"Little Rock Nine" Member Provides Keynote Address at Forums on Race Event
Over 520 people attended the third annual "It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race event," which took place on Tuesday in the Verizon Wireless Center's Grand Hall.
The event provides the opportunity for community members to engage in topics on race while enjoying the opportunity to learn about overlooked historical figures.
YWCA's Director of Racial Injustice Tiffnie Jackson said this year was the landmark year for the event.
" We have over 500 people that have been registered and we have a room that is almost 30 percent P.O.C.[people of color] so that is phenomenal," said Jackson.
The big draw of the event was a keynote address from the youngest member of the "Little Rock Nine," Carlotta Walls Lanier.
Lanier was one of nine students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957.
She shared her experiences, spoke on racial injustice, as well as what schools can do to better teach the history of people of color.
"We need to educate our young people, understand how this country was built,who participated in building this country, all walks of life have done that and the more they understand the more proud they can be of their background," said Lanier.
There was a table dialogue after the address. Each table had a facilitator with a talking stick, so people could have cordial conversations on race.
Jackson said there are multiple benefits to this idea.
"In Mankato we are about 92 percent white, so to hear what it's like to walk through Mankato as an Asian person or as a black person, really helps," said Jackson.
Jackson said that both parties in the discussion benefit, because it gives a voice to one group, while opening the opportunity to empathize for the other.
Jackson said she hopes events like this will implement much needed change.