Often, people shy away from conversations about race because they can be a difficult conversations to have.  Opinion polls show a growing divide when it comes to issues of race in this country. Some surveys show that America’s racial climate is worst now than it was when the country’s first black president took office almost seven years ago!  This growing separation is a strong indicator that conversations about race are needed more now than ever before!   In an effort to help facilitate these conversations Another View, along with the Virginia Wesleyan College Center for Religious Studies and the Fort Monroe Foundation are partnering to launch a new community initiative called “Race: Let’s Talk About It!”  Not only will Another View dedicate quarterly broadcasts for open conversations about race, but will help to facilitate community town halls about various topics, assisted by a group of panelists to help guide the discussions.   They are: Michele Woods-Jones of the Hampton Unity Commission, Jonathan Zur from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Hampton University Professor Eric Claville and Virginia Wesleyan Professor Mavel Velasco.  Another View host and executive producer, Barbara Hamm Lee will moderate the discussions.

The first “Race: Let’s Talk About It” community forum will be held at Virginia Wesleyan College on Saturday, September 26th during the 10th annual “One Love” Festival.   The town hall will begin at 2p in the Boyd Dining Center with a video presentation looking the events in South Carolina that ended with the confederate flag coming down.   The conversation will begin with the question:  “The flag is down, now what?”  There will be four town halls in all, some on the Southside, and some on the  Peninsula at Fort Monroe.

“When you think about the history of race in America, it is not a love story.  It is not an easy story.  It’s a painful story,”   said panelist Michele Woods-Jones.  “These are very difficult topics and they’re multi-dimensional. Often when we talk about race, we talk about it without the understanding that we experience it through a wide variety of different lenses, based upon our experiences,” she added.  Woods-jones goes on to say that, “Not discussing this problem is destroying us.  Every child who is left behind is a loss to this country.   The deficit models in which we communicate, get in our way of being truly the best we can be in all of the various arenas.”

Throughout Another View’s seven year history, the staff has worked diligently to provide and open and safe environment for productive conversations about our differences.  We believe and listener feedback confirms that such conversations are key to developing a better understanding of one another.   The four community conversations are yet another way to allow these needed talks to continue.  In November, the discussion will center on “White Privilege,” in February, “Race and Politics” and in April, “Race and Religion.”   The idea is that knowledge brings about understanding which results in a better environment for everyone.  We believe that the “Race: Let’s Talk About it” can start a chain reaction to bring about change.  “I believe if we can solve the race problem here in America, we can solve the race problem around the world,” Eric Claville said.

Click to RSVP for this insightful discussion.

 

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