The Charleston Forum is gearing up for its fourth annual event, again addressing the issue of race, this year amidst national outcry over instances of racial bias in American law enforcement.

The Charleston Forum is convening with the goal of continuing the conversation around the harms of longstanding racism at 2 p.m. June 14. This year's forum is being held online.

The focus right now is on protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But June 17 marks the five-year anniversary of the killings at Mother Emanuel AME Church downtown, when a white supremacist killed nine black worshippers during a Wednesday night Bible study.

“I am honored to be a part of this important discussion on racial issues facing Charleston and our state,” said Josie White, a forum panelist and teacher at the S.C. Whitmore online high school, in a press release. “These are confusing times, and we need to navigate how to move forward together. After all, we are all in this together.”

The event will draw from the results of the its tri-county survey on racial attitudes in the areas of education, economics, policing, the future of the past and building a platform for action.

“We have to learn, re-learn and continue learning how to approach racial issues within our community,” said The Charleston Forum’s Brian Duffy in a press release. “We strive for Charleston and South Carolina to be recognized as leaders in addressing racial issues and as a community that refuses to allow June 17, 2015 at Mother Emanuel to become just another historical marker.”

White will be among four other panelists: Bernard Powers with the College of Charleston, Geoffrey Alpert with the University of South Carolina, K.J. Kearney with Charleston County School District and Brian Hicks with The Post and Courier. John Simpkins, incoming president of MDC, a North Carolina-based community empowerment group, will be moderating the discussion.

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