The NAACP Louisiana State Conference announced Tuesday that it plans to hold a series of public meetings across the state to address social issues facing black communities, in part to prevent events such as those that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, from happening in Louisiana.

“The purpose of the town hall meetings is to solicit input from local citizens on what are the main issues that they would like to see addressed by the state of Louisiana,” the group said in a news release. “In other words, let’s discuss before ‘Ferguson, Missouri,’ happens in one of our communities.”

Protests erupted in Ferguson in early August after a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, sparking a national discussion about use of force by police officers, especially in minority communities.

While the discussions will touch on community policing, other topics addressed will include job training, minimum wage, health care and public education, the news release says.

The first meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans. Pastor Dwight Webster will lead the discussion, which will be held at the Christian Unity Baptist Church, 1700 Conti St.

The fourth meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in Baton Rouge. The meeting place will be the Construction and General Laborers’ Union Hall at 1233 Government St.

Other meetings are scheduled in Violet, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Alexandria and Monroe.

All meetings are open to the public.