Originally created 11/10/99

James Brown tunes up for anti-hate tour

Though plans for a formal meeting had dissipated by Tuesday night, soul singer James Brown said he still intends to meet with the parents of a slain Columbine High School student and structure an anti-hate tour to reach out to students nationwide.

"I would like to be a part of something that would be a tremendous addition to solving this problem," Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Brown said he had expected to meet with the parents of slain Colorado student Isaiah Shoels at about 6 p.m. Monday in Augusta. But Michael and Vonda Shoels arrived at about 9:30 p.m. -- missing the scheduled meeting with Mr. Brown -- because they had difficulty getting flights out of Denver and Houston, said Casetta Heard, assistant director of New Hope Community Center.

New Hope is the local organization that is coordinating Mr. Brown's anti-hate and anti-violence in schools effort. The Shoelses were unable to meet with Mr. Brown on Tuesday because they left town for a videotaping in Atlanta and because Mr. Brown said that he had rehearsal at the Imperial Theatre.

Mr. Brown still is eager to meet with the student's parents and said the cause means a lot to him.

But for him, it's a problem that is larger than the April 20 Columbine High massacre.

"We want to address violence," he said. "My love and respect go out to that family, but it goes out to those in Atlanta and those in Rwanda, too. It's a violence problem."

He added that it has not been decided yet whether the tour will be a tour of music or of speeches.

For the Shoelses, joining Mr. Brown is part of a list of efforts that began immediately after the attack that claimed their 18-year-old son's life.

In May, they and their four children met with President Clinton, and Mr. Shoels asked the President for stronger gun laws and hate crime legislation.

In June, Mr. Shoels used $15,000 in casino winnings to start a nonprofit organization with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that buys back guns.

Reach Clarissa J. Walker at (706) 828-3851.


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