Triangle residents take 'stand against racism'
Posted April 30, 2010 1:49 p.m. EDT
Updated April 30, 2010 3:32 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — About 200 students and community members rallied in Moore Square Friday to take part in a national movement to fight racism.
Gov. Bev Perdue declared Friday "Stand Against Racism" day in North Carolina. Across the country, 250,000 people were expected to participate in events organized by the Young Women's Christian Association.
"What at the heart of the event are people in our community who want positive solutions to some of the things that we still feel are the effect of racism," said Folami Bandele, executive director of YWCA of the Greater Triangle. "These are folks that believe as individuals, we can make a difference by making our voices heard."
Adults talked about solutions to the negative effects of racism, particularly on education, housing and employment. They were joined by about 100 students who marched from Moore Square Middle School. The adults talked the children about being brave enough to speak out on important issues.
"If there's an issue they're concerned about, if there's something going on in your community, you have a responsibility to stand up adn be head and do something about it," Bandele said.
Bandele said she believes event like this one can show that a community stands against hate groups.
A recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center showed that there were approximately 30 hate groups in North Carolina and that the number of such groups grew nationally by about 50 percent in the past decade.
"Most of the time these groups are allowed to flourish, because the people who feel differently are silent, and their voices are not heard," she said. "But by coming together and taking a stand, we say that one, we don’t tolerate racism in our community and two, we’re willing to do something to create a different kind of world."
Rally participants also get to experience the support of people who are concerned about the same issues, Bandele said.
"I think that most people see so much negativity in the media and in the community around them and that they are looking for positive ways that they can contribute," she said. "This event lets them connect with people that are concerned about the same issues and coming up with positive solutions."