The Charleston Forum addresses race relations on eve of Emanuel AME shooting anniversary


On the eve of the second anniversary of the Mother Emanuel tragedy, people are turning their eyes towards reconciliation and improving race relations.

Friday night hundreds of people gathered inside the Charleston Music Hall for The Charleston Forum. The event started at 5 p.m. and brought together speakers from all across the country, representing different groups and different perspectives.

The panel tackled tough issues dealing with race related to education, policing, health care and much more. The panel was diverse, including leaders from Black Lives Matter to local, state and national leaders.

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Event organizers brought the different leaders together to talk and listen to each other, while educating the audience.

"Until they have a chance to open and listen to a difference perspective and have their own heard, then they are not willing to change a view or to move forward or reach a compromise," chairman of The Charleston Forum Brian Duffy said. "So, we are trying to get that baseline established."

It's no coincidence the forum is happened in Charleston on the eve of the Mother Emanuel tragedy.

"It's important in the aftermath of this horrific event to focus on what those people who died stood for," Senator Marlon E. Kimpson said.

Sen. Kimpson said the event was about more than talking, but action and passing legislation that creates a level playing field for everyone.

"I want those same people who come in here to pray, to roll up their sleeves and be active and visible when we start moving legislation that matters particularly to people of color," Kimpson said.

The forum lasted five hours at the Charleston Music Hall. But the sharing of ideas doesn't end here.

"We are creating an online forum in coming months where we will invite people to submit their own videos or get someone else who is a leader and who did not have a chance to get on one of the panels to submit a video that we will be able to publish and to share and be an online forum for research nationwide," Duffy said.

Duffy is hoping those videos and today's forum will help identify problems and propose solutions.

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