Georgetown council hopes to heal community’s racial divide

Georgetown council hopes to heal community’s racial divide

GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - With a new year comes new year's resolutions, and Georgetown is wasting no time in putting its best foot forward in 2017. On Monday, the Georgetown County Community Relations Council met with members of the community for an open discussion about what they can be doing better. The result: a frank and progressive conversation on race relations.

After the turmoil of the past election, Rhonda Green, the Chair of the Georgetown County Community Relations Council, is doing what she can to bring divided communities closer together.

"I'm excited that there are so many different organizations in Georgetown which are working together towards the same common goal," Green said. This includes organizations like the Georgetown Unity Alliance, an alliance which is still in the planning stages. It will go live in a few weeks and already has its first event scheduled.

"We are planning the 'Melting Pot March,'" said Al Joseph, the Chair of the Georgetown Unity Alliance. "It's going to be a march from Winyah Auditorium to Howard High School. The symbolism there being that in years past, Winyah was the traditionally white high school. Howard was the traditionally black high school."

Joseph said the motivation for the event came, in part, from reading an article by a black author about the things he had to talk to his children about - things that never occurred to Joseph to talk with his kids about. It motivated Joseph to act.

"The fact that in Georgetown there's a very clear divide - we don't have the violence, we don't have the animosity that we see in other cities, fortunately - but there is a very clear divide in Georgetown between the white community and the black community," Joseph said. "We want to try to bridge that gap."

Green is trying to mobilize organizations to hold more events like this one. She is relying on the participation of the community.

"We want everyone's participation," Green said. "We really think that by working together, getting to know people, working side by side, you build those relationships that are going to help you long-term. Build that community. Really make people build the relationships so we can mend the wounds."

The Georgetown County Community Relations Council was started about 20 years ago, dissolved, and came back about two years ago. Their goal is to bring Georgetown County closer together and heal wounds from Georgetown's past.

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