In an effort to bring about "unity in the community," Augustans met Saturday to discuss race relations and the need for a solution.
"The thing that is really exciting about Augusta is the great diversity of the population," Augusta Mayor Bob Young said as he addressed people at the forum, "Finding The Spiritual Foundation of Race Relationships."
"We should celebrate that diversity, and recognize that we are different but equal," Mr. Young said. "And we should appreciate all those things we have in common and use that bond to bring us together."
The discussion, sponsored by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, was held in the auditorium of Lamar Elementary on Baker Avenue. Guest speakers included the Rev. Larry Fryer, a member of the Human Relations Commission, and Maryl F. Walters of the Christian Science Board of Leadership in St. Louis.
The Rev. Fryer said racial problems are created by misunderstandings and "learned" behavior.
"The white community fears the black community. (But) in these times, we all lock our doors," he said. "The black community doesn't trust the white community. You cannot determine what someone will do to you because of what someone else has done."
The Rev. Fryer said the people of Augusta have to dare to change the racial problems in their government and the community.
"We must not play a game of 'Simon Says' and do what someone else tells us to do. Be an individual (and dare) to change what is right for our community," the pastor said.
Mrs. Walters said prayer can help bring about a positive change with race relations.
"Prayer is not the least you can do, it is the most," she said. "Prayer heals (and) leads us to the right action."
Mrs. Walters said people should identify themselves as spirits, not as material or a particular color.
"The real identity of each one of us is spiritual (because) we are made in the image and likeness of God."
Reach Albert Ross at (706) 823-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.