Over 100 tune into local webinar on COVID-19 and social justice

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — People across the country are under a lot of stress right now, between the public health crisis, and communities calling for justice after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. A Capital Region activist wants to address the mental health impacts these events are having on individuals.

Malik Dare dominated Capital Region basketball several years ago as a Shaker High School stand-out. He went on to play Division II ball at Robert Wesleyan College. Since then, he’s done a lot of engagement and volunteering with his local community.

While watching New York State’s daily Coronavirus briefings, Dare saw Governor Cuomo participate in the “how are you really challenge” and agreed with the need to have an outlet to talk about how the pandemic is affecting them.

“…and then, the George Floyd killing happened,” Dare told News10’s Giuliana Bruno, “and I said, ‘there’s more interests than just Coronavirus,’ and I think we should address both.” 

Dare organized a Zoom conference call with Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler, Herb Alexander (Roberts Wesleyan College Director of Diversity and Equity), Tariiq Walton (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) and Kenneth Braswell (CEO of Fathers Incorporated, a national, non-profit organization working to build stronger families and communities through the promotion of responsible fatherhood). He provided a link to the call on the flyer for the event so that community members could tune in and ask questions. Over 100 people tuned in.

“The panelists brought a good point that nothing’s going to change overnight, and it’s going to be an ongoing fight,” Dare said, “and every day is a struggle, but people shouldn’t just sit by and say, ‘well that’s how it’s been, let’s continue to be that way.’ People need to stand up and let their voices be heard.”

Dare brought Mayor Keeler on the call because of his 30 years of work with the NYS Police. He says Keeler’s insight acknowledged the issues with police brutality, but signaled that there are still officers within the system that want to do what’s right.

“[Mayor Keeler] said there are bad apples. He said if there’s 700,000 police officers, and 7,000 are bad, that’s only 1 percent,” Dare recalled. “We still need to work on getting rid of bad apples, but there’s more good apples than bad apples.”

Dare feels the frustration in the community right now, and supports the recent protests.

“I completely understand the anger, the rage, and why people feel we need to protest,” Dare said, “and people think the peaceful protests aren’t working.”

However, he hopes the riots and damage to local businesses, no matter who is participating, comes to an end.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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