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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The National Urban League Conference opened in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, with much of the day’s discussions focused on growing racial tensions across America and what’s being done about it.

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Kendrick Meek, former congressman from Miami-Dade, commented on unarmed blacks being shot and killed by white police officers.

“Young black men today are going through something I did not go through growing up in Liberty City,” Meek said “They are seeing on social media, also through body cameras, what could happen to them when they’re stopped by law-enforcement.”

Robert Beatty, publisher of the South Florida Times, said the federal government needs to be more aggressive in going after police officers who wrongly pull the trigger.

“Every component in America needs to regain a renewed sensitivity on the issue of race relations, Beatty said. “The Justice Department must, too.”

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Noted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump was buoyed by the murder charge brought against a Cincinnati police officer Wednesday for the shooting death of an unarmed motorist during a traffic stop.

“It has given a glimmer of hope to so many in our community that our lives matter too,” Crump said.

Poverty was also an issue of the discussion at the conference. More than 45 million Americans live below the poverty level.

“We have to make the investment to make sure that children are getting an education,” said Ruben Anthony of the Madison Wisconsin Urban League. “We have to support programs to help children find their way to pathways to careers.”

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The Urban League conference will hear from five presidential candidates on Friday. They are: Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Benjamin Carson, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders.