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'Unity In Community' Dinner Aims To Spark Race Conversation On NW Side

By Alex Nitkin | January 16, 2017 5:24am
 A Martin Luther King mural at King College Prep in Kenwood
A Martin Luther King mural at King College Prep in Kenwood
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DNAinfo/Justin Breen

EDGEBROOK — Discussions of racial disparities in modern society, while common on college campuses and Downtown auditoriums, aren't broached as often in the city's predominantly white neighborhoods.

Using the Martin Luther King Day holiday as a jumping-off point, organizer Jac Charlier hopes to change that.

Charlier, whose past projects include helping launch the Fair Allocation in Runways coalition, is hosting the Northwest Side's first "Unity in Community" dinner Monday to "engage in conversations and look for solutions" around race relations, he said.

"It can be challenging and tricky for white people to talk about race, which is why we all need to come together without any assumptions of where people are coming from," Charlier said. "These conversations can be uncomfortable, but that's exactly why they're so important."

The event will begin by looking at survey data from the Pew Center showing how black and white Americans view the country differently. They'll lead into an open conversation, guided toward "action items" that the group can accomplish during the year.

"We, as a primarily white community, need to be in this conversation so we can be part of the solution going forward," Charlier said. "This is our opportunity as citizens to help build that better community for all of us."

The dinner costs $22 per plate and will be held at Wildwood Tavern, 6480 W. Touhy Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m. Monday. RSVP to jac.charlier@gmail.com or adelebach@earthlink.net.

A follow-up meeting will be held Feb. 16, Charlier said.

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