With the recent deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of white police officers, the conversation on race has been elevated to a level never before seen in the United States.
That’s the assessment of Franklin’s Kalinda Fisher, who is all about holding conversations on a variety of topics through the nonprofit she founded and launched in October 2018 called The Great Reset. Though the monthly talks have gone virtual since the coronavirus took hold, Fisher said they’re still just as critical in bringing people from all backgrounds together to delve deeply into whatever topic might be on the table.
It’s no wonder the current topic is race after the Memorial Day death by asphyxiation of Floyd and the ensuing unrest it has caused all across the country. The subject is titled "Race: Protests and Alliances."
“Every conversation is important, every conversation on race has always been important, but this just seems paramount,” Fisher said. “It seems we are literally at that moment, that precipice, where we need to do the right things.
“With the events of last week, it’s like 9/11, you can’t not talk about this. it’s your right, it’s your duty, it is what you ought to be doing.”
Fisher’s idea for The Great Reset came when she was participating in the Citizens’ Police Academy and did a ride-along with a Franklin Police officer. She and the officer had a lengthy conversation that Fisher gave a lot of thought to afterward.
“He and I had a five-hour conversation and we talked about everything, from parenting to politics,” Fisher said as she was set to host a Great Reset session last summer. “I walked away thinking this was a great conversation, and I learned so much.
“I was sad that we don’t have these kinds of conversations often enough. So I invited people to join me around my dining room table and have these conversations.”
Topics can range from education to health care, from voting to separation of church and state. June’s discussion was originally going to focus on coping with the pandemic, but the “I Can’t Breathe” movement shifted matters in another direction. The frequency of conversations also increased from monthly to twice-monthly
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin. The incident was caught on video and showed Chauvin strangling Floyd with his knee to his neck for several minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe
“You have no choice but to look and see the atrocities,” Fisher said. “Add that to our current administration, add that to the divisiveness in the country, add that to the lack of leadership and empathy — it is the perfect storm. We’re finally being told by our black and brown brothers and sisters, ‘we need you.’
“We’re not leaving the conversation of race. I’m going to try to get people comfortable with the fact that we can make mistakes with one another, we can say the wrong things, but we’re going to have to show each other grace while we learn to navigate one another’s language and words.”