Experts to Analyze Policies Hindering Economic, Social Progression of Minorities in Spring Finale of LSU Reilly Center Series

April 7, 2021

BATON ROUGEThe Opportunity Gap: A Discussion About Healthcare, Economic and Housing Disparities in Communities of Color II, a virtual event hosted by LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and partners, premieres April 13, at 3:30 p.m. CDT and will focus on current policies that hinder the economic and social progression of minorities.

The discussion is the final episode in the series Racism: Dismantling the System’s spring season hosted by the LSU Reilly Center in partnership with Southern University and A&M College’s Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences, Louisiana Budget Project, NAACP Louisiana State Conference and LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

New research shows that low-income families—particularly people of color—pay state and local taxes at a higher rate than wealthy, white families. As the Louisiana Legislature convenes for a two-month session focused on tax policy, experts will detail the origins of the revenue structure in Louisiana and the South and how this history manifests in present day in the economic outcomes of Black Louisianans, including healthcare disparities and residential patterns.

Priska Neely, managing editor for the Gulf States Newsroom, a collaboration between NPR and member stations in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, will moderate the live discussion.

“It’s easy to look at health and economic disparities as new problems, but these issues are decades or centuries old and are part of the legacy of racism,” Neely said. “Recognizing those roots is an essential step in actually addressing inequities and closing gaps. I hope this thought-provoking conversation will encourage people to question and critique the world around them.

The episode will feature experts in housing, public health and economic policy. 

In addition to the April 13 live broadcast, WRKF, Baton Rouge's sole NPR affiliate, will air the episode at a later date.

The series will be hosted using Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live. Admission is free, but you must register in advance on Eventbrite to receive the Zoom meeting access code. Previous episodes are available for viewing on the Manship School’s YouTube channel. For more information, contact


The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs is partnership-driven, action-oriented and dedicated to exploring contemporary issues at the intersection of mass communication and public life. Its interdisciplinary approach draws together experts from diverse fields to advance research and dialogue. The intent is to inspire our communities to think deeply, take action, develop solutions and broaden knowledge. Underlying the Center’s endeavors is to strengthen and advance the Manship School’s national and state leadership in media and politics.

LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: master of mass communication, Ph.D. in media and public affairs, certificate of strategic communication, and dual MMC/law degree.

The Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences at Southern University aims to educate students who will matriculate with the spirit of service, superb competence and employability skills needed in a global marketplace. The College is located on the campus of Southern University and A&M College, the flagship of the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) University System in the nation.

The Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) monitors and reports on state public policies and how they affect Louisiana’s low- to moderate-income families. Using research, outreach and advocacy, LBP educates policymakers, the nonprofit community and the public about the economic and racial barriers that Louisianans face each day, and looks for solutions that can create a more widely shared prosperity.

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

The LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is a division of the Office of Academic Affairs and provides support, referral and information to students, faculty and staff on issues and concerns related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more information, please visit