October 16, 2006
After a racially charged incident last month, Albemarle County School officials set up a community discussion to bring awareness to the forefront.
"Racism concerns me period," said Pearl Early.
She is among the 120 people who felt the same way and decided to attend the meeting in the Hollymead Community addressing diversity. The meeting was organized by Albemarle Schools and people discussed ways to embrace diversity both at home and in the school setting.
"Our kids need to also have opportunities to learn about social issues as well. This is one way to get our parents engaged in that conversation," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Pam Moran.
The need for such a forum came after an incident last month where a racial slur was written on a garbage can outside of Hollymead Elementary School. Police Chief John Miller says this type of conversation is the first step towards putting an end to these type of situations.
"Communication is the most important part of anything that happens within the community. This is the most important thing and this is a great start," Chief Miller said.
"Look at the energy in this room tonight. This is a healthy, positive community that is always looking for progression and change," said Burley Middle School Principal Dr. Bernard Hairston.
A change that Pearl Early says starts at home and filters into the community.
"I would like for us to welcome each other and embrace each others differences and to make sure that we keep that communication line open," she said.
As far as the investigation into the graffiti, Police Chief Miller says it continues. Police are investigating whether a known white supremest that lives in the area has any connections to the event. So far, there have been no arrests.