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Public Conversations is an ongoing series of community forums designed to convene Charlotte-area residents for discussion of timely and relevant topics. Our goal is to create comfortable settings that encourage a stimulating and enlightening exchange of ideas. By organizing these Public Conversations, WFAE intends to serve as a catalyst for community dialogue. Participants are encouraged to engage in conversation with a cross-section of community representatives, expert panelists, and with each other.

Audience Discussion At WFAE's Public Conversation

Gwendolyn Glenn
Audience members share their thougts and questions during the Charlotte Talks public conversation.

On July 11, WFAE hosted a public conversation where community members gathered to discuss Charlotte’s rising homicide count. This year there have been 49 homicides – putting the city on track to reach 95 murders this year. That’s a third more than last year. CMPD Chief Kerr Putney noted socioeconomic disparities in minority communities are playing significant roles in the violence.

“Eighty percent of the victims are black. It’s a problem that’s impacting us disproportionately. If we don’t wake up and start doing something about it, it’s going to get worse. Seventy-three percent of the suspects are black,” Putney said.

Audience members stood up to share their thoughts on the underlying causes of the violence. They addressed issues of economic mobility, incarceration policies, and the need for educational programs. Others shared advice, concerns, and personal anecdotes. The following are excerpts of the public conversation from the audience, and some panelists, at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.