Originally created 02/26/97

Local group seeks harmony between races



About 350 Augustans came together Tuesday at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta for the Augustans Together annual banquet.

The biracial group, formed about four and a half years ago, wants to bring down racial barriers that exist in the community, said co-chairman Mark Maund.

"Race (issues) are still a major problem, and we've got to do something about it," he said. "We have to be careful not to assume everything's OK just because you don't see a problem."

A cross section of people attended the meeting including business, religious, civic, government and educational leaders.

"The purpose of tonight is to make people aware of Augustans Together," Mr. Maund said.

Comedian Steve Harvey from It's Showtime at the Apollo was the guest speaker.

"I think it does the world good when you have blacks and whites coming together to share and exchange ideas," he said before the banquet. "I hope this will make it better for the children of Augusta. It's much needed. We still don't understand one another."

The Augusta Mass Choir, a racially-mixed gospel choir, provided the pre-dinner entertainment.

Members of Augustans Together meet at 12:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday each month at B.L.'s restaurant.

"The initial focus was to get people to interact with (people of) different races and ethnic groups," said Mr. Maund.

Co-chairman Roger Williams said now the group needs to spread the message.

"Hopefully, we'll have the same king of thing happening in the groups (these individuals) may be a part of ... their homes, clubs, churches and other organizations," he said.