Religious and community leaders gathered Monday to to talk about bridging racial divides in America.
The forum was part of a series of events held at the King Center in Atlanta on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Panelists and attendees admitted, although we’ve come far, there’s more progress to be made. Panelists included Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Pastor Jentezen Franklin and DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, among others. The conversations also included Adam Cook of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and former KKK member Scott Shepherd.
Shepherd started off by apologizing to Dr. Bernice King and the King family.
“I learned from other people but there’s no excuse. I did it anyway. I extend my apologies to everyone,” Shepherd said of his past actions and beliefs as a Klansman.
In recent years, some attendees agree race relations have grown tense, spurred by officer-involved shootings and differences in politics. They say technology has brought people together but also torn groups apart.
“We have to start addressing the fact that privilege, the effects of race and the lack of the ability to communicate have really stifled a generation,” said social entrepreneur Daniel Blackman.
“We are constantly stuck on our phones or technology and everything else instead of sitting down with someone having a cup of tea,” added Cook.
King told the crowd there will be more racial divide discussions in the coming months.
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