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Edward Waters College To Host Community Conversation On Racial Inequality

Zachary Faison, President and CEO of EWC.
Edward Waters College
Zachary Faison, President and CEO of EWC.

Jacksonville’s historically black Edward Waters College will host an event on Thursday to discuss the deaths of African Americans in police custody and efforts to address racial inequality.

The event, which is being called “Where Do We Go From Here? A Community Conversation Towards Action,” is part ofStay Woke: The Edward Waters College President’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

The speaker series started in the fall of 2018 and has featured prominent national figures like rapper and activist Killer Mike; Charlamagne Tha God, co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show “The Breakfast Club;” and Tamika Mallory, co-president of the 2019 National Women’s March, among many others.

Thursday’s event will be hosted by Zachary Faison, President and CEO of EWC, and moderated by Jacksonville native Dawn Lopez, co-anchor of Action News This Morning and Action News Jax at Noon.

“We really think this is a real crossroads, if you will, in terms of where we go in our Jacksonville community, from a racial perspective in terms of race relations, as well as where we go regionally and throughout the country,” Faison said.

According to a Washington Post analysis, while about half of the people who are shot and killed by police are white, the rate at which black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans. Of those black Americans who are killed by police, the vast majority are men.

Credit The Washington Post
The Washington Post

“We certainly don't want to forget the African American women that have been victimized or have lost their lives in police custody, but when you kind of do the math it's about 96% of those [African Americans] that have lost their lives have been African American men,” said Faison, explaining the decision to have the event focus on challenges facing African-American men

“When I think of solutions, what I want to be able to achieve, more than anything, is for our students, particularly young African American men that are unsure about how to navigate engagements with law enforcement, we need to hear from them. We need to hear their fears, hear their anxieties. We need to be able to acknowledge them and then hopefully give them some meaningful solutions for how they navigate these spaces,” Faison said.

The panel for Thursday’s event will include Senior Bishop of the 11th District of the A.M.E. Church, Presiding Prelate Bishop Adam J. Richardson, Jr.; Nathaniel Glover, EWC President Emeritus and retired Jacksonville Sheriff; Tommy Curry, award-winning author Tommy J. Curry, Personal Chair (Distinguished Professor) of Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies at the University of Edinburgh; Sam Newby, Vice President-Designee, Jacksonville City Council; Charles E. Moreland, Director of Community & International Affairs Office of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry; Richard Danford, President, Jacksonville Urban League; author and historian Rodney Hurst; Darnell Smith, President of the North Florida Region of Florida Blue; Mandrake T. Miller, EWC Vice President for Student Success and Engagement; Kenneth Davis, EWC Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice;  Naim Brown, President of the NAACP EWC Chapter; and Chauncey Whaley, Vice President of the NAACP EWC Chapter.

The event will be live streamed on the WJCT Facebook page at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 11.

To submit questions to the panel, email

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.