Monday, May 5, 2014

Dialogue Series : Racial Relations and Racial Issues

             On Monday April 28,2014 was the last of the Dialogue series that took place at the lyric theater located on Main Street in Frostburg,MD at 5:30 p.m. Connected to most recent events of a what is labeled a " hate group" called the " KKK" hosting a rally in Cumberland a week or so prior to the dialogue, this topic of "Racial Issues" was very relevant and important to discuss. The Frostburg community, and those in surrounding areas,along with students and staff of Frostburg State University were present at this event. The sole purpose of this event was to break the racial barriers that exist within the community and essentially the world.

          Elisha Ruminski ( chair of the Communications Dept. At FSU) opened the event with a greeting and an introduction of herself, the event and allowed other colleagues to speak and introduce themselves as well. Most of the people hosting and facilitating the event worked alot with the local population, Frostburg State University, and surrounding businesses in the area to improve the community and the communication with residents , students, business owners etc. At the beginning of the event as people started to come in and find seats, there was a place to sign in and get a name tag to be able to fellowship with one another better. There were about 10 round tables set up with brochures, business cards, surveys and other information on the table at each seat. The event also offered light refreshments, snacks, and horderves.

           Discussion leaders briefly mentioned the " KKK" rally that took place, with some representatives which were involved, following this was a slide show of pictures from the event which showcased those protesting against those hosting the rally. Next, some representatives from specific organizations spoke about their organizations goals, missions, and what they offer for the local community. A few people from mediation centers, student organizations, SGA, and the police department all joined to bring peoples attention to a number of positive things taking place in the community and within their on specific organizations.

          After an array of, displays, slideshows, and representatives speaking to the audience about their organizations , it was time for the audience to get involved.Dr Marvin Johnson and Dr. Frank Dukes asked everyone to move around and get comfortable with people they weren't familiar with. It took a few minutes for everyone to re-adjust at their new seats , but once there the open discussion was able to begin.

        Once everyone in the room introduced themselves and said where they were born, from and currently reside than the discussion moved along into the topics of the dialogue. Everyone was asked to share their opinion, thoughts, views and experiences in relation to " Racial Issues".  Everyone went around the table and discussed things such as : being racially discriminated against, if he/she has ever benefited from living in a certain area, expectations from certain racial groups, any encounters that changed their outlooks about racial issues etc.

       It was interesting to hear people of different races, age, ethnicity's, backgrounds, locations, areas, values etc, all manage to join in and having a healthy discussion about a very important and relevant topic in today's society. Everyone shared their views and were able to learn and be enlighten by someone else , and being able to fellowship , network, and meet others help to expand the efforts to bring together students, staff, locals and the community as a whole. This dialogue was a very successful turn out and the conversations can truly make a difference in someones way of thinking,  understanding and life. I would encourage everyone to attend a dialogue one day!

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