Governor wants to see changes in racial divide - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Governor wants to see changes in racial divide

November 13, 2003


Fort Benning- When kids arrive at the Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon, they show up with homework, energy to burn and sometimes problems to solve.

Even at these young ages, they often face controversy over race.

"That's a situation where we try to train our kids to go and work that problem out before you jump to a conclusion in a situation like that," said Bob Hutchinson, director of operations for the Boys and Girls Club.

So the leaders here teach the kids how to deal with the issues. That's the same goal Governor Sonny Perdue has as he travels the state with his racial reconciliation forum.

"There's got to be an acknowledgement," Perdue said. "There's got to be a forgiveness, there's got to be an understanding and then there's got to be a moving a long together."

Thursday night, panelists shared experiences that prove racial problems still exist.

"The fear we saw during the segregation of parents fear of children going to school with black students is still very real," said Portia Shields, a panelist and president of Albany State University.

Perdue admitted it was controversy over the state flag that made him realize how bad the racial divide is. Now, he wants to see that change throughout the state.

"Take this as a charge, take the tenants of Dr. Martin Luther King and utilize those to continue to broach the subject on an ongoing basis on how we truly reconcile," Perdue said.

Back at the boys and girls club, they're working everyday to mold these young minds into open minds.

posted at 10:30 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com