The City of Brookhaven’s Social Justice, Race, and Equity Commission (SJREC) hosted a series of Conversations on Racial Equity on Aug. 9. Brookhaven community members dined together while engaging in conversations that confronted the issues of racial injustice and explored how to work toward true equity.
Oglethorpe alumna Kiana Perkins ’21, a Brookhaven communications intern, played a key role in planning the civic dinners.
“My biggest project within the internship has been organizing the civic dinners,” said Perkins, who majored in politics. “I worked with numerous community organizations to ensure their voices were included in the conversations. I made every piece of promotional materials you saw for the event… I was responsible for getting the word out via social media and I served as the point person.”
Hosted at Arnette’s Chop Shop, Petite Violette, EATaliano Kitchen, Villa Christina and El Potro, the dinners gave attendees the opportunity to share their stories, build connections, and inform the work of the SJREC.
“The event went really well! People of all backgrounds came out willing to learn and engage in what can often be a difficult conversation to have,” Perkins reflected. “These conversations are integral not only to the commission, but for residents of the city as well. I learned a lot about what citizens of Brookhaven were experiencing and, as I continue this work, this will help me learn how to better serve them.”
Perkins participated in the conversations at the EATaliano Kitchen location, along with Oglethorpe’s Makayla Adams ’22, Amin Amedie ’21 and Margaret Light ’20. As senior class presidents for their respective classes, Perkins and Adams plan to collaborate on a civic dinner this fall for the Class of 2022.
Oglethorpe Dean of Students Dr. Kyle R. Williams also serves on the Social Justice and Racial Equity Commission and sits on the Hiring and Retention Subcommittee, which is focused on reviewing and improving Brookhaven’s hiring and retention practices and policies for city employees.
Williams served as a conversation facilitator for the civic dinner event.
“As a participant, it was great to discuss ways in which I have been impacted throughout my life as a cis-Black male and to engage with others,” he said. “As a facilitator, it was great to do the same thing, but to have the ability to also lead the conversation down various paths based on where the participant conversation went.”