Local leader to take part in ‘Trace the Line’ panel

Bennett;activism; civil unrest; guardians of the year; uptown observer; kenosha; kenosha journalist

KENOSHA ⏤ Kenoshan Porche Bennett-Bey will serve as a panelist at an event drawing Midwest leaders together to talk about moving forward in 2021.

The event, based around the new film “Trace the Line”, takes place on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. The virtual event is free and open to those who pre-register at www.wearebravebird.com/conversations.

Bennett-Bey will be joined by fellow Kenoshan S. R. Mills, CEO of Bear Development. Leaders from Chicago and Minneapolis will also sit on the panel.

Presentations include:

  • Angela Rose Myers, President of the Minneapolis NAACP ⏤ “Not Being a Bystander”
  • Joselynne Joy Gardner, Assistant Deputy General Counsel, Board of Education of the City of Chicago ⏤ “Black Excellence + Dealing with Trauma”
  • S.R. Mills, CEO of Bear Development, Kenosha ⏤ “Connecting Across Divides”

“The dual pandemic of COVID-19 and racial injustice laid bare wounds and weaknesses in our communities that did not fade when we left 2020 behind,” Bravebird, “Trace the Line” production company, said in a released statement.

“The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha sparked a new wave of social justice movements right here in the Midwest. But these tragic events transpired in places where we also too frequently hide under the cover of ‘nice’ to avoid the conversations we desperately need to have about racism, inequality and where we go from here.”

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Bennett-Bey to speak on ‘Moving Forward’

Following the three initial panels, Bennett-Bey will lead a Q&A portion with the theme “Moving Forward.”

Bennett-Bey, founder of United as One and the Moorish Outreach Coalition, knows intimately where Kenosha has been.

Not only has she been on the front lines of community activism since the killing of George Floyd and shooting of Jacob Blake, but also representing Kenosha on the national stage.

Time named her one of its “Guardians of the Year” for 2020. She has also spent months highlighting issues in Kenosha that need to be addressed.

However, in 2021, Bennett-Bey is digging deeper in her local focus.

Change in laws, schools important

The Observer reached out to Bennett-Bey Friday morning to get her thoughts on the upcoming panel.

Bennett-Bey made it clear the systems need to change in 2021.

“Most important in 2021 is to see change in laws and in the schools and more given to the community,” Bennett-Bey said.

An army veteran, Bennett-Bey has spoken out on issues facing veterans as well as Black and other communities of color.

The task has not been easy with the national spotlight on the city. The perception of the city on the national stage has also made the task difficult.

However, Bennett-Bey sees a benefit to the attention that many saw descend on the city with the seven shots fired into the back of Blake on Aug. 23, 2020.

“I don’t like how the attention came,” she said. “But now all we can do is flip that around and show them who we really are.”

Love not hate

While the area faced many challenges in 2020, and many difficult conversations and clashes between opposing sides, Bennett-Bey does not want 2021 to be another year of hate.

When asked what was important for the community to know and take to heart in 2021, Bennett-Bey made it clear that the community needs to focus on love.

“Change is coming,” she said. “And to love and not hate.”


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