Alliance for Interracial Dignity discusses race in the Webster Groves community


The Alliance for Interracial Dignity group met at Hudson Elementary School on Thursday Nov. 15. The group discussed possible community initiatives involving race and ethnicity.

Darlene Smith started the night with a 15-minute talk about what it was like for her growing up in Webster Groves. After her talk, participants gathered at different tables to discuss what they learned.

Cindy Neu writes down her small groups discussion points at the Alliance for Interracial Dignity meeting on Nov. 15 at Hudson Elementary School in Webster Groves. MEGAN FAVIGNANO/The Journal

Everyone was given a sheet to fill out, which asked them to consider how the people in their lives, media, faith and schooling affected their perception of different racial groups including Asians, African Americans, Europeans, Gay/Lesbian, Hispanics, Native Americans, Disabled people and those who live in poverty. They talked about these topics in their groups. At one table, Steve Loher, Webster Groves School Board member, said over the years race is noticed less and less.

“Our kids are better than we were and we’re better than our parents were,” Loher said.

Dave Buck, Webster Groves resident, said kids are “colorblind.” His small group said children talk about other children without putting emphasis on race or ethnicity.

The goal of the meeting was to share personal stories and discuss possible improvements for eight aspects of the community. Those in attendance divided into eight different groups, which each discussed one aspect — business and employment, housing, faith, parks, family and neighborhoods, school, government and communication. After the small group discussion time, the eight groups each wrote down six issues related to their aspect of the community. Everyone voted for the two of the six issues they felt were most pressing for each of the eight categories.

The next meeting is scheduled for January 17, 2013, and will include a student panel.

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