ST. CLOUD -- Create Community hosted their annual Conversation On Race event this morning (Tuesday) at the Rivers Edge Convention Center.

Hundreds of community members and government officials were in attendance including St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis.

The focus of the event was recognizing the many worlds our local area. The event originally started back in 1998 when former St. Cloud Mayor Larry Meyer founded the Racial Harmony Initiative.

Rev. Dee Pederson is the co-chair for the Awareness Building Committee. She says the event is a rare opportunity for people to talk to each other about racism.

This year the committee wanted to open people up through spoken word poetry and art which is on display at the convention center.

James Addington was the keynote speaker of the event. He spoke about the racism and its effects on the community.

The group discussed ways to combat racism by speaking up when you hear a racist joke or comment.

Pederson says progress has been made over the years but there is still a long way to go. She suggests you attend the Power In Diversity Leadership Conference at St. Cloud State University January 23rd- 26th.