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'Change Is Absolutely Necessary': Global Citizen's 2020 Philly Beer Summit On Racial Advocacy More Relevant Than Ever

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- As the nation continues to react to the killing of George Floyd, there are people and organizations working to bring attention to injustices locally. Eyewitness News continues our "Justice for All" series, highlighting the leader of a local nonprofit whose beer summit focuses on racial advocacy.

Breaking down barriers for over two decades, that has been Global Citizen's goal, particularly surrounding racism.

"So many decades after the death of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Act of 64 and the Voting Rights Act of 65 that we are still living in conditions where systemic racism thrives in many ways," Todd Bernstein, with Global Citizen, said.

The nonprofit reaches the community through education and conversation.

2020 marks 12 years since President Barack Obama convened an initial White House Beer Summit over race and police relations. This year, the summit in Philadelphia will feel different because of COVID-19 precautions, but the topics discussed will be more relevant than ever.

"To discuss racism on the local level, on the national level, people's experiences and to come out of it with some sort of commitment on working on these issues," Bernstein said.

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Bernstein jumped into action back in July 2009 when world-renowned Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates was arrested on his porch by Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley after a white woman passing by thought he was breaking in.

Weeks later, Obama invited both men to the White House for what was dubbed the Beer Summit in the Rose Garden.

"As the nation debated this terrible incident, which was just a microcosm of a greater problem in the nation, of course," Bernstein said.

Bernstein says the conversations held locally are just a start to bridging the racial divide in our region.

"We're at a critical time in American history where we have to both collectively decide that change is important enough to go through that struggle but also particularly for white people to have that acceptance that change is absolutely necessary," Bernstein said.

Everyone is invited to be part of that change. The entire community is invited to take part in the 2020 Philly Beer Summit. For more information on the July 30 virtual event, click here.

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