By AARON RICCA/The Bee
KINGMAN – The Kingman Progressive Alliance, a group promoting positive change in the city, will hold a meeting to discuss racism Monday.
Many people in the community are trying to sooth the nasty blows dealt to the town’s image after the July 22 episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who is America” painted residents as racists.
KPA invites public to “A Discussion of Intolerance and Racism in Our Community” at 6 p.m. Monday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 425 E. Spring St.
The alliance will sponsor the meeting and be joined by the Kingman United Pastoral Association (KUPA), an interfaith council that includes local Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Mormon and Muslim religious leaders.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and clergy at Trinity Episcopal clergy and members will co-sponsor the community gathering to discuss the dangers of intolerance and racism and explore possible positive actions that can be taken to confront racism and intolerance lingering in Kingman as well as the county.
“We can debate the accuracy of Sacha Baron Cohen’s depiction of our community,” said KPA member Stanfield Major. “But inarguably he struck a nerve. Sometimes it’s painful to acknowledge the truth, but sometimes the truth isn’t as simple as some would like it to be.”
He and other Kingman residents are hoping to change the perceptions of those looking at the community from the outside.
“This will provide an opportunity to share your personal experiences of Kingman,” Major said. “Both positive and negative.”
He said there are about 300 KPA followers between their Facebook page and mailing list. Monthly meetings at Calico’s Restaurant at 418 W. Beale St. fluctuate between 15 and 40 attendees.
Julya Carey is one of those members who are voraciously active in the community and attends monthly meetings, shared a portion of a mission statement draft for the Aug. 6 meeting at Trinity Episcopal Church.
“For those of us whose first reaction (as it should be) was to denounce the statements [made by the participants in the video] … for those of us who consider ourselves informed and aware, this exposure brings opportunity. We have the chance now to investigate our own biases and challenge those around us to do the same. It is time to renew our commitment to understanding each other and our neighbors. We can reach out to learn how the experiences of others differ from ours.”
Other actions proposed to face and combat racism in Kingman include organizing a rally or march, more gatherings to include community-wide potluck dinner, designing T-shirts and bumper stickers and writing op-ed pieces to local media.
For more information on KPA, visit the Kingman Progressive Alliance for Positive Change Facebook page or email Sarah Ferry at [email protected]