The Black Lives Matter Symposium touched on a variety of subjects aimed at children, teens and adults during the five days of sessions from July 6-10 at New Sunlight Baptist Church.
The Rev. Dale Flowers said the goal of the symposium was to address “the quality of life in the Baton Rouge community regarding all age groups, genders and culture” and “to devise a plan to improve the quality of life in our community where we reside, work and live.”
Several presenters shared valuable information ranging from crime, poverty, violence, racism, drugs, education and health care issues. At the end of each session, there were drawings for door prizes/giveaways, including bikes, gift cards from local businesses and televisions. Each session ended with a meal.
On July 6, the topics discussed included adjudicated property, increase in crime, plighted areas and first-time home ownership. Attorney Winston Riddick and nun Judith Brun, of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, discussed choices and decision-making tips and techniques with the teenagers in attendance. The younger children heard from the Southern University and LSU AgCenter.
Health care was the subject July 7, with discussion of the closure of the Mid-City Baton Rouge General Hospital Emergency Room. Other presentations involved HIV/AIDS and Clerk of Court-issued identification cards and fingerprinting. Terrell Johnson, African-American world history professor from Southern, also gave a dynamic presentation.
In one session, the Baton Rouge Police Department’s Riley Harbor focused on crime prevention, proactive and reactive measures, Neighborhood Watch programs and civic organizations.
The July 8 presentation included Tanesha Craig, a fitness instructor, talking about healthy diets and leading the group in an exercise class.
On July 9, the topic was education. East Baton Rouge School Board member Evelyn Ware Jackson and Liz Frischert discussed assessment and accountability, the importance of education and the Common Core program.
Marcus Coleman, dean of students at Southern, offered ideas and pointers on preparing for college.
Information also was provided about academic readiness for the upcoming school year, and Norma Veal gave tips on fire safety. A representative from the Baton Rouge Constable’s Office talked about the D.A.R.E. program.
The July 10 culminating session focused on developing a plan of action, how churches can get involved, basically, “Where Do We Go From Here?”
Constable Major Reginald Brown provided the bike giveaways and gift cards came from the Game Shop, Piccadilly Cafeteria and other local businesses.