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Conversations on racial injustice continue in Palm Beach County

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 18:34:58-04

From police chiefs, school board members and commissioners, Wednesday Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21), Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL-20) held a virtual discussion on racial injustice.

At Coleman Park in the northend of West Palm Beach a group of young black men say the killing of George Floyd only peeled back one layer of racial injustice.

Ricky Aiken, the founder of Inner City Innovators and his ‘Hope Dealers’, say now is the time to talk about the root of racial inequities.

WPTV’s Sabirah Rayford spoke with the group of young men about how they’re responding to the aftermath of Floyd’s death. Many say they are carrying an unbearable weight.

When asked how many of them have seen violence up close all of them raised their hands.

“You know when I started out it seemed like I was the lone voice from the community speaking out against the madness,” Aiken said.

Nearly all of the men say they have been either shot or shot at.

“In order to get a real feel about the community you have to come into the community,” Norman Austin, Program Director of Inner City Innovators said.

When asked about their interactions with law enforcement five out of the six men at the park said they’ve had a negative interaction with law enforcement at some point in their lives.

That’s just a fraction of the experiences these young black men face in their day to day lives. Even still they call themselves ’Hope Dealers.’

“Put an end to poverty, put an end to gang violence, gun violence, stuff like that,” one group member said.

Palm Beach County elected leaders brained stormed ways to combat systemic racism, Wednesday on Zoom.

“The conversations about how we pursue justice and full racial equity and inclusion and how we do that together, black and white together is not something that will end with the passage of a new law,” Rep. Ted Deutch said.

“We need to understand that all of our systems are built on this foundation of racial disparities. It’s going be really hard to do it but hopefully we can,” said Dr. Debra Robinson, Palm Beach County School Board Member.

“We need people linking arms with us as we do the work on the ground,” Aiken said.