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Violence Continues to Erode Racial Peace in Durham

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DURHAM — Problems continue to erupt in Durham between Blacks and Hispanics. Whileefforts are underway to establish better relations between the two groups, acts of violence continue to erode the fragile peace.

Hispanic men getting lost in the music to forget the sweltering summerheat. They're part of a growing number of Spanish-speaking people movinginto predominantly black neighborhoods. The change has not always been aspleasant as a song.

"I think there needs to be a stronger emphasis on learning theEnglish language so they could communicate better, so there would beless of a fear," said Julian Hall, Durham resident.

To bridge the language and cultural barriers, Durham has presented a seriesof conferences. Saturday's meeting at Hayti Center promoted racial unity.

Sadly, a short time after that meeting for unity and understanding, aHispanic man was shot as he sat on his porch. Police say five blackteenagers targeted the man for robbery.

Many Hispanics have become easy prey for criminals. Publishers of theLatino newspaper, "La Conexion" say Latinos are targeted because manycriminals believe the the myth that Hispanics always carry a lot of cash.

Truth is, most Hispanics are putting their cash into banks. But whilebanking may curb crime more is need to develop better relations betweenBlacks and Hispanics.

"Leadership, I really believe the church, the African American Church,the Baptist church, can play a big, big role," said Angel Robles,co-founder of "La Conexion".

"At the same time we owe them the duty to make sure that they can live intheir houses safely, not be robbed, not be shot," said Mike Leary,publisher, "La Conexion".

Durham Police plan to add two bilingual officers to the department. Theywill help improve communications between Blacks and Hispanics. Durhamclergy members are also working on ways to improve relations between thegroups through the church.

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