New task force forms to address racial and social injustice

Updated: Aug. 26, 2020 at 10:20 PM EDT
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PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A new group of people came together Wednesday to address racial and social injustice in our area.

It was the first meeting of the group assembled by former Pender County commissioner Jimmy Tate of the Mount Calvary Center for Leadership Development. It featured community leaders, leaders in education, religious groups and law enforcement.

On her second day as New Hanover County’s Chief Diversity Officer, Linda Thompson emceed the meeting on Zoom with many attendees participating virtually, saying “change begins with a simple conversation.”

Tate says a lot of community members are looking for leadership and a way to come together in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the ensuing nationwide protests.

“People really want something done about it and they want us to come together and address the issue and that’s what we’re doing,” said Tate.

“The make up of this group is extraordinary,” said Pender County NAACP President Rev. Dante Murphy. “I think you have people that are well, representative of every walk in life when it comes to our local community.”

Some are ready to speak up—and others are ready to listen and engage in intimate conversation.

“We have an opportunity to have an open dialogue as to how we live and react and interface with one with the other,” said Pender County Commissioner Jackie Newton.

The group has representatives from Pender, Duplin and New Hanover counties.

Wallace Police Chief James Crayton said, “I and everyone else in this country can be better and until we all recognize that and start doing what we can to be better, we’re going to keep treading water and not advance.”

The task force plans to meet monthly and intends to break into smaller groups to address specific issues and tasks, but it is the action they hope will come next that many are looking forward to.

“We must remember that meeting alone, meetings alone, do not change culture,” Murphy said. “We must not only talk the talk but we’ve gotta get to a point of talking the walk, but then our greatest challenge is walking the walk.”

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