`Beer Summit' promotes dialogue on racial issues

Blog Image 621877 - CLARK
Participants engaged in dialogue at last year's "Beer Summit".

To promote a lively discussion of race relations in Philadelphia and America, a nonprofit group is hosting it's second annual "Beer Summit".

On Friday, Global Citizen, a nonprofit group dedicated to civic engagement and community volunteering, is hosting the event, free and open to the public, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mace's Crossing, a lounge at 1714 Cherry Streets in Center City.

"We’re doing this because there is an obvious continuation in our nation of divisiveness among people of different backgrounds and experiences," said Todd Bernstein, president of Global Citizen, which is organizing the gathering. "While we certainly made fundamental progress through the years through legal remedies, we still have a chasm where people see many things differently."

The arrest of black scholar and Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. last July in his Cambridge, Mass., home by a white police officer investigating a report of two men believed to be forcibly entering a home, sparked a renewed discussion of race relations in America. The incident spurred President Obama to host a "Beer Summit" at the White House Rose Garden, attended by Gates, the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, and Vice President Biden.

Bernstein, the founder of the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service / MLK365, said last years' summit drew a diverse crowd from throughout Philadelphia.

"We're trying to pull people together from all neighborhoods in the city", said Bernstein. He said the event will begin with an hour of free discussion and that he and another panalist will facilitate a group discussion on "how we can all overcome the barriers that threaten to divide us."

For more information call 215-665-2595.