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Rochester group conducts “Hard Conversations” on race

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- While the main focus following the death of George Floyd has been on police reform, there's also the underlying issue of race relations in communities across the country.

On Tuesday evening the Rochester organization "Cradle 2 Career" hoped to move that discussion forward in what it called "Hard Conversations: let's talk about race. Now."

James Robertson, one of the event's speakers, and a motivational speaker for Coach Rob's Motivations, believes having tough conversations can be a breakthrough for positive solutions.

"If no one's talking then that means nothing is changing. If no one is trying to create the conversation and space where people feel safe to be able to be vulnerable and to really express what is they're feeling, it makes it hard to build the community and that is what this is about," he said.

The conversation involved participants in-person and online.

Gina Robertson, James's wife, read through the online questions:

"As you think about the various community systems here in Olmsted County where is the most friction?"

"What system is the most offensive for people of color?"

Tough questions that some have trouble asking.

Chad Campbell, another speaker for the event, shared a concern some people have when discussing the topic of race.

"I know a lot of White people who would like to have a conversation about race but are terrified to do it. Because they don't know how, they don't want to be wrong. They don't want to hurt somebody's feelings. They don't want to have their own feelings hurt." Campbell said.

The group is hoping the dialogue continues in the Med City.

"Once we begin to really have a conversation, then we can really discuss what's wrong. We can really talk about what's happening. And really work towards some real solutions," Robertson said.

Solutions that might start in schools.

"We didn't know how to approach people of color until we moved here, so if, there is something we can do in the schools or different families, on how to have respect for or how to approach each other. I think that would go very far, and we'll be able to have those conversations as the kids grow up," Gina said.

KaMaria Braye

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