The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center are sponsoring the event, which is a fundraiser to benefit Dialogue on Race Louisiana, the local nonprofit that has developed a multi-week program dedicated to providing a safe space for honest discussions about race.

BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp says it’s important for the business community to get behind the issue. Following the police shooting of Alton Sterling in 2016, BRAC announced several goals and action items related to addressing racism and economic disparity in Baton Rouge.

In the nearly two years since, the chamber’s diversity and inclusion committee has hosted several panel discussions focused on specific hiring and diversity issues, an important first step, he says. But by sponsoring this Dialogue on Race fundraiser, Knapp says BRAC is helping to foster a broader conversation that, it is hoped, will begin to change attitudes and bring about meaningful change.

The speaker at this evening’s event is Dr. David Campt, a nationally known trainer on the subject. Knapp, local businessman Jare Loftus and Dialogue on Race founder and CEO Maxine Crump heard Campt speak at a seminar in late 2016 and were so impressed with his approach they decided to bring him here.

“He calls it a tool kit and basically shows folks how to have this conversation in a very non-threatening way,” Knapp says.

Coletta Barrett, vice president for mission at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, says the hospital is also sponsoring the event because “being in health care you have to embrace diversity and inclusion and understand the differences that exist between and among people.”

She says she is encouraged that nearly 100 people have registered to attend.

“We had 97 people registered as of yesterday,” she says. “That is a phenomenal first step.”

The event is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Main Library on Goodwood Boulevard. Cost is $40.