Leaders, activists share experiences with racism around Coulee Region during virtual roundtable

Noble Horvath

October 1, 2020 10:35 PM Mal Meyer Posted: October 1, 2020 10:35 PM Updated: October 2, 2020 8:16 AM LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– Local leaders and activists are continuing the conversation on racism in our community. The Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council and Waking Up White Collaborative held a […]

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– Local leaders and activists are continuing the conversation on racism in our community.

The Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council and Waking Up White Collaborative held a roundtable discussion Thursday night. Panelists talked about how they’ve experienced racism and ways to build a healthier multicultural community.

More than 100 people took part during the virtual event. Anyone could sign up for the discussion, but there was a $7 fee.

Some talked about how they felt unwelcomed seeing certain political signs posted by friends or neighbors. One of the speakers talked about feeling unsafe after seeing confederate flags flown off of trucks around La Crosse.

“It made me nervous when I see those trucks [that are] really loud and with the flag go by. It made me afraid to look at the drivers and the people in there because they’re white people and I didn’t want them to look at me badly or look at me with hate,” said Dr. Bee Lo, one of the panelists.

The speakers talked to predominantly white audience members about what they can do to be anti-racist. That means actively working to dismantle systemic racism in education, health disparities, housing and policing.

The hope was that audience members would just listen to what the speakers had to say.

“If we want to engage with racial justice work, we have to center the voices and the feelings of the people who are most impacted by racism. And so this was very intentional. I know it’s a long time to just sit and listen, and yet, we are not listening enough,” said Amanda Goodenough, one of the panelists leading the discussion.

The next community townhall about systemic racism will take place on Oct. 14. It will cover issues surrounding housing and homelessness. More details are expected to be released soon.

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