June 16, 2005

Illinois African-American Family Commission Panel plans June 25 public hearing in Carbondale

by Larry Davis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois residents will have the opportunity to comment about issues impacting the lives of African-Americans on June 25 when the Illinois African-American Family Commission conducts a public hearing in Carbondale.

The hearing will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Illinois Room in the Student Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.


Media Advisory

Media representatives are welcome to attend the hearing. Those with questions can call SIUC's Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity at 618/453-1186, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Commission member Seymour Bryson, SIUC's associate chancellor for diversity, said the group hopes to hear firsthand from residents in the region about the issues that concern them and suggestions they have about ways to improve the quality of life for African-Americans.

The commission, created in 1994 by executive order of the governor, develops, evaluates and advocates for public policies, plans research and programs to strengthen and preserve African-American families and communities. Commission members are community leaders, child welfare professionals, ministers, parents, business leaders and educators who are dedicated to enhancing the welfare of children and families.

The commission's original focus was on child welfare, but the General Assembly expanded its role to encompass working relationships with all state departments, agencies and commissions whose activities affect African-American children and families. Legislation that took effect in August 2004 mandates that the commission will engage those agencies in its efforts to preserve and strengthen African-American families.

Its purpose is to improve and expand existing human services and educational and community development programs for African-Americans by guiding the efforts of and collaborating with these state departments: Aging, Children and Family Services, Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Corrections, Human Services, Public Aid, Public Health, Transportation and others.

Family economics, workforce participation, health status, safety, education and training, and quality of life for African-Americans are among the issues outlined in the commission's mission statement.

Serving others and enhancing diversity are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.