ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) Leaders in Rock Hill that are part of The Community Healing Initiative coming together, attending a series of workshops, hosted by The Racial Equity Institute. After the death of George Floyd, leaders wanted to start conversations in the community with the goal of moving forward and seeking equality for all.
Those with JM Cope Construction funded the two-day sessions, for the 40 participants.
Leaders coming together with open minds to have an honest conversation about race in our country and in our area.
Rock Hill’s Mayor John Gettys says, “We have to go somewhere from this. Talk is important, and conversations are important, but you do have to get to a point where you’re seeing true change come to a community, like we want to see in Rock Hill.”
Echols Law Firm’s, Chad Echols, says, “Change usually begins in peoples hearts. If you can’t take the time to know where someone else is coming from and to understand their perspective it’s gonna be real hard to buy in to the things, the hard work, that’s required to make a real difference.”
The Racial Equity Institute helps leaders and organizations dissect racism within organizations and within cities. The goal is to understand how it’s fueled in order to begin dismantling it. Something these school leaders say can begin in the classroom.
Rock Hill School Board’s Chair Helena Miller, says, “I will say that this opportunity is worth it’s weight in gold. I think that for any community to do this initiative, speaks volumes about the heart of Rock Hill and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Rock Hill School, Director of Human Resources, Gina Jenkins, says, “One thing that we have to, as adults, realize about the importance of our schools is that in our classrooms, typically is the first experiences that our students have with people that are different from them. It is the first opportunity to build those friendships, it’s also unfortunately the first opportunity to plant the seeds of bias. So we have to be very intentional about the relationships that are fostered in our classrooms and on the experiences that all of our children have and ensuring that all of our children are really postured it in a positive light.”
But the work won’t end here these groups hope to continue having these talks together and bringing them back into their own organizations.
“We have to make this foundation brighter than just 40 people. So, continuing this process with additional classes I think is an imperative,” says Mayor Gettys.
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with community leaders about what change in the community looks like.