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1999 NCC News Archives

NCC "Moratorium On Racism" Set For Spring 2000

July 13, 1999, NEW YORK – The National Council of Churches plans to convene a "Moratorium on Racism" in Chicago March 30-April 1, 2000. In the works since last year, the meeting's venue was chosen, ironically, not long before the killing spree by Benjamin Nathaniel Smith across Illinois and Indiana.

The planned convocation will bring religious and community racial justice activists together for a "focused and strategic approach to racism," said Sammy Toineeta, the NCC's Racial Justice Director.

"We will explore the breadth and depth of racism and the impact it has in U.S. Asian, Indigenous, African American, Latino/a and European American communities," she said, "and develop plans and strategies for interfaith action over the next four to five years."

Chicago was chosen as the venue because it is an urban area with a diverse population, and centrally located, Ms. Toineeta said.

Catalyzing the calling of the "Moratorium on Racism" at this time have been such high-profile events as the dragging death of James Byrd, an African American man in Jasper, Texas; school shootings; the rise in white supremacist hate groups, and the on-going burning of churches and defiling of synagogues and mosques, she said. "Which part of the problem can we best address? That will be the focus of the moratorium's deliberations."

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