Experts to Discuss Economic, Housing, Healthcare Disparities Among Communities of Color at LSU Reilly Center

March 19, 2021

BATON ROUGE—In the first of a two-part episode premiering Tuesday, March 23, at 3:30 p.m. CST, The Opportunity Gap: A Discussion About Healthcare, Economic and Housing Disparities in Communities of Color will examine past and present policy decisions intended to stifle the social progression of historically marginalized communities of color.

Roxanne Franklin Lorio, managing director of programs for E Pluribus Unum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to build a more just, inclusive and equitable South, will moderate the conversation. Lorio, a licensed social worker, attorney, and former strategic equity and research consultant, will focus the discussion on tax policies and banking practices that target minorities, housing discrimination and healthcare inequities. The panel will feature economists and public health experts who will explore the historical aspects of policies that have led to significant disparities among communities of color. 

“Throughout history, we’ve seen these systematic attempts to keep communities of color from attaining the same financial and health benefits as white Americans. We’re seeing the effects of these policies exacerbated today in the midst of the current pandemic and economic crisis,” said Jan Moller, executive director of the Louisiana Budget Project, which monitors and reports on state government spending and how it affects Louisiana’s low- to moderate-income families. “Communities of color continue to experience higher rates of COVID-19 deaths and greater financial hardship. This is not accidental; it's the result of centuries of implementing discriminatory policies.”

The discussion is the third of four in the series Racism: Dismantling the System’s second season hosted by the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs and its partners, 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.

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