Campus Outreach held its first “Race and Grace” series meeting on Feb.16 in the Campus Center Ballroom. The series sparked a rather large turnout as students piled in to hear from the panelists Jason Williams, Rickey Hunley, Ben Weber and Felix Moten.

Williams founded the Aspire Movement, an organization geared towards helping and equipping the next generation of urban leaders in Birmingham, Al.. Hunley is the linebackers’ coach at UWG and academic coordinator for the football team. Weber is the local director for Campus Outreach and also serves as the chaplain for the UWG football team. Moten is the senior pastor of Word of Truth Christian Church in Bremen, Ga..

“I believe the series facilitated by Campus Outreach is courageous, diverse and relevant,” said Moten. “I had the privilege of being a panelist at several events over the years at UWG. I must say that of all of them, ‘Race and Grace’ was the most successful and well attended.”

The meeting was an hour long and consisted of the panelists introducing themselves and explaining how they have personally dealt with racism within in their own lives.

“I essentially grew up with one foot in a very underprivileged area in a predominately black neighborhood where my first friend, first babysitter and first girlfriend was black,” said Weber during the panel, “while my other foot was in a predominately white area of privileged people where I attended school.”

Williams also recalled instances where race affected him personally. Williams and his wife, an , attended a charity event where people donate toys to underprivileged families.

“The women who greeted my wife and I led her to the table to pick out presents while they led me to donate. They assumed that here was this single black mother getting presents for her children, when in reality, we were there to donate gifts ”

After students heard how race personally affected each of the panelists, they had the opportunity to text in questions.

Students also approached Moten after the panel with more questions.

“In each of these discussions, the positive thing I took note of was there seemed to be a genuine desire in each participant to understand the position of the others,” said Moten. “In my opinion, opening the lines of communication and seeking to understand our differences are key catalysts to seeing any significant racial reconciliation.

“I applaud Campus Outreach for being so willing and so courageous to tackle this subject,” continued Moten. “I am certain to some degree they run the risk of coming under scrutiny within racial and religious circles. I thank the organization as a whole and all of its individual components for not shrinking back from this subject and further validating the authenticity of their own character, integrity and faith.”

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