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FORUMS 2010 special to revisit city's racial issues



Published: Tue, November 9, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



Focus will be on possible solutions to racial issues, not rehashing topics.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The immediate aftermath of the first Youngstown 2010 forum on race told producers what should come next.

Audience members lingered 45 minutes after the September discussion to talk more about the many issues emerging from the hour-long telecast.

"We were taking the set down around them," said Jeremiah G. Blaylock, producer-director of the Youngstown 2010 specials for PBS Channels 45 & amp; 49. "There was so much good back and forth we decided it deserved another [telecast]. It just proves that there is a lot of interest in making 2010 work."

The PBS station has secured additional funding and plans four more Youngstown 2010 specials through next year. The first one revisits the issue of race.

"Race and Youngstown 2010: Vision or Division? Part 2" airs at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 on PBS 45 & amp; 49 from the Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University.

The forum will be open to the public. Jay Williams, director of the city Community Development Agency, will moderate.

Racial problems

The focus will be talk about possible solutions to racial issues, not rehashing topics raised previously.

About 125 people at the first forum talked about everything from the merits of a black mayor and press portrayals of blacks to economics and education.

Blaylock said he wants to advance the discussion. For example, people in banking and real estate will be invited to the forum. Black business was a topic the last time.

Williams said no amount of talk is going to fix racial problems. But he'd like to come away with at least a broad consensus within the audience on future approaches to race.

For example, Williams -- who is black -- said black city residents and leaders send subtle messages that they aren't interested in what white suburban residents have to say about redevelopment. That sends a bad message, he said.

Williams said it would be an accomplishment to reach a consensus that blacks and whites are willing to talk, understanding that blacks don't want to be marginalized or displaced as the city rebounds.

Local philanthropist Tony Lariccia of Boardman again is providing financial backing to produce the shows, Blaylock said. He declined to disclose the donation amount. Lariccia's contributions helped fund five previous shows focusing on Youngstown 2010 issues.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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