By Sharon J. Hill
In the public eye, Cobb County, GA, October 5, 2013 -- The Cobb United for Change Coalition (CUCC), or “Cobb Coalition”, has been, since 2008, addressing issues and cases of alleged injustice including human rights and civil rights violations brought to its attention by people of all races, cultures and backgrounds. As part of this mission, the Coalition has also developed a close working relationship and collaboration with the Cobb County Police Department and other county-wide departments and law enforcement agencies, with all involved reporting mutually beneficial results.
According to Coalition spokesperson and President of the SCLC, Cobb Chapter, Dr. Ben Williams, “The recent announcement of the Trayvon Martin verdict and accompanying anxieties experienced and expressed by people on all sides of the issue, in addition to the other recent incidents of violent crime in Cobb, have combined to amplify the very different perspectives on the role of race and culture in our society and community, and the real and perceived disparities involved. For this reason an increasing number of Cobb residents, especially youth but also adults of all backgrounds, have come to us seeking solutions and ways we can all work together to prevent and stop the escalating violence and societal divisions.
In order to help channel this anxiety into constructive dialogue and action, we have initiated nine lines of action, one of which is geared towards healing our community by helping people of all backgrounds understand and address the sources of prejudice in ourselves and in our community, with the purpose of building bridges of understanding and cooperation, which we feel is the first step towards solving our community’s problems. In light of the present impasse in Washington, this is even more important and timely to accomplish at the local, grassroots level, which perhaps will provide an example of how our elected leaders should behave.”
To this end , the Coalition has invited Rita Starr, founder and facilitator of the nationally acclaimed organization, Healing Our Nation Workshops (), and some of her professionally trained facilitators, to present an introduction to the “Healing our Nation Workshop: Understanding the Impact of Prejudice & Race”, which they have been conducting for organizations, corporations and municipalities nationwide for over 20 years, recognized by the “President’s Initiative on Race”, with the latest up to date research and practices. Starr states, “These workshops are facilitated in a way that is respectful of everyone’s background and culture--in other words, not a ‘blame game’-- in order to build bridges of understanding and bring communities together through the knowledge and understanding of our diversity, and they work best when the participants come from a diversity of backgrounds and opinions.