Race in the Tri-States: Part 2

Tuesday night, we continue the second part of our special series, "Race in the Tri-States."

The first part of this series detailed one woman's experience of segregation right here in the Tri-States just 40 to 50 years ago.

Today that woman is a member and co-founder of a group, called "CARE," created to improve diversity and equality issues.

CARE stands for Citizens Advocating Racial Equality.

The group's met for 13 years now.

KHQA's Rajah Maples attended one of the meetings last month to find out what it's accomplished so far.

Is racism alive and well in this area?

Viola Majors says, "Very very alive. Very alive."

CARE Co-Founders Viola Majors and Jim Burns say when it comes to improving race relations, discussion and understanding are key.

Burns says, "I have repeatedly been surprised often by some of the things I continue to say that seem to have a racial tone to them even though that is not my intent and so when that happens in this group they call me on that. We deal with it, and I express my reasons why I did and said what I said and they try to explain to me what that sounded like to them and there's an understanding. That truly probably is the only way that racism is going to be eliminated."

CARE meets every Tuesday night at John Wood Community College. About 7 to 8 people attend on average, but the group would like to see that number increase. It welcomes anyone to attend regardless of race or gender.

What piece of advice do you want to get out there?

Majors says, "I think I would like for everyone Caucasian to not say that they're not racist because how would they really know? They have not been around anyone of color. You know, they live in their bubbles. I would like that more people would attend our Tuesday night group."

Burns says, "To get to know people who are black is the first step in understanding what racism is all about. And then ask yourself the question, whether you are racist or not whether you act racist and don't mean to or whatever it may be."{>}

CARE Co-founders Viola Majors and Jim Burns say the group has dealt with and advanced a number of issues during the past 13 years, including racial profiling and working with area media to end stereotypes in crime reporting.

Although CARE has made progress, members say they still have a ways to go to improve race relations in the Tri-States.

Stay tuned for Part III of our special series, "Race in the Tri-States," Thursday when we'll tell you about the group's future challenges.