Local News

Diverse Group of Raleigh Residents Meet to Promote Unity

Posted December 9, 2006 6:51 p.m. EST

Race issues in Raleigh have received a lot of attention in 2006. On Saturday, Mayor Charles Meeker hosted a unity breakfast to identify problems before they get out of hand.

At the breakfast, Raleigh community members representing different segments of the population attempted to find common ground. Their faces reflected a diverse city in which 40 percent are people of color.

"We've been too divided," said Khalila Sabra of the Muslim American Society. "Some of us have been isolationists, and we need those moments to show that we have more in common than we don't have in common."

"It opens doors, it gives everyone an opportunity for people to confront the city on an official level and a social level," said Muallah X with Black Workers for Justice

City employees served up breakfast at North Carolina State University's McKimmon Center, while about 200 people dished out their issues during a Q&A session.

"The laws have been tougher against immigration," said Rev. Luis Rivas with New Hope Baptist Church. "The situation's changing, and is there a plan to integrate the Hispanic population?"

"We need to get leaders of that community to try and get more people involved," Meeker said. "To be telling, in part, what's expected of families here and how we can contribute."

Raleigh leaders promised that the move toward greater unity is more than just talk. In breakout sessions, people discussed details about how raleigh can improve race relations. Their ideas will go straight to the city's Human Rights Commission.

"Probably in the next two to three months, have a chance to gather information, filter it, summarize it, and as a commission get some recommendations and present it to the city council," said Todd Kennedy with the commission.

The city of Raleigh spent approximately $2,800 to host the breakfast. Meeker said he plans to make it an annual event.