Starkville leaders work to open dialogue about race relations

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Community leaders are trying to open a dialogue about race relations in Oktibbeha County.

WCBI spent time in Starkville to learn more about the conversations that are starting up.

Mississippi’s dark past sometimes overshadows the strides that have been made to repair race relations.

The Starkville Oktibbeha Unity League, also known as SOUL, hopes to challenge the past and discuss the future.

“We all have to have a voice and all have a seat at the table, and we are at the table, we should be able to speak,” Yulanda Haddix said.

President of the Starkville NAACP, Yulanda Haddix said it is time to have the tough conversation, and everyone should have a chance to speak.

The Starkville Oktibbeha Unity League is looking for people who would like to come to the table and discuss race relations.

“And so our aim, you know, first and foremost is to actually just get people together to talk and to talk openly and to have a process to use to help them share in a meaningful way,” said Haddix.

Event organizer Rex Buffington said it’s sometimes discouraging when we look around and see that we’re still so divided in many ways. Yet, he has hope in the six sessions of SOUL’s “Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation Dialogue to Action” plan.

“So talking and having real dialogue and dialogue, not debate me you know, one thing that I love about dialogue is nobody can win a dialogue. You could win a debate,” Buffington said. “We will build toward at the end. Really coming together to think about what we can do to make our community better and stronger in a unified way.”

Haddix said she is excited about the events and believes they can further help the community grow in harmony

“It’s always a black-and-white issue, and it shouldn’t be. It is a community issue, worldwide issue, a state issue, and we have to change the way we believe and the way we think,” Yulanda Haddix said.

If you are interested in the Dialogue to action conversation with SOUL, call Co-Leader Rex Buffington at (662) 617-1060.

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