Soledad O’Brien todiscuss race, policing

Soledad O’Brien wants to hear from you.

The award-winning journalist is bringing her Black in America tour to Florida International University and said she’s excited to hear from students and the community on changing the conversation about race and policing.

A former CNN anchor who founded Starfish Media Group, which distributes content across such networks as CNN, Al Jazeera America and HBO, O’Brien said one of her goals is expanding the dialogue. Discussions of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York and police brutality must go beyond sound bites and debates between commentators, she said.

“The biggest issue in the conversation that’s been happening so far is really that nobody’s listening,” she said.

In the latest entry of the Black in America documentary series, Black and Blue, O’Brien looks at the numbers behind such police practices as stop and frisk. She looks for stories from people impacted by the policies and the officers and officials executing them.

The FIU discussion will feature St. Louis alderman Antonio French, who was on the ground during the protests in Ferguson, and economist Julianne Malveaux as panelists.

O’Brien said the panels have been rewarding because students are given a chance to address subjects like race and politics and discuss how those topics impact their daily lives.

“People just want to be heard, and it’s a very emotional conversation,” O’Brien said.

Miami will be the last stop in the tour. O’Brien has already started thinking of new topics. As the 2016 presidential election approaches, she hopes to lead discussions on voting rights for black and Hispanic voters. She hopes her next lecture and tour series can include historically black colleges and universities.

“It’s up to students to run with the ball and hear the things that are being said and spun to them,” O’Brien said. “You have to have these conversations on multiple fronts.”

“Black in America” tour: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Wolfe University Center ballroom at FIU’s Biscayne Bay campus, 3000 NE 151st St. Free tickets available through Eventbrite.

Lance Dixon