Photo: (Left to right) Nakeina Douglas-Glenn, director of RISE; Susan Gooden, dean of the Wilder School; Governor L. Douglas Wilder
There have been many attempts to appraise race and the role it plays in the history of America.
In assessing its accurate impact, one has to consider the bona fides of the “experts.”
History is not theory, though all history is revised through the prism of strict and sobered factual evaluation.
At the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Dean Susan T. Gooden has put in place the Research Institute for Social Equity. Though the acronym for this venture is referenced as RISE , there is no attempt to teach anything but factual history and the residual effects.
We’ve seen the racial pimps before, but today they spring forth from everywhere. In Richmond, and other places, we’ve heard the clamor of sloganeering from blacks and whites — from both political parties — calling for simplistic solutions.
The confederate statues are gone, with little explanation of costs, whereabouts, or anything else.
Crime still ravages our communities; access to housing and health care are left unaddressed, and the education of our children pales in comparison to nations around the world.
And this state of affairs is not brought about by the lack of funding.
Rather, we have a leadership crisis and it needs to be confronted.
What Dean Gooden has done at our school at VCU, is to incorporate her vast and varied experiences into an inclusive institute to teach, examine and learn from our history.
Our team of professors, administrators and staff, are dedicated to fully educating those entrusted to their development. It is not about theories, beliefs or divisive concepts of what might have been. It is what research proves to be corrective of the past and the instrument(s) for improving upon what is, to what it should be.