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    Dialogue necessary to move beyond fear

    The reactions to the Department of Justice’s decision to not charge police in the shooting death of Alton Sterling have divided largely along racial lines. Baton Rouge like many cities was racially segregated at its founding.Although the city has undergone “desegregation,” in the last several decades clear racial divisions exist most vividly with Florida Blvd as the racial dividing line.
    Crump

    Crump

    Many institutions and individuals have either ignored their roles in this continued division or looked for ways to explain it or justify an unacceptable situation.Often people wonder what difference talking about these racial divisions can do to make real lasting positive change. Given our name, we obviously believe that talk/dialogue does change things. It matters though what kind of talking it is. Dialogue done badly likely does more harm than good. We work hard at developing a dialogue that is functional and well-fitted to the difficult conversation of race. One thing we do know is that the dialogue must take place outside of a rush to act or in the mist of highly charged, anxiety filled times. In those times, myths and misunderstandings and old unaddressed issues are bursting through, and the dialogue will be ill-informed.
    Webster states, dialogue “seeks understanding and harmony.” In the educational process we use called the Dialogue On Race Series, we stress understanding; which may or may not lead to harmony.  However better understanding has a powerful impact that can lead to changes; changes that benefit everyone.The attempts to address racism in Baton Rouge have not kept pace with the growing problem.

    The fear of explosion and violence is a symptom that says we all know something is wrong. Instead of looking for ways to explain that “wrong,” we need to look for ways to understand the problem.  What has caused the problem and why have we let it go on so long? We also need to ask why so many have stayed quiet, avoided it, or believed that the problem of race has gone.

    Yes we need dialogue but we need dialogue done well. Dialogue on Race Louisiana’s core program, the Dialogue on race series is not just any conversation. The magic of the Dialogue on Race Series is that it is structured, facilitated, backed with factual information. It is formatted to set a safe environment for open, honest, brave conversation.
    The DOR Series is a highly specialized form of discussion that imposes rigorous discipline on the participants.  The series begins by defining the terms used. You have to have a common understanding of the terms being used.
    When dialogue is done well, the results can be extraordinary; long-standing stereotypes can be dissolved, mistrust can be overcome, mutual understanding achieved, vision shaped, grounded in shared purpose, new common ground discovered, new perspectives and insights gained, bonds of community strengthened.
    When Baton Rouge solves institutional racism, the sharp line of racial division will end. Also protest will not be seen as something to fear, instead it will be recognized as it is meant to be; a tool of a free society.

    By Maxine Crump 

    CEO Dialogue on Race Louisiana
    Baton Rouge

    ONLINE: http://dialogueonracelouisiana.org
    https://www.facebook.com/DialogueOnRaceLouisiana

     

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    Crump to keynote national asset building conference

    The Southern Regional Asset Building Coalition (SRABC) will hold its eighth annual conference Oct. 8-9 in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Beau Rivage Resort. The featured keynote speaker is Maxine Crump, the executive director of Dialogue on Race Louisiana.

    Crump made history when she became the first Black woman to live in a residence hall on LSU’s campus, then again in 1975 by becoming Baton Rouge’s WAFB Channel-9 News’ first Black reporter. She’s been inspiring others to make history ever since, through her work in television, radio, humanitarian efforts and community development. She also plays an important role in working to eliminate race discrimination in Baton Rouge with the  Dialogue on Race Louisiana, which aims to educate the community on ways to make their future free from “a vivid racial divide that still exists in Louisiana.” In February earlier this year, she took the TEDxLSU stage with her message “Using Talk to Create Action”.

    “The public is especially invited to join this dynamic network at the 8th annual conference and become engaged in making concrete steps to ensure economic inclusion and wealth building for all,” said Gena McClendon, SRABC project director.

    Since 2007, the SRABC conference has brought together 250 advocates and experts from 18 states to collaborate on specific strategies and efforts that increase financial security for communities across the nation.

    With special emphasis on defining policies and programs that support low-income families and communities, this year’s conference provides participants with provide opportunities to collaborate utilizing the latest research and innovative ways to assist low- to moderate-income families in building wealth.

    SRABC is a partnership of state coalitions dedicated to the advocating for and the development of asset-building policies and programs for low-income families and rural communities.

    ONLINE: www.srabcoalition.org

     

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