The Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism (SCODR) has hired Robert Blackwell as the project coordinator for its antiracism work.

Blackwell worked for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for 25 years, retiring in 2021. He was appointed chief of the Office of Racial Equity Practice in 2012, leading the department’s efforts to address and eliminate racial disparities and disproportionality in the Illinois Child Welfare System.

“Bob’s commitment to racial equity and experience in leading that effort will accelerate the work of SCODR in the community,” said Rev. Dr. Wes McNeese, a member of the group’s steering committee.

The Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism formed as an outgrowth of a series of workshops held in Springfield and facilitated by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training.  Crossroads is a national organization that works to dismantle systemic racism and build antiracist multicultural diversity within organizations and communities. Originally invited by the Springfield-based Dominican Sisters in 2004, Crossroads’ trainers began offering community-wide workshops in 2009.  From interested persons who had participated in these workshops, a leadership team was formed in January 2011.

Drawing on SCODR’s commitment to work with institutions to dismantle systemic racism and build healthy communities, Sr. Marcelline Koch noted, “I am excited for what Bob’s leadership and his community connections will help SCODR to achieve. This represents a very positive contribution to the Springfield-area community.”