• Devlyn Brooks

Chira Global group's forum on community and race draws more than 40 participants last Saturday



A community forum on race hosted by Chira Global Development Organization drew more than 40 community leaders from various organizations and non-profits, who came together to talk about race, goals for the Fargo-Moorhead community and next steps.



Chira Global is an action-oriented, grassroots community building group that hosts periodic forums aimed at bringing together leaders from across ethnic and political backgrounds. The events are always free and open to the public, and they raise discussion over topics such as community, race, education and social issues.


The event held last Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead was also designed to recognize World Refugee Day that was observed worldwide last Thursday, June 20.


In the lead up to the event, Chira leaders Ezat Hayder and Harron Hayder had said the main goal of the event was to "raise awareness and foster mindfulness in regard to fighting racism towards refugees and immigrants with a positive understanding and empowerment." And the event seemed to achieve it goals, as the group of attendees enthusiastically dived into the work of talking about race and community.



Organizers divided the four-hour event into several segments, the first being a table exercise in which small groups of people got to know each other and then discuss various issues surrounding race and racism. In addition, during this first half of the program, there was time for one-on-one conversations as well. The groups diligently worked to observe a polite discourse and to afford each other tuned in ears.


The groups discussed questions such as:

* Who am I?

* Why am I here?

* What concerns me the most about community and race?

* What are my goals for the Fargo-Moorhead community?



In addition to discussions, the attendees also watched several videos on the topics of refugees and racism.


Some attendees reported that they showed up to learn more about other cultures calling Fargo-Moorhead home, while others wanted more information about overcoming prejudices, while still others wanted to help figure out how to support harmony among local residents of differing cultures.


Some of the goals that people lifted up were helping the Fargo-Moorhead community become a role model to others in terms of community relations, fostering more people to invite people of varying ethnic backgrounds into their homes, creating a safe community for people of all ethnicity, and growing cultural awareness programs in our schools and for adults.



Organizers of the event said they are digesting the written and video feedback taken at the event and will publicize their takeaways soon so that the entire community can benefit from Saturday's dialogue.



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