Local group assesses Shreveport-Bossier's current racial climate - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Local group assesses Shreveport-Bossier's current racial climate

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More than 100 people filled the room, excited to join the conversation. More than 100 people filled the room, excited to join the conversation.

The latest Cheerios commercial featuring an inter-racial family and a Mexican-American boy singing the national anthem have ignited a debate about race relations on the Internet. The Caddo-Bossier League of Women voters is took the race discussion off of the Internet and placed it center stage at a community event called "A Conversation about Race" on Monday evening. 

Is the Shreveport-Bossier community united when it comes to race? That was the main question of the night. The overwhelming response from everyone in attendance was that races aren't completely united in this area.  

Held at the Louisiana Exhibit Museum, which is full of historic displays, the League of Women voters created history of their own with Monday's forum. For the first time, they initiated a conversation about race. "There are probably more attitudes in North Louisiana about race than there are people in North Louisiana but we really don't discuss it," said league president Carol Deville.
More than 100 people filled the room, excited to join the conversation. Ruth Bryant brought her sister hoping to hear a message of unity to share with grand kids. "We mix with people white and black and realized, people are people and I wanted to come and hear about what's being said," said attendee Ruth Bryant.

Applause erupted several times as eight panelists and a moderator helped guide the conversation about failing schools, segregated churches, and inter-racial relationships. "It's a subject that I think is long overdue in being discussed and race relations are more than an important issue," said attendee Bob Brown.

Survey results were read from local high school and college students. Many believe racism still exists. Latifah Haqq is a member of Interfaith, a group that promotes diverse church congregations. Haqq says talking about cultural diversity issues may be the first step toward a solution. "The issues aren't going away, but coming together in this kind of symposium may help," said Haqq.

The audience was asked to stand to grade the racial climate in the Shreveport Bossier community. Nobody gave the area an "A" grade. The majority gave the area a "C" rating and a handful gave the cities a failing grade.

Deville says it's a sign, more works needs to be done. Leaders of the League of Women voters say they hope to have more discussions like this one in the future.  

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