CommunityPam's House Blend

Rally to promote peace and unity in Durham will be on Sunday


One of the burning crosses, and a vigil held the next day.

The Durham Human Relations Commission announced the plans for a large rally in response to the cross burnings last week. See my earlier posts on this here and here. House Blender and Durhamite Robust McManlyPants also shares great insights here.

According to Yvonne Pe??a, the City’s director of Human Relations, more than 35 community organizations are supporting the upcoming rally and will be present to illustrate community solidarity. The rally will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Durham Armory located at 220 Foster St.

Again, I want to note that the local coverage has totally dropped the ball on seeking a possible connection to an anti-gay angle, despite one of the locations being at a church that is gay-affirming, and was picketed by the Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps losers only a couple of weeks prior to the cross-burnings. [I’m not speculating that the Phelps folks did anything; that’s not how they operate, but that activity could definitely stir up some rednecks out to send a message to the bigots of all types out there.] All the talk has been exclusively about a racial angle. Just a sampling of the blind spot by Ginny Skalski of the Herald Sun. :

The event will feature several speakers who will encourage the entire community to gain understanding about issues facing people of different races, economic and educational backgrounds.

…Organizers will show the award winning documentary film “An Unlikely Friendship” at 7 p.m. at B.N. Duke Auditorium on NCCU’s campus. The film tells the story of a Ku Klux Klan leader and outspoken black activist who form a strong and loving relationship in the wake of a community discussion on Durham school desegregation in 1970.

After the film, a panel discussion will be led by Ben Reese, vice president for Institutional Equity at Duke. There is a $1 suggested donation to cover security costs charged by NCCU, which will pay overtime to university police to work the event, said Stacy Shelp-Peck, who helped organize the event.

Among the panelists who have confirmed their attendance are: NCCU Chancellor James Ammons; Diane Bloom, director and filmmaker of “An Unlikely Friendship;” the Rev. Gene Hatley, 2005 NAACP community service award winner; the Rev. James Pike, pastor of Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church in Chapel Hill; and MaryAnn Black, associate vice president of Community Affairs for Duke University Health System.

I do know that Ben Reese, who is heading the panel discussion, is keenly aware of LGBT issues. I can only hope that he does mention sexual orientation as a factor in these types of hate crimes.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding