High-profile killings of black men at the hands of police, as well as shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, prompted Eula Scott Bynoe to organize a public discussion with white people about race.
Bynoe is one of three co-hosts of the podcast Hella Black Hella Seattle, and she and her co-hosts are leading a public discussion this Sunday at BadWill Market, a monthly popup at The Rhino Room on Capitol Hill, in part because they want to have more of these conversations.
The panel will consist of the three co-hosts along with four white people, including Bynoe's friend, Alissa Wehrman.
The idea, according to Bynoe, is that these conversations about police brutality and racism have gone on for too long within the black community. Now she wants white people to step up and confront their white peers in the hope of finding a solution to these underlying issues.
"I know white people care about me," Bynoe said. "So what I need to find out is, well, what do we do to prove it?"
When Bynoe approached Wehrman about participating in the panel, she was taken aback by the idea but agreed to do it.
"Something needs to happen. And I have a place in this. I am a white person," Wehrman said to her friend, speaking on KUOW's The Record. "My liberation is entwined with yours. I don't have it all figured out."
In Wehrman's view, this discussion is a means to demonstrate that if someone says something insensitive it can be called out and learned from.
In fact, she said she almost wants to make a mistake while leading the panel so that she herself can be checked.
"So I can be like, 'Hey, look I'm OK.' And we're going to go out afterwards and have some biscuits," Wehrman said.
Bynoe hopes people walk away with tools on how to talk to each other.
"Honestly you can't give a person a script for these kinds of things, because they don't know what they are walking into. But I think people need to understand the value of their conversation," she said.
"You've got to break it down and make it doable. It's not harming, it's only helping," Wehrman said.