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Community Forum Focuses On Race, Racism And Reconciliation

The Capital City is confronting the local impacts of racial disparity in areas such as law enforcement, income and health care.

A conversation on racial inequality took most of Thursday, July 9 at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church's Family Life Center in Tallahassee. A major topic was economic disparity.
The church's pastor, the Reverend R.B. Holmes, welcomed the moderators and the audience of several dozen people.

"If I turn my eyes from racism, we're back here again next year at this time. But how do you go from race and racism to reconciliation?" he said by way of introduction.

Antonio Jefferson, Interim President of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce, saw income disparity as an especially acute local issue.

"We don't want to be about rhetoric. We want to move this from just talking about it to really doing something to change the trajectory of black and brown people in this community and it's an important thing. So then we don't have to spend as much resources on crime-related (matters); we don't have the homicide rate," he predicted

Also talked about at the forum were the topics of racial discrepancies in policing and health care.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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