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Contact(s):Carlette Hendeson
501-244-5483

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Wednesday, May 02, 2007

COMMUNITY FORUMS FOCUSED ON UNDERSTANDING AND RECONCILIATION ANNOUNCED

Little Rock Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission, Nehemiah Group to Sponsor Sessions

(Wednesday, May 2, 2007) –Little Rock is preparing to welcome the world for the September 2007 commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School. “Now is a critical time for our City to come together to have discussions about issues which may divide or separate us. To that end, Little Rock’s Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission and the Nehemiah Group will sponsor three public forums on the role of race, culture and faith in critical thinking, decision-making and conflict resolution,” said Mayo Johnson, chair of the Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission.

The schedule for the forums is:
Forum on Race: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Philander Smith College Auditorium
One Trudie Kibbe Reed Dr., Little Rock, AR

Forum on Culture: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, 2007
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall
1200 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock, AR

Forum on Faith: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Mosaic Church of Central AR
6420 Colonel Glenn Rd., Little Rock, AR

The purpose of these forums is to provide a framework for better understanding in relation to racial, cultural and faith-based grids through which people tend to view reality. Moreover, these forums are not intended to specifically address the current issues facing the Little Rock School District or to provide a setting for the promotion of related agendas. Rather, these forums will consider how such decisions can and should be made apart from contentious emotion. Therefore, organizers will provide a context for such understanding and tools for working alongside others in a variety of situations with whom we disagree. Ultimately, however, organizers do hope their efforts will encourage the greater community of Little Rock to help resolve current points of contention in the best interest of young people and the city of Little Rock.
In order to do so, the following three questions will be addressed in each forum and followed by a time of audience participation via Q & A:

1. What is race (culture, faith)?
2. What should we understand about race (culture, faith) that can help us in critical thinking, decision-making and conflict resolution?
3. How can we avoid cynicism, division and destructiveness built purely on racial (cultural, faith-based) grids in order to promote civil discourse and social harmony?

The forums will be moderated by Mayo Johnson of the RCDC and Mark DeYmaz of the Nehemiah Group. Annie Abrams will be an honorary moderator. These forums are open to the public free of charge.

For more information, contact: Mayo Johnson of the RCDC (501-244-5483) or Mark DeYmaz of the Nehemiah Group (501-562-3336)

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