SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Schuylkill County non-profit is looking to start conversations to promote change through listening sessions. Racial discrimination will be the focus of the town hall listening sessions, making us stronger together.

Rubina Tareen is a member of the Islamic community and a long-time resident of Schuylkill County, Rubina faced discrimination and has also seen her friends of color experience racism.

“It’s a learned behavior. You’re not born with it. So lets talk about it. How you got there,” Tareen said.

Schuylkill County Vision is on a mission to hear more about these experiences. The non-profit organization is holding four town hall listening sessions throughout the county allowing people to share their stories.

“When we give equality to voices, I hope, my hope is that people will feel empowered to come out and their truths,” Schuylkill County Vision executive director Jeanne Elberfeld said.

The sessions are listening-based, not discussion-based to create a respectful, open atmosphere.

“Even if you’re a person who holds a prejudice, we want to hear about it, where maybe we can come to some sort of solution,” Tareen said.

Schuylkill Vision plans to use these town halls to listen out and then create action plans to bring about cultural change.

“So the only way that we are going to be able to move the whole county forward is to hear the voices of people, of many people,” Elberfeld said.

The first listening session will be at Barefield Park in Pottsville Wednesday night from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Session 2 will be Tuesday, August 25th in Tamaqua at the Childhood Development Center from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Session 3 will be held virtually through Zoom from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. You can register here or here. Session 4 will be in Pine Grove at Sweet Arrow Lake from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.