To the Editor:
Having been involved in local inter-racial bridge-building – through the YWCA, our churches, CHANGE, and the Institute for Dismantling Racism (IDR) – we hope your August 15 editorial, “Whites Lack Black Friends” will be a wake-up call (and of course we trust that The Chronicle has a full measure of white readers). Waking up can usher in a brighter day, and we endorse an upcoming opportunity both for white people and for people of color. On Sept. 19-21, IDR and the YWCA will collaborate to offer a workshop addressing “Dismantling Institutional Racism,” to be held at the Gateway YWCA.
“Project CommUnity” was a 1970s collaboration of the YWCA, the Winston-Salem Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce, bringing together small groups of black and white families to eat supper together and look ahead to cooperating in school desegregation. For many, it was the first time to make friends across color lines and to enlarge our comfort zones.
But the challenge continued. In the early 2000s, the “Crossing 52 Initiative” organized similar inter-racial eating and conversation groups, and more barriers fell.
But the challenge continued. The Winston-Salem Foundation established “The ECHO Network,” emphasizing the motto “Everyone Can Help Out.” “Everyone” means “EVERYONE” needs to be involved in increasing Social Capital for the health of our whole community.
And the challenge continues. We’ve realized that even more than welcoming friends across color lines, we need to acknowledge the habits, institutions and systems that restrict us. Let’s meet the challenge and thrive together. We hope that Chronicle readers will contact IDR, 336-722-8379 (ext. 104) or the YWCA, 336-722-5138 (ext. 234) and learn about the September “Dismantling Institutional Racism” training collaboration. It’s past time to wake up!
Rev. Willard Bass
Rev. Ellen Yarborough