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Growth Association to sponsor conversations on race, inclusion

The RiverBend Growth Association plans a series of conversation on the topics of race and inclusion, in hopes of building solutions and understanding in the community.

The RBGA is a business and community organization that has worked for more than 30 years in Alton and the surrounding communities to build strong bonds with its members.

“The death of George Floyd has reignited an issue that has plagued our nation for far too long, an issue that must be addressed and eliminated. The spotlight in the past few weeks has illuminated the inequalities of justice. Racism in all forms, systemic or otherwise, have no place in our community,” the organization said in a statement released Wednesday.

“We stand in solidarity against racism and advocate for diversity, equality, and inclusion in our society and economy,” said John Keller, president of the RiverBend Growth Association. “As a community organization, we will leverage our expertise and relationships with the public to help develop solutions that will enhance our regional economic system.”

The first of what could be many conversations will take place at 1 p.m. Friday. People may register at

Here is the remainder of the statement:

“The RiverBend Growth Association agrees with and supports those exercising their first amendment rights in peaceful demonstrations and supports the community leaders that are leading the call for action and change.

“Over the past year the RiverBend Growth Association has formed a committee to focus specifically on Emerging Leaders and Diversity. Through this committee we have begun to create the Emerging & Inclusive Leadership Council where we can have these difficult and important discussions, and create an environment that is safe for everyone to voice their opinions and learn more from others.

“There will be speakers from different organizations and different backgrounds who will help us lead this conversation. We also ask for experiences on these important topics. Only by working with our communities do we build trust, and ensure our region is safe and prosperous for everyone. For this reason, this discussion will be open to all community members of the Riverbend, not just the members of the RiverBend Growth Association.

“Although we still have work to do, and until all people are equal, the RiverBend Growth Association stands committed to working hard in continuing to improve our region.

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