Crossing local racial boundaries

April 28, 1995|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

With music and drama in the mix, tomorrow's program on racial equality at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Westminster promises to be lively.

But a good time isn't all organizers have planned. They hope the program, called "Strengthen Community through Racial Equality," will inspire discussion about how Carroll County residents can improve relations among different races.

"It's an opportunity to have some fun and meet new people that might be across racial boundaries," said Gary Honeman of Westminster, one of three coordinators of Carroll Citizens for Racial Equality, the group sponsoring the event.

The program is free and open to the public. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.; the program begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon.

Mr. Honeman said he expects about 100 people to attend, roughly the same number that attended a similar program his group sponsored two years ago.

This year's event has a full agenda, including:

* Remarks about racial equality from Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Westminster Democrat and one of the few African-American elected officials in Carroll.

* Performance by Union Street Gospel Jubilee Choir.

* Short presentations by four groups about their work for racial equality -- the Multi-Cultural Club at Westminster High School, the Black Student Union at Western Maryland College, the Carroll County Human Relations Commission and New Life Church in Westminster.

* A dramatic performance by students at Bowling Brook Prep, a facility for juvenile delinquents in Middleburg.

"We really want to provide some visibility for various people and groups doing good in the community," Mr. Honeman said.

Participants also will divide into six groups for 40 minutes to share suggestions and ideas about how to work toward racial equality in the community, Mr. Honeman said. A member of Carroll Citizens for Racial Equality will sit with each group.

In addition to being educational, the event is a way for the citizens' group to gather ideas for other activities and to learn more about the needs of the community, he said.

Late last year, Carroll Citizens for Racial Equality was active after two racial incidents at Western Maryland College. The county Human Relations Commission awarded the group a "Human Relations Award" last month.

The citizens' group has about 65 people on its mailing list.

At the 1993 event sponsored by Carroll Citizens for Racial Equality, participants discussed encounters with Ku Klux Klan members, rude store clerks, racial epithets and segregation. One person advocated that people stop all racist, sexist and abusive jokes. Another said, "Let your actions speak."

The keynote speaker, the Rev. Rosemary Maxey, pastor of Mount Tabor United Church of Christ in Westminster, said racial epithets and other harassments should not be ignored.

"We people of color need to be direct with white people," said Ms. Maxey, an American Indian.

Loving one's enemy, she said, means telling the enemy that racism hurts and asking him or her to fight it.

Information: 848-2500.

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