Issues like Confederate imagery and athletes protesting perceived injustices are leading much of the conversation on race relations across the country. As MPB's Ezra Wall reports, a Mississippi group is working on racial reconciliation one person at a time.
Neddie Winters says after nearly 25 years of work with Mission Mississippi, the race relations conversation in Mississippi is poised to turn a corner.
"People are now wanting and desiring to do this, to deal with race, to understand each other, to listen to each other and do what we can to work together," Winters says.
Members of the group gathered at the Governor's Mansion Tuesday, where October was proclaimed Racial Reconciliation Celebration Month. Board member Bob Ridgeway says conspicuous issues like the state flag and the Black Lives Matter movement can be divisive. He says Mission Mississippi side-steps those issues in favor of relationship-building.
"One relationship at a time. We don't go after big issues; that divides people. What we're doing is trying to make it so people can get to know each other and say that, you have children just like I do, you have problems just like I do. Together we can work at making things as they should be," says Ridgeway.
Neddie Winters says he thinks the organization is making headway.
"I can't measure your heart, but I can measure whether or not you'll show up and participate and be a part of trying to make things better," says Winters.
Winters says Mission Mississippi will be sponsoring racial reconciliation events all across the state throughout October.