Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

2016 Top Stories: Police Shootings and Racial Mistrust

Written by Scott LaMar | Dec 28, 2016 3:00 AM

Last summer, the streets of America had the feel of late 1960s, when the nation was torn apart -- often violently -- by racial strife, assassinations and the Vietnam War.  The country was in the midst of great upheaval and change.

Almost 50 years later, one has to wonder has much has changed. 

The shootings of two black men -- one in Louisiana and another in Minnesota -- by police were the latest in a string of violent confrontations between police and African-American men over the past two years. With each one, the mistrust between the black community and law enforcement seems to get wider.

Then, on a July night, a sniper shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven others in Dallas -- just blocks from where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 -- another reminder of the volatile 1960s.

A sense of sadness, anger and fear has spread over the country and left many asking when does it all end, how do we stop the violence and bridge the gap between the races and especially blacks and police.

Smart Talk spoke with a panel of community leaders about the violence and bridging the gaps between people.  We re-visit this discussion with Ophelia Chambliss, First Vice President of the York NAACP;  Rev. Nathaniel Gadsden, Community Impact Manager for the United Way of the Capital Region; Dr. Jonathan Lee, an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Penn State Harrisburg;  Rob Martin, Director of Public Safety for Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County and Dr. Rita Shah, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Elizabethtown College.

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