Owens, black leaders affirm resolve to root out hate crimes

Series of incidents in Arundel motivate cooperative efforts

September 18, 2001|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

The president of the Anne Arundel County chapter of the NAACP heralded a new era of open communication between county officials and African-American communities after meeting yesterday with County Executive Janet S. Owens.

"I always felt that [county officials] had that [anti-hate crimes] posture," said Gerald G. Stansbury, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "But there lacked communication between the county and the community. I think we'll stay focused now. I think we're on the right track."

The NAACP and other African-American organizations, including United Black Clergy, are concerned about a series of hate crimes in the county.

Last week, racist graffiti were reported found in two houses under construction in Churchton.

In the past several weeks, the Crofton house and car of a black minister were spray-painted with expletives, threats and racial slurs; a Lothian church was looted and desecrated with satanic and racist epithets; and the letters "KKK" were spray-painted on the garage door of an Edgewater house about to be sold to a black family.

After the meeting, which was held in a conference room in Owens' offices in Annapolis, Stansbury said he was confident that the county and community groups could work together to bring an end to hate crimes.

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