The Richmond County Human Relations Council works hard to bridge cultural gaps among community members.
“We were established 15 years ago,” said current chair, Macie McQueen. “We work in the community to foster good relations among all cultures.”
McQueen said that the group is often asked to hold training sessions, and has met with Sheriff’s Office personnel, police departments and school faculty. The council is often asked to discuss cultural differences that could hinder communication in important situations.
“For instance, in America we’re taught that looking someone in the eye is a form of respect,” said Kimberly Harrington, RCHRC member. “In some Hispanic cultures, avoiding eye contact is considered respectful. This can cause problems when teachers are addressing students or when law enforcement is speaking to someone who won’t look at them.”
Each year, the council hosts a “Diversity Banquet” at Cole Auditorium, and invites community members to enjoy an evening of multicultural food and entertainment.
The group didn’t host the event last year, and is happy to announce that the event will proceed next Friday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, include a catered meal, and can be purchased at the door.
“It will be an evening of cultural expression, with different ethnic groups showcasing their cultures through song and dance,” said Harrington.
Some of the entertainment will include African drumming, songs and dance featuring Thomas McDonald, who is a Rockingham native and now works as a writer for the News and Observer in Raleigh; RSHS exchange students speaking about their native countries; Michael Swinney of Rockingham will be playing in the house band; Carolyn Ford, of Rockingham, will be singing; and the group is currently trying to confirm a traditional Native American dancer, along with a Latino opera singer.
Seaboard Station Restaurant will cater a spread of food that reflects a mixture of cultures.
For more information about the event, contact Kimberly Harrington at 910-205-8121 or Dot Fisher-Bynum at 910-582-0848.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.