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Minorities urged to keep moving ahead

February 22, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

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Helen PetersMinorities urged to keep moving ahead

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - It's been 44 years since the Supreme Court ruled against segregation. Since then, minorities have made significant progress - people of different races now work together, live in the same neighborhoods and marry one another.

Yet problems persist, said Helen Peters, an associate professor at Shepherd College.

Some examples she gave Sunday:




* One in 10 black men go to jail.

* A Harvard University study shows Caucasians are willing to pay 13 percent more for homes in all-white neighborhoods.

* The African-American mayor in Stone Mountain, Ga., has found burning crosses on his lawn three times.

During the 22nd annual Soul Food program at Wainwright Baptist Church, Peters said African-Americans have come a long way since the civil rights movement, but much work needs to be done.

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African-Americans shouldn't be content with the status quo, she said, and need to work together with other minorities to ensure equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of sex or race.

"In coming this long way, we have become complacent," Peters said. "We have become satisfied."

Peters urged those at the celebration to work with other disenfranchised groups - women, Hispanics, Asians - to find common causes, then give back to the community when they reach their goals.

"We need to pull together instead of pulling apart," Peters said.

The purpose of the soul food celebration Sunday was to take pride in African-American history, to remember the heritage and look toward the future, said the Rev. Walter Jackson.

About 100 people attended the celebratory service followed by a buffet, including members of the Jefferson County National Advancement for the Association of Colored people and the newly-formed Shepherd College chapter of the NAACP.

Tony Nardolillo, a Hispanic junior at Shepherd College and president of the school's chapter, said people shouldn't be judged by their color, but instead recognized and appreciated.

"If you're black, Hispanic, white, you should know your past, but color shouldn't be a basis for judgment," Nardolillo said.

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