YWCA helps bridge racial divide with ‘Dialogue on Race’


SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Current events across the country are bringing the subject of race relations back to the forefront here at home.

It’s a tough topic, but the YWCA in northwest Louisiana is raising the conversation.

From recent riots to peaceful protests, people nationwide are calling for change.

“People are shocked,” said Belinda Roberson, Ph.D., executive director of the organization. “People are angry and trying to figure out what to do.”

Roberson said the issue of racism never goes away.

“They hope that everything is OK and let’s just not discuss it and we’ll all be fine,” she said. “But, they don’t realize the issue is not gone.”

Roberson said the road to resolution is through words, not weapons.

“For those who don’t experience it, they need to be aware that it’s happening,” she said. “And, for those who do experience it, they need to have an understanding of why it’s happening.”

Roberson helps facilitate the YWCA’s Dialogue on Race. It’s a six-week session inviting people from diverse backgrounds to share their stories and perspectives.

“Until you sit down and have a conversation, you don’t realize what you don’t know and you don’t realize what other people don’t know,” she said.

Everyone has their own experiences with racism. Explaining those differences can help lead to greater understanding.

“We want to gain a community that’s willing to talk to each other about our issues, so that we can move forward and eliminate institutional racism,” Roberson said.

Participants help unite the community through confronting an uncomfortable topic.

Due to COVID-19, the Dialogue on Race sessions are now being offered virtually. You can sign up and find more information at ywcanwla.org.

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