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Macon Pride & Mayor Ellis' Community Diversity Committee

11-20-02, Wednesday
Greetings all!

I'm pleased to announce the Mayor's Diversity Committee, which had stagnated over the last year, has been revived under the direction of Committee Chair Dr. Chester Fontenot, Jr.

Today, dedicated committee members were called back into action for a meeting with Mayor Ellis and Dr. Fontenot at the Macon Centreplex.

Three solid plans were carried over from last year: a Macon Pledge of commitment to diversity, the Community Diversity newsletter, and a locally produced television program. These actions will be based on the fundamental principle of educating the community about its diversity, the challenges of such diversity, and solutions to the problems of diversity.

Mayor Ellis emphasized the purpose of the committee's efforts is to grow into one solid entity of positive growth and equal opportunity for everyone in the community.

Although race remains an issue to many, Ellis hopes to eliminate the race issue entirely from the broader community challenges.

The committee will seek solutions to such issues as the state flag, school redistricting and current sales tax negotiations, while attempting to bring people together as a cohesive community.

Other key points/suggestions from today's meeting are:

  • - The Cherry Blossom Festival committee's new approach to become a multicultural festival for everyone. Mayor Ellis and the Diversity Panel steering committee have met with the new leadership of the Cherry Blossom Festival to broaden its inclusion of diverse elements of Macon.

  • - It was acknowledged that Macon has more places of worship per capita than any other city in the country. A recommendation was made for churches to begin reaching out to each other to educate congregations about the differences and similarities.

  • - It was acknowledged that the number of churches is indicative of community resistance to come together among themselves, having split off from each other because of their differences in the past. A caveat was noted that the success of the committee should not be placed solely in the hands of the churches.

  • - It was acknowledged that educational curricula contain divisive language in the teaching of history and social studies, which fails to address the class struggles that contribute to a community's division.

  • - Today's meeting attendees were participants in last year's larger Diversity Committee that stagnated in part due to lack of dedicated subcommittee leadership. It was acknowledged that their return to try again demonstrates their heightened willingness to put the necessary effort into seeing the goals accomplished.

    I'm excited once again about the upcoming opportunities for Macon's LGBT community to build a broader support & resource base, and to build sturdier bridges into mainstream culture. I've requested a seat on the steering committee so that Macon's LGBT community will have more input in the overall direction of the Mayor's Community Diversity Committee.

    Stay tuned for lots more information about Macon's Diversity Committee and the LGBT community, and how you can participate!

    Here's to a fantastic 2003 and beyond!
    Chris