news 3 days ago

Online conversation on race set for Sunday

Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa. — Vicki Terwilliger Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.

Aug. 01-- Aug. 1--If you've felt discrimination or have ever shared a meme on social media about your position on race protests, the Confederate flag or on removing statues, you may want to participate in an online conversation on Sunday.

Leah Zerbe, of Potter's Farm in Pine Grove, is hosting the virtual discussion, "Community Conversation on Race, Flags & Freedom," from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Zoom platform.

"Just to stress, this is an open conversation and we want all viewpoints to share where they're coming from. Many people are feeling discriminated against and misrepresented in Schuylkill County," Zerbe said.

Facebook feeds are filled with images depicting messages like Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter, and most of them are followed with a slew of fiery posts and people calling each other names or reinforcing our own viewpoints, she said.

"We often log off feeling angry, frustrated and nothing is accomplished. In fact, we may be further divided because of social media," she said.

Zerbe continued, "It's time to have a conversation, in the open, not hidden behind a keyboard or in the anonymous Thunder/Enlightning section of the paper. We want folks from every perspective to engage in meaningful dialogue. If people sit down face-to-face, even virtually, and listen to each other, it might lead to better understanding of where we're all coming from."

She will be using social media meme images as conversation starters.

To join the online, open discussion, participants must register at: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocOuurTotH9xGJy60kLzIF1A4ySL5AWfU and can visit the event's Facebook page for more information.

"If you've ever called someone a racist, this event is for you. If someone ever accused you of being racist, this event is for you. Whether you're concerned about the number of Confederate flags in Schuylkill County or don't understand what the big deal is about them, this conversation is for you," Zerbe said.

Organizers are not recording the event or opening it up to the press because they want people to feel comfortable sharing their opinions.

Contact the writer: vterwilliger@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6007

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