Education systems and community partners address race and equity issues

11 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago May 03, 2016 May 3, 2016 Tuesday, May 03 2016 Tuesday, May 03, 2016 8:44:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
By: James Bender, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Education systems along with community partners are trying to find solutions to race and equity issues in the community.

The City of Columbia, University of Missouri, Columbia Public Schools, along with community partners such as Worley Street Roundtable and Heart of Missouri United Way held a public forum on Tuesday discussing the race and social equity issues in the community.

The forum, which was open to the public, was held in Hickman High School’s gymnasium.

Being the first forum between the groups and organizations along with the public, the meeting was expected to serve as a catalyst for the alliance.

“So I think this is a good starting point, for just kind of creating the conversation, but not letting that conversation end. That’s the key, getting the people in the room and continuing the conversation as time goes on,” city of Columbia public communications specialist Sara Humm said.

"Facing the lowest unemployment rate, while also having the highest poverty rate Columbia has ever seen, the community felt they should react," City Manager Mike Matthes said.

Supervisor of Student and Family Advocacy for Columbia Public schools Carla London said, “This is the first of many forums and really the goal is to bring people from the community and the schools and community together so that we can continue to address some of the issues that we’re all addressing in Columbia.”

London was one the speakers of the forum.

The community leaders and the education systems are forming plans so the next generation won’t face the same issues.

"It does take a village. I believe that this event, it will allow a village to begin tonight and then to flourish and grow in the future,” Dr. Adrian Clifton, President and Co-founder of Worley Street Roundtable, said.

With many racial issues happening on MU’s campus and across the country, the city of Columbia expects to make a difference.

“People who might be skeptical, I would say give us time, because you know things evolve over time and things don’t happen over night so we need time to make sure we are taking steps in the right direction,” Humm said.

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