Charleston Forum hosts second annual event on race-related issues


Both local and national leaders are working to find solutions on race-related issues in the second annual Charleston Forum.

The group formed three years ago after the Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in June 2015.

It addresses racial issues in the community.

The main focus of last year’s panel was putting everything out on the table from all different perspectives.

This year, the focus was specifically on education and the economy related directly to race.

“The connection between education and economy go hand-in-hand. They cannot be separated,” panelist Paris Dennard said during the discussion.

More than 600 people packed in the Charleston Music Hall to discuss solutions for these topics.

“Every perspective needs to be shared and heard for people to be able to be ready to move forward beyond the perspective they may have now,” Charleston Forum chairman Brian Duffy said.

The first panel discussed economic issues related to race.

“Racial disparity, economic disparity, those are issues that exist in our community that we can begin to address. Let’s stop putting a Band-Aid on all the things and let’s actually go through and deal with the real issues we face,” Charleston resident Christian King said.

“We have come a long way, but we have to acknowledge that we have a lot more to go,” panelist Cindy Ambrose said.

Throughout the discussion all roads led to education, the topic of the second panel.

“The state of education is essentially a state of emergency. We have a lot of work to do not just as teachers and students but as parents and community stakeholders, as well,” panelist Alana Simmons said. “I believe that if we go as a community, we can take the education system where it needs to be.”

“What can you do for your school? Do you go to the parent-teacher meetings? Do you know about the CS advanced placement programs? Do you know about the opportunities available?” panelist Lilyn Hester said. 

The Forum is centered around being an open and honest discussion about race in Charleston, a focus that King says is the first step towards progressing as a community.

“There is nothing that cannot be solved if we sit down as a group, a dedicated group, and work to change the story,” King said.

The Charleston Forum has not formally announced a third-annual event, however, the discussion is still open for everyone.

You can voice and comments or concerns online at any time at Organizers also plan to post videos of the final responses from all panelists on that same website.Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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