This week's discussion surrounding "Question Bridge: Black Males," held on Wednesday, October 22, focused on Mayor Lovely Warren and Judge Stephen Miller as leaders in the city -- specifically as leaders in the black community.
The first question, submitted through Facebook, asked if the Warren and Miller were comfortable with the impact their actions had on the community and the youth. Warren responded that she "was very comfortable leading this city," and was "trying to bridge the gap that exists within our community." Miller commented that he had a duty to leave a positive impact on the world, and that some days are better than others (in terms of how well he fulfilled that commitment). But knowing that others look up to him, motivates him to stay on point.
Another question, pulled from Facebook, asked why litigation was so important, to which Warren responded, "Politics is everything, and everything is politics." Understanding the role of politics in decision making, how it plays into law, and everything it impacts in this nation is crucial to the black community, Warren said. Those who are not active in government have little room to complain about the "system." Miller stressed the importance of voting, and knowing its history through the reconstruction era and the struggle to gain the very right -- and even the setbacks caused by Jim Crow laws. "You don't know how powerful political involvement is," Warren said.
The discussion then turned to community involvement: "In this city, if you have a problem, we probably have a program that can help you," Warren said, but the solution lies with individual commitments to improvement. Miller told the crowd to "encourage people to just love their children and consistently support them," as it would alleviate many issues in the community before they even manifest.
One woman in attendance asked if there was a kind of "one-stop-shop" for those interested in getting involved. Warren joking responded that all the programs, from libraries to rec centers, needed volunteers; Miller took a more serious approach: start with the one child you know personally and taking the time to encourage them and set a positive example.
Questions about intelligence and the fear of sounding smart were pitched before the discussion. Miller shared his childhood experience as a culture where it was "cool to be smart" and that allowed him to challenge himself and his peers to reach higher. His experience in the courtroom showed the opposite, though. Young black men were indeed very intelligent, especially having to navigate the difficult world they live in, however maintaining a "mask" often led to a reduction in education and increased criminal activity.
The next discussion is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, October 24 at 7 p.m. and will feature a RCTV Panel Discussion titled "Dialogies...toward Solutions."