding of liberal democracy and its critics. CSD facilitates activities that strengthen democracy and the rule of law; enhance security and individual freedoms; invigorate the civil society; encourage free enterprise; and increase economic, environmental, educational and cultural equity.

St. Mary's College of Maryland

St. Mary's College of Maryland, founded in 1840, is Maryland's only public honors college. The College is consistently ranked as one of the top public liberal arts colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger's and The Princeton Review.

The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives

The National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA) is a Baltimore-based nonprofit organization providing support services to adults and children with intellectual and emotional disabilities. It works in sentencing advocacy, parole release advocacy, and the development of credible alternatives to incarceration and institutionalization. NCIA also offers a Youth In Transition School and vocational training programs for those who have not done well in traditional academic settings.

The St. Mary's County Arts Council

The St. Mary's County Arts Council is a non-profit organization whose goal is to cultivate the arts to enrich the quality of life in our community. It also aims at increasing the awareness of and access to the arts; providing a supportive environment for local artists and arts organizations to thrive; fostering economic vitality through the arts; and developing the St. Mary's Arts Council as a high performing organization.

CONTACT: Media interested in covering this event, contact: Arminta Plater, media specialist, at ajplater@smcm.edu or 240-895-3073

Source:St. Mary's College of Maryland