Educational opportunity will be the theme of the third in a series of “Call to Consciousness” community forums being held to discuss race relations in Lakeland. Panelists include a School Board member, School Board candidate, city commissioner and three assistant principals.

Allison “AL” Lewis organized and will moderate the forum, scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Coleman-Bush Building, 1104 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. For those unable to attend, it will be live-streamed on her Facebook page.

Panelists include:

  • William Allen, Florida Southern College film professor and candidate for Polk County School Board, district 1
  • Jasmar Bennett, assistant principal at Kathleen Elementary School
  • Kay Fields, Polk County School Board member
  • Greg Lewis, assistant principal at Ridge Community Senior
  • Alonzo Thompson, assistant principal at Southwest Middle School
  • Daryl Ward, creative lead at Southeastern University and former principal at Harrison School for the Arts
  • Phillip Walker, Lakeland city commissioner

Asked why one candidate in a School Board race was invited to participate but not the other candidate, incumbent Billy Townsend, Lewis said she didn’t want the forum to turn into a political debate. “We’ve heard from Billy. However, we have not heard from William and his stance,” she added.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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