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Black History Month’s Almost Over — What Should We Talk About?

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NBC 6
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There’s an interesting juxtaposition happening in South Florida during the last week of Black History Month.

On one hand, there are five town hall or panel discussions slated to occur, mostly regarding police brutality and police-community relations. On the other hand, it’s Black Tech Week — a week of events meant to celebrate tech innovators of color and encourage tech education among minority youth, organized byCode Fever, an organization that introduces STEM entrepreneurship to minorities.

So, at the conclusion of a month meant to honor the achievements of civil rights activists like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and inventors like George Washington Carver, we’ve got two things going on: a discussion of community woes and grievances, and a celebration of black innovation and prosperity.

Which side of the conversation should we join? Is it more important to discuss community issues with public figures and peers? Or should we instead discuss a community’s future with its brightest and most promising innovators?

Or can we not do one without doing the other? Take your pick:

BLACK TECH WEEK

On Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 6:00 p.m., you can pitch your business for a chance to win a $1,000 grant.

On Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., you can listen to a seminar on creativity hosted by speakers such as Grammy Award-winning rapper David Banner.

On Thursday, Feb. 26 at 2:15 p.m., you can learn about Africa’s tech climate and how to capitalize on it.

COMMUNITY DISCUSSIONS

On Tuesday, Feb. 24,from 7:00-9:30 p.m., the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum will host a community discussion on Stand Your Ground laws, police use of mug shots for target practice, and general police-community relations. Retired Miami-Dade Division Chief Jimmy Brown will moderate the discussion, and panelists include Florida State Senator Dwight Bullard (District 39) and Florida State Representative Shevrin Jones (District 101).

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 6:00 p.m., award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien will be lecturing at Florida International University as part of her Black In America Tour, touching on topics such as the fear of police and police-community relations. The discussion will be held at FIU's Biscayne Bay Campus.

On Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., the South Florida Black Journalists Association (SFBJA) will host a panel discussion on media coverage surrounding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.  Panelists include Miami Gardens police chief Stephen E. Johnson and Carolyn Guniss, executive editor of the Miami Times.

On Thursday, Feb. 26, from 1:00-4:00p.m., the Florida International University African & African Diaspora Studies Program will host a community roundtable discussion on police stereotyping and fatal police actions against unarmed African-Americans. Panelists include Ft. Lauderdale Chief of Police Franklin Adderly, Representative Shevrin Jones, and Rob Baker, executive director of the League of Young Voters.

On Thursday, Feb. 26, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the City of Hallandale Beach Police Department will host a panel discussion in order to foster open communication with residents and improve police-community relations. WTVJ NBC 6 anchor Willard Shepard will moderate the discussion. Panelists include Chief Dwayne Flournoy and Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein. The discussion will be held at the Hallandale Beach Cultural Center, 410 SE Third St., Hallandale Beach, FL, 33009.