Brian Sykes’ rude awakening came on an playground, when at 8 years old he asked a classmate to be his girlfriend. Yes, she said, but it would have to be a secret. “She told me that her parents wouldn’t let her date a black guy and at the age of, you know, 7 or 8 when somebody tells you that you have to be kept a secret because of the color of your skin, it’s – it’s confusing…I was hurt, I was angry all at the same time.”
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Carleen Cumberbatch, 81, is a retired New York City school teacher and administrator who lives near Lithonia. She has lived in Georgia since 1989.
Jason F. Esteves, 29, is native of Columbus, Ga. who graduated from the University of Miami and Emory School of Law. He taught for Teach for America in a Houston middle school. A business and commercial litigation for McKenna Long & Aldridge.
Georgia Harrison, 65, South Carolina native and graduate of Bennett College in North Carolina. Former assistant superintendent of schools in New York City. She lives in Powder Springs.
Anne Lewis, 50, Savannah native who lives in Tucker. She is a partner in Atlanta law firm Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP. The practice includes election law., including redistricting under the Voting Rights Act. General counsel for the Republican Party of Georgia.
Laura T. McCarty, 47, South Carolina native is a Decatur resident and vice president of the nonprofit Georgia Humanities Counci. A graduate of Wofford College and the University of Georgia. Author of Coretta Scott King: a Biography.
Brian Sykes, 18, Johns Creek resident is 2013 graduate of Chattahoochee High School headed to Yale University where he will major in econimics and will play football.
Bryan Tyson, 32, grew up in Cobb County where he was home schooled. He spent two years in Washington D.C. as a congressional staffer and is currently an attorney at Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP specializing in business litigation and election law.
Our moderator was Reed D. Kimbrough, who as worked in operational, human resources and diversity and inclusing roles for major corporation. Reed joined the United States Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh in 2006, where he served as director of corporate diversity programs and training. He previously worked for the AJC.
How the panelists were selected: AJC reporters and editors put the word out to readers and sources this week that we were looking for people willing to have an honest conversation about race. Our goal was to assemble a diverse panel of metro Atlantans with a variety of viewpoints.