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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Wallace A. Smith Elementary fifth grade student Kelis Franklin writes on a poster during a protest for Chattanooga area youth on Saturday, June 6, 2020 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The students were invited to write one word sharing how they felt on the poster that read "No justice, no peace" during the event. Many students wrote words like "confused, sad, upset and scared."

With protests against protest brutality and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis taking place across the country — and right here in Chattanooga — Chris Ownby, Reggie Madison and Gena Ellis from First Things First provide 10 keys on how to have a productive conversation about race. 

1. (:57) Begin to have conversations with people who are not like you.
2. (2:19) Build relationships with people who are not in your circle.
3. (2:43) Respect people even if you don't agree with them.
4. (3:44) Be aware that these conversations are going to be uncomfortable because it requires you and the person you're talking with to be vulnerable and open.
5. (6:27) Ask questions in order to show empathy and understanding, not to fix or defend.
6. (9:27) Recognize and accept someone else's reality in order to build a deeper connection and create a relationship.
7. (11:36) Be willing to acknowledge media messaging and how it makes black people feel.
8. (16:48) Recognize that African Americans are not all the same.
9. (17:15) Ask deep questions of someone in your sphere of influence, don't ask questions to strangers.
10. (18:38) Educate yourself better. Read, watch, seek to understand African American culture.

Ending point: (20:36) Every human being wants to feel valued, seen and heard.

Watch video on Youtube »

In partnership with First Things First

This is part of an occasional series by the Times Free Press in partnership with First Things First to provide free resources for children and families during the coronavirus outbreak. View more tips and resources and sign up for the nonprofit's email newsletter here.

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