Local News

Race Relations Conference Begins in Charlotte

Posted October 28, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— A rash of fires at churches in North Carolina sparked a conference on race relations that started Monday. The governor invited several high profile speakers to meet with community members to talk about race issues. Attorney General Janet Reno addressed the group Monday night.

Reno told attendees of the Governor's Conference on Racial Reconciliation that hate crimes fuel racism in America. She said such crimes will not be tolerated and will be vigorously prosecuted.

Hate crimes like the series of church burnings that recently occurred in North Carolina sparked President Clinton's initiative on race. While some criticize the initiative of being all-talk and no action, Reno said dialogue is the perfect place to start the journey toward racial harmony in America.

Eddie Lawrence, director of the N.C. Human Rights Commission, said talking will provide healing and reconciliation.

Dr. John Hope Franklin will deliver the keynote address Tuesday. Franklin chairs President Clinton's initiative on race.