BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Urban League of Louisiana and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus joined together for the second day of the 2023 Listen and Learn Tour on Monday at the Charles R. Kelly Community Center.
Participants were invited and divided into intimate groups that allowed them to open up about their needs with local government representatives who were also present.
Local residents were divided into groups and participated in facilitated discussions led by Ayo Kysha Brown, executive coach and senior consultant at Compositions Consulting, Joey LaRoche, former chief strategy officer for KIPP New Orleans Schools, and John West, advocacy director for the Urban League of Louisiana .
The questionnaire ‘listen and learn’ event for the residents in attendance consisted of a chance for participants to show their love for the city, discuss the racial wealth gap, improvements in the area they would like to see, safety and politics, community relations, health, workforce and subjects in relation to education.
Residents expressed concerns about insurance, public education, tax increases, a lack of mental health resources and even the need for police civic engagement.
“You need more civic engagement with the police. The police need to actually understand what they are supposed to do – is to protect and not to harass and arrest,” said one attendee of the event.
The goal of the tour is to hear from community residents, particularly in African-American and underserved communities, said Tyronne Walker, vice president of political strategic partnerships and development at the Urban League of Louisiana.
Another mission is to hear the priorities that are important to set a policy agenda that will remove barriers and create more pathways for African Americans, Walker added.
Regarding the Baton Rouge stop, Walker classifies the capital as an ‘anchor’ and cited the need to hear from local residents. “Baton Rouge is an anchor when you start thinking about how communities work together to build generational wealth, so it’s important for us to be here,” he said.
“We want to hear from the citizens of Baton Rouge about the issues that are important to them,” he added.
The tour is set to continue until April 5. For a complete list of the stops and other information, go to https://urbanleaguela.org/tour/.