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Tallahassee hosts Race Relations Summit after summer of protests

Posted at 6:13 PM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 18:13:48-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After a summer of protests and calls for equality, Tallahassee is hosting a Race Relations Summit.

The discussion has included racial disparities between healthcare, education, and law enforcement.

On Thursday, conversations revolved around what to do to end those disparities. City leaders hope to find unity at the end of the summit.

"We are striving to come together, to be all together, and to move forward together," said Dianne Williams Cox, mayor pro tem of Tallahassee.

Panelists and the community came together to try to figure out how to move forward.

"There are so many people in the community who are able to provide that oral history, that lived experience," said Tim Wise, a keynote speaker. "So I think convening so people can talk about the experiences, good, bad, and ugly would be a good place to start."

Tallahassee commissioner Jeremy Matlow said this forum is a great time to discuss the protest arrests in the Capital City.

"As we go through the conversations today it's important to be introspective," Matlow said. "As communities across the country are trying to bring communities together, was that an effective way of doing it?"

Two of the three deputy chief's for the city are African-American. They believe the key is getting their shared perspectives to the African-American community and the law enforcement community, saying that while they encountered racism at other jobs, TPD takes it seriously.

"You educate, being a minority, on a lot of things they don't know, the misconceptions as an African-American," said TPD Deputy Chief Maurice Holmes. "Some of the things they may not have known."

"At any given time, if a citizen feels they're not being treated fairly by an officer, they can call a supervisor," said Tonja Smith, TPD Deputy Chief. "At the end of the day, we don't accept racism in any of our officers."

The city commission promises the summit won't be forgotten once it's over.

Commissioners will report back with ways to help bring the entire city together.