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Clarksburg to join in 'Undoing Racism Day' observance

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

Clarksburg is joining the ranks of more than 300 other cities across the nation this Wednesday, when local officials and residents gather to celebrate "Undoing Racism Day."

The commemoration begins at noon at the Harrison County Courthouse Plaza. Mayor David Kates will kick off the National League of Cities campaign to fight racism in America.

"This is open for the public and we want as many people to come as possible," said City Councilman Jim Hunt.

The ceremony will last approximately 30 minutes, and participants will be invited to sign a large placard to be displayed in the Clarksburg Municipal Building.

Those attending will join hands around the courthouse plaza to signify unity and symbolize the cities across the country linking together to combat racism.

"It will be a visible indicator of the support of the citizens of Clarksburg," Hunt said. "Our goal is to improve the awareness of the efforts to undo racism and to open up community dialogue so people can discuss racism."

Kates and other government officials will sign a proclamation to be sent to Washington, D.C., for display at the National League of Cities offices.

"This is not just a one time thing," Hunt said. "Our goal is to continue the effort on an ongoing basis to give the public the opportunity to learn and discuss."

Hunt and Kates have been instrumental in helping Clarksburg work toward addressing issues of diversity and racial unity. The pair were recognized nationally for their work in creating the Unity Project, a civil rights effort which included student essay projects and public readings at the Martin Luther King Day celebration, Hunt said. The project is aimed at supporting community efforts to educate citizens on racial unity.

"We began the Unity Project last October before the KKK announced they were coming," Hunt said. "It has sparked a national study about Clarksburg and its efforts in this project."

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is conducting the study and it is being funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or by e-mail at jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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