Daki Napata, a Baptist minister and community activist, says he will fast until a blueprint to fight racism in the city is adopted.
"I'm committed to fast until that positive plan of action happens," Napata said yesterday, some 19 hours into a fast he began Tuesday. "Hopefully, this will happen Friday night."
Tomorrow, city officials, representatives of various ethnic groups and the public will participate in the first summit on race relations in Baltimore. More than 1,300 people are expected at the morning and evening sessions at the Baltimore Convention Center. There also will be workshops.
Napata said he's counting on the summit to be a forum of "honest discussion" between various ethnic and religious groups.
"In 1990 . . . I think an African-American in Baltimore City should be able to go where he chooses in the city without the fear of violence," Napata said, adding the same ought to be the case for members of all races.
Napata said Skinheads and "Archie Bunker-types" aren't the only racists. There are also those who "look very good, are polished professionals, who are also part of the problem."
Napata said he hopes city officials and the public will say, "No, we will not stand for this."
Napata blamed a number of factors, including the nation's weakening economy, as contributing to the resurgence in racism.
"There's no question, when there is an economic decline, people begin to look for scapegoats," said Napata, a minister at Union Baptist Church on Druid Hill Avenue.
Napata said he will fast until positive steps are taken to determine how the city, businesses, schools and the media will battle racism.
"To come away from the summit with flowery speeches and not get at the nuts and bolts . . . would be missing the point of the summit," he said.
Napata said he understands "one day is not an adequate amount of time to address the ills, but it is a beginning.
"To have a good summit would be a good [birthday] gift," said Napata, who will be 39 Sunday.