Saturday, March 21, 1998
Day will dwell on race relations
It's time to look back, recommit

BY JOHN HOPKINS
The Cincinnati Enquirer

If you go

The Race Relations Day observance will be at 4 p.m. March 29 at Union Baptist Church, 405 W. Seventh St., downtown. The program is expected to last two hours.

Cincinnati's 10th annual Race Relations Day observance March 29 will draw hundreds of people of all races, ethnic groups and religions from across the Tristate.

The event, organizers said, takes on more meaning this year, coming just days before the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The theme is ''Human Connections for the 21st Century,'' said the Rev. Taylor T. Thompson, program chairman and pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church, Forest Park.

The program will focus on the state of race relations, not only locally, but throughout the country, said the Rev. Mr. Thompson. ''It's a time to reflect on the progress we've made over the years,'' he said. ''It's also a time for commitment and recommitment. It's a time for all of us to come together because our problems cross racial, ethnic and political lines.''

The Rev. Floyd Flake, pastor of Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens, N.Y., will be the guest speaker. The Rev. Mr. Floyd is the senior pastor of a congregation of 10,000 in New York. He is a former U.S. congressman and former member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Churchgoers will be treated to the music of The Martin Luther King Jr. Chorale and The Tri-state Interfaith Choir, a group reflecting churches and synagogues involved in earlier pulpit exchanges. The event will also recognize winners of a Student Essay Program, which invites students each year from public and non-public schools in Hamilton, Campbell, Boone and Kenton counties to submit essays. Young people were invited to explore racial incidents and possible solutions, said the Rev. Mr. Thompson. The top three essays are read during Race Relations Day, and the winners will receive scholarship awards, he said.

Last year, about 300 people attended the event at Union Baptist Church.

Race Relations Day is the Race Relations Council of Greater Cincinnati's major annual event.

The Rev. Orlando B. Yates, a former pastor at Thankful Baptist Church in Rome, Ga., brought the idea of a Race Relations Council to Union Baptist Church.