Talk about race before a crisis

On Tuesday about 40 people gathered at Racial Harmony’s ongoing public meetings about race and our institutions, with this dialogue focusing on the challenges and solutions regarding attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. There was free pizza.

That total of about 40 folks included several dedicated members of the Racial Harmony board and seven panelists. The agenda and the topics were constructive and positive in nature.

A public invitation was published in our Sunday digital and print editions. Recent research shows more than 240,000 different adults in the area seek out the BND for information on a regular basis. Racial Harmony also used other forums to spread word of the event, which was part of the monthly dinner meeting series on race in relation to police, education and other institutions. The meetings have been held since January.

So why only 40 folks? No huge controversy? No public fight? No alcohol? It was a busy Wednesday?

Too often it takes a storm for us to seek out positive and constructive approaches. Too often we wait to talk until after the screaming and tear gas drifts into the distance.

Shouldn’t we be working now to build connections, relationships and understanding? Shouldn’t we lay a strong foundation that can withstand a storm if one comes?

Did we mention there was free pizza?