By Julianne Smith-Frazer
On Thursday, April 11th, 2019 The Village Square concluded their second season of Local Color with a conversation titled Individuality and Identity Politics. The Local Color events are held at the Junction at Monroe, a quirky but inviting space on South Monroe street. Local Color is all about having conversations on tough topics with a panel of people who are both racially and ideologically diverse.
Tallahassee Reports spoke with The Village Square CEO, Liz Joyner, who stressed that the importance of Local Color is to “have a dynamic exchange and respectful conversation between people who disagree.”
Before the conversations took place TR talked with first-time Local Color panelist, Demetrius Minor, a black conservative man, which highlights how Local Color seeks to have a conversation that features many different perspectives. When asked why he decided to be a panelist, Minor stated, “I decided it’s important for people from various backgrounds to be able and to be willing to have tough cultural conversations.”
The panel consisted of five members all bringing something different to the table, and offering their insight and understandings on the subjects of Identity Politics and Intersectionality.
The moderator for the evening was, Jovita Woodrich, who is on The Village Square Board of Directors. Woodrich helped lead the conversation and was able to ask tough, thought-provoking questions. While it was evident that the panelists did differ on some subjects, there was no arguing or disrespect throughout the 90-minute panel. Everyone on the stage and in the audience seemed to uphold that this was a respectful conversation between colleagues, not a debate to change the ideals or values of others.
While Intersectionality and Identity Politics are two controversial subjects in the US today, the panelists listened to each other and, surprisingly, agreed with each other at certain points within the conversation.
Another panelist, Dara Miles Wilson, a black liberal woman, experienced a race-based negative encounter when she first moved to Tallahassee in 2017. However, after volunteering with The Village Square, and participating in Local Color her experience here has drastically changed for the better. She described how The Village Square and Local Color welcomed her like a member of a family and highlights how this event encourages the community to come together to have these conversations.
To view previous Local Color topics and to stay up to date when they resume for their third season in September follow, https://tlh.villagesquare.us/events/local-color/.