Racial division and recent violence in Augusta were the focus of a Black History Month program Monday.
About 35 people met at Sand Hills Community Center for the program. Poetry and spiritual songs commemorated black heritage, and the Rev. Larry Fryer led prayer and preached on the prevalence of hatred.
“We are in slavery today when we are people who allow ourselves to be ignorant – when things are happening all around us and we cannot get involved and change our conditions,” said Fryer, the pastor of Hudson Memorial CME Church in east Augusta.
Fryer said two homicides this year at River Glen Apartments on East Boundary signify a cultural breakdown in homes, churches and the wider community.
“We have some issues here in 2012. We’ve got to change the conditions of where we are,” he said. “The only way to solve the problem we have is to do it together. Arm in arm, white and black, rich and poor, strong and weak.”
Augusta Commission member Matt Aitken gave a brief report of the commission retreat held earlier this month. Setting goals for each city district and agreeing to address problems monthly were steps toward working together, he said.
“Until we see racial reconciliation in this community, we can’t be the community God wants us to be,” Aitken said.
The program also featured a showing of ethnic clothing and a display of 20th century artifacts.