City of Benton to host virtual Dialogues on Race

Local News

BENTON, Ark. — The City of Benton will be hosting three virtual Dialogues on Race that will begin July 30th at 6:30 p.m.

The purpose of the dialogue is to gain insight and understanding into people’s beliefs and to come to new understandings of the issue of race.

The first dialogue will be July 30th at 6:30 p.m. and it will be live-streamed on the City of Benton’s Facebook page.

The topic is “Law Enforcement and the Community.” The guiding question for the dialogue is “What measures can be taken to improve relationships between people of color and law enforcement.”

Panelists include:

  • Benton Mayor Tom Farmer
  • Benton Police Chief Scotty Hodges
  • Saline County Sheriff Rodney Wright
  • Alderwoman Jocelyn Cash, Benton City Council
  • Tavallis Stephens, Minister, Ralph Bunche Community
  • Chris Threatt, Minister, Johnson Street Church of Christ
  • Jamala Wade Thomas, SHRM Senior Certified HR Professional
  • John Michael Reed, Saline County Court Security Officer

It will be facilitated by local resident Robin Freeman. Members of “Common Ground Saline County” Peace, Justice, and Unity for All,” started meeting earlier in the summer to plan the event. The local group formed after people participated in a peaceful racial justice demonstration on June 5th. The group also hosted a virtual town hall event on June 16th to discuss and plan the dialogues.

A Dialogue on Race is a forum designed to get as many people from as many parts of the community to exchange information face-to-face, share personal stories and experiences, honestly express perspectives, clarify viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns.

The other dialogues planned include:

  • August 13th at 6:30 pm: Education and Equity
  • August 27th at 6:30 pm: Our Beloved Community

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