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State of Black Community forum Saturday
Nine panelists to examine problems, solutions
Jonathan Mccollar Mug
VillageBuilders President Jonathan McCollar

The Bulloch County Branch of the NAACP and a new organization, VillageBuilders, together are hosting a public forum called the State of the Black Community, 11 a.m. Saturday in the Agape Worship Center, 810 W. Grady St.

“We’ve worked together to make this event possible,” said VillageBuilders President Jonathan McCollar.

About nine panelists are expected to take part, he said, and time will be allotted for question-and-answer exchanges with the audience.

 “We’re going to look at the relationship between African-Americans and law enforcement…,  poverty and unemployment in the African-American community…, issues as far as youth in the community…,” McCollar said, when asked what issues may be addressed.

The “school-to-prison pipeline,” he added, will be part of the discussion of challenges facing youth. This phrase refers to systemic and social factors that take young people from trouble in school into the criminal justice system.

But solutions as well as problems are part of Saturday’s envisioned agenda.

“We’re going to talk about entrepreneurship and job creation,” McCollar said.  “We’re going to talk about political activism as well.”

The forum is expected to last about two hours, he said. So participants should plan to have lunch before or after.

VillageBuilders, formed less than a year ago, is a volunteer group seeking to help other community service organizations with their activities.

“For example, if an organization needed help as far as doing voter registration, we would go out and help them do that,” McCollar said. “If Habitat for Humanity needed volunteers for a particular weekend, we could go out and do that. It’s really based on the request of the organization. We’re just some helping hands.”

Volunteers have also been doing door-to-door canvassing on residents’ concerns, and will use Saturday as the culmination of that effort, listening as the group seeks to shape its efforts to the goals of the community, he said.

There is an event Facebook page for State of the Black Community, and VillageBuilders has also publicized the event on its page.


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