C CAIR-FL In The News

Locals Discuss Segregation at Eracism Event in Bay County

By Erin Morgan, For My Panhandle.com, On 22 February 2018, Read Original
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Nearly 200 people came together for a public discussion Thursday night, but they were all sharing one goal of unifying the community.

In honor of black history month, members from nine groups including NAACP, ACURE, CAIR, The Bay County Democratic Black Caucus, and several more came together to host a public discussion to give residents the opportunity to share their stories of racism they've encountered while growing up in Bay County.

"We could not go to school together, we could not go to the movies and sit in the same place, unless you were white. You could choose, you could sit down with the white people or go up with the black people," one local, Matthew Shack, said.

Another Panama City local, George H. Hines Jr, said the public discussion was called Eracism because the goal was to educate younger generations about Panama City's segregated past, and what future generations can do to unify the community.

"It was called eracism, because they want to erase racism. The only take away is people to work together, and be together, we live in the same neighborhoods, we go to the segregated churches sometimes, we got the same Jesus, same fight," he said.

They're hoping that this will educate anyone under 30 years old about how much Bay County has changed since its integration in 1968.

"Kids can get today from yesterday is the privileges they have today are free. we had to fight to get things back in the day, but today everything is free to you. You just have to participate and be involved," Hines said.

The hosts of the event say this was just the first step of ending divisions in the community for good. 

Members of the community also heard from keynote speaker Kevin Warren, who is the CEO of Life group in Tallahassee on how they can combat racism today.

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