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Rochester organizations lead conversation surrounding Black history

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- As February comes to a close -- so does Black History Month. While the month honoring Black heritage and culture may technically end Sunday, there's an effort in Rochester to keep the conversation going.

Barbershop Talk South Minnesota and Rochester For Justice hosted a virtual event on Facebook Saturday, titled "History Through a White Lens."

Organizers say that Black history should not be confined to one month. The event featured speakers from both white and Black backgrounds, including several professors.

One Rochester professor believes, even within Black History Month, the subject is taught without addressing racism, or properly including the Black experience. The panel agrees that this could be achieved better through the words of Black educators.

"In my generation, how the civil rights was taught was you would see a video with police dogs, fire hoses and the Klan," Rochester Community and Technical College History Professor Chad Israelson said. "Then, you could feel pretty good about yourself and think, 'that's not me.' For a lot of people in roughly my generation, we have had to come to terms with the non-racist versus anti racist thing."

The panel also discussed the need for more police officers of color in the Med City.

Event moderator and Rochester For Justice president, Kamau Wilkins, spoke about a lack of Black leaders in southern Minnesota. He says that can be an area where change can start.

Wilkins has worked with high school student in the school and athletics setting.

To watch the conversation in it's entirety, click here.

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