King Day Observance Includes Town Hall On Racial Injustice

King Day Observance Includes Town Hall On Racial Injustice

8:59am Jan 19, 2015
Mayor Allen Joines (left) and other city officials unveil a plaque commemorating Winston-Salem's Martin Luther King Day Observance in January, 2014.
City of Winston-Salem

A Martin Luther King Day town hall meeting is scheduled on the campus of Winston-Salem State University to discuss improving relations between the police and the community.

Kami Simmons, the director of the Criminal Justice Program and a professor of law at Wake Forest University, is the town hall moderator. She says the forum is a chance for the community to have a dialogue with law enforcement leaders.

"We really want to talk about solutions," she says. "So there is a variety of panelists slated to participate. And I'll be asking them all about what we can do to solve this problem of police/community tension in our society."

Past King Day events have highlighted the case of Kalvin Michael Smith, who was convicted 20 years ago of an assault at the former Silk Plant Forest store. He has maintained his innocence. Despite years of protests and activism, Smith remains imprisoned and is not scheduled to be released until 2020.  

Simmons says King Day is good time to reflect on the issue of injustice.

"It will be interesting to think about Dr. King's legacy - how he would have viewed the problem - and also think about some of the strategies he used in the '60s. Are those same strategies still relevant?"

The town hall is scheduled for 11:45 at WSSU's Anderson Center. It’s the second of three such forums organized by the Minister’s Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity.

Support your
public radio station