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Talk highlights community role in tackling inequality

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Western Michigan University
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“Particularly in the field of education, they talk about achievement gaps. What we really should be talking about are opportunity gaps.” 

 
Dr. Timothy Ready is the director of the Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations at Western Michigan University.  
“It shows up in education outcomes, it shows up in economic outcomes, it shows up in all kinds of fields.” 
 
Ready's discussion looked at local data for Kalamazoo and Kent Counties; both of which experience greater inequalities across racial and economic lines – both also heavier in their respective city cores. 

"We have to live together, whether we like it or not. And in fact, our interests are dependent on one to the other"

 
He says a community is more likely to successfully address – or break – those barriers than the institutions themselves. 
 
Part of that is the direct interest a community has it in its own future. 
 
“We have to live together, whether we like it or not. And in fact, our interests are dependent on one to the other.” 

“If we have a big part of our community where there might be high crime rates, a lot of folks who don’t have the education they need to contribute to the workforce – we’re not going to be economically competitive, people are going to be afraid (of certain neighborhoods) – it’s not going to be a quality of life that we need.” 
 
“At the community level, I think there’s more of an opportunity for people to see that all of us do better when all of us do better.” 
 
Ready spoke in Grand Rapids this week as part of a WMU-Cooley Law School series on community integrity and equality.

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