A pair of community groups are hosting a forum next week that aims to discuss the state of race relations in Louisville.

The West Louisville Urban Coalition and the local anti-violence advocacy group Hood 2 Hood are bringing six panelists together to examine how justice and poverty issues are affecting residents’ perceptions of race.

Community activist Christopher 2X, with Hood 2 Hood, said it would be irresponsible to not have these discussions about race.

“We’re coming off of several situations over the last few years that have engulfed the conversation nationwide and locally … that manifest racial overtones,” he said.

The panelists include local attorney Brandon Lawrence and Norman Parker, a one-time suspected gang member, 2X said. They will address national and local events that can perpetuate racial tension in urban settings.

“There are some things simmering under the surface that we don’t need to let blow up in our face,” 2X said.

He said he hopes the forum will start a larger conversation regarding race relations in Louisville. Other panelists include filmmaker Lavell White, Hood 2 Hood organizer Nia Mitchell and activists Theresa Boyd and Cynthia Brown.

The forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Chestnut Street YMCA on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.