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Black Community Leaders and City of Santa Monica to Host Virtual Forum on Advancing Anti-Racism on January 28

January 6, 2021 3:41 PM

Black Community Leaders and City of Santa Monica to Host Virtual Forum on Advancing Anti-Racism on January 28

The City of Santa Monica is collaborating with Black community leaders to host a virtual forum titled “Courageous Conversations: Why Black Lives Matter” on Thursday, January 28, 2021, from 6 - 8 p.m. The event will explore ways that community members can work together to advance anti-racism in Santa Monica.  

The virtual forum will feature a panel discussion with Los Angeles Times columnist Erika D. Smith and author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson. The pair will discuss their experiences covering social justice issues and perspectives about how change can be made within communities. The conversation will touch upon the history of the Black community in Santa Monica as well as the legacy of systemic racism that continues to affect the Black community. Forum attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions for the panelists during the event.   

Additionally, Black community leaders will formally introduce the public to the Black Agenda and the newly formed nonprofit, the Santa Monica Black Lives Association, with a mission aimed at promoting the wellbeing of the Black community and working toward a more just and equitable Santa Monica. The forum will also include a special spoken word performance by mental health entrepreneur, author and speaker Nakeya T. Fields. 

The panel discussion will be facilitated by longtime Santa Monica resident Karen S. Gunn, Ph.D., an advocate for social justice and founding member of the Santa Monica Black Agenda. "This forum provides a wonderful opportunity to drop some knowledge and share the vision of the Black Agenda,” said Dr. Gunn. “We will explore the urgent, undeniable necessity for reckoning with the systemic racial inequities in our city's history and currently. It is my hope that it will build awareness, empathy and expand the community's commitment to social justice and change." 

The forum will be opened by Barry Snell, a founding member of the Black Agenda, and Mayor Sue Himmelrich with remarks from Mayor Pro Tem Kristin McCowan. 

“I encourage every member of our community to jump on this opportunity to be part of an insightful dialogue that is steeped in our own painful Santa Monica history,” said Mayor Pro Tem McCowan. “Let’s continue the positive momentum for racial justice we unified around last summer and support the Santa Monica Black Lives Association as they, with the City, lead us forward.” 

View biographies and photos of Erika D. Smith, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Karen Gunn, Ph.D., and Nakeya T. Fields on Eventbrite.  

Please register and learn more at The forum will be livestreamed on CityTV Channel 16 and the City’s YouTube channel.  



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