Macon-Bibb County Mayor Pro Tem & District 9 Commissioner Al Tillman and Operations and Finance Committee Chair and District 8 Commissioner Virgil Watkins will hold a public forum on Zoom titled Race & Politics on Friday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m.
“People need to hear from leadership on how important it is to organize, and the public needs to hear we’re not afraid, ashamed, or shy about discussing these very important issues,” says Mayor Pro Tem Al Tillman. “We should not be hesitant to have a true conversation about race and politics, no matter how it makes us feel. We as a community and country can only change if we have the uncomfortable conversations without being hateful and angry, and by being honest with each other.”
“With so much going on in the world, we have a chance – and a responsibility – to change the conversation in Macon-Bibb County,” says Commissioner Virgil Watkins. “The systemic racism faced across the country and the ensuing protests asking for equality and justice can only be addresses and resolved if we talk through the issues openly and honestly.”
“In light of the ongoing protests after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, people have reached out saying they want to improve themselves and the community,” says Cleveland. “Being anti-racist means more than ridding yourself of racist attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. It means you’re actively fighting it as it manifests in your daily life.”
The forum will be moderated by Commissioner Tillman and Friends of Rosa Parks Square Board Chair Nancy Cleveland, and panelists will be Commissioner Watkins, Suzanne Minarcine, and Cameron Pennybacker.
No individual person or group may be happy overall with race relations in our community, but both parties need to do more in order to understand each other. More also needs to be done to move the community toward fully supporting anti-racist measures and policies in both theory and practice. Anyone interested in participating in this conversation should attend.
This discussion aims to move the needle on making sure racial equity policies and procedures are adopted into law and enforced in Macon-Bibb County so that it is a safe and welcoming community for all. This includes, but is not limited to, a recommendation to pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Campaign Zero’s recent launch of 8 Can’t Wait, a database that tracks major cities’ employment of eight policies that are proven to curtail police violence.