Durham forum focuses on race relations, climate
Posted April 20
Updated April 24
Durham, N.C. — Race relations in Durham took center stage Thursday night at a forum hosted by a network of non-profits.
On this stage, speakers of diverse backgrounds had a candid conversation about the racial climate in Durham.
"What I wanted to say is why it's important to talk about it from a white perspective," one panelist said.
They shared personal experiences. Some said they see bias in policing and school suspensions. One woman said some black people don't feel welcome in the city they built.
"Our people do not even feel comfortable going downtown on Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights without being racially profiled," panelist Camryn Smith said.
The forum was hosted by a group of non-profits, called the ReCity Network.
For a network that serves Durham -- Executive Director Rob Shields says it's impossible to ignore that race plays a factor in so many of the problems they're trying to solve.
"It's non-profits coming together, all with a target audience. Meaning they're all serving Durham but they're all doing unique things," Shields said. "It just makes send that we would come together and get to learn from each other's perspectives, really do a deep dive on the systemic issues that are root causes for a lot of the problems we see in our community right now."
Panelists hope tonight's conversation will help shape the mindset of Durham, as it continues to change, and grow.
"It's kind of like one of those things, if you don't learn from the past, you have the tendency to repeat it," panelist Perry Tankard, II said.
The event was a sold-out event tonight. The ReCity Network plans to keep encouraging conversations in the future.