On Friday afternoon along Calhoun Street, hundreds of people will form a human chain on the sidewalk.
And if it’s done right, the group will include blacks and whites, old and young, men and women, and people of all races and nationalities.
Many of them will be carrying signs, but all will be proclaiming their Stand Against Racism.
It’s a YWCA program, and Director Kathleen Rodgers would like you to join them, in the name of unity.
People across the nation also will form human chains as part of the national movement to bring people together and raise awareness that racism still exists. The human chain is part of a four-day series to promote rights, diversity and acceptance.
Rodgers said everyone can work at becoming more comfortable with different cultures. And standing next to someone in a human chain is a sure way to get that started.
Take a stand
S.T.A.N.D. — Stand Together, Acclaim A New Day, is an outgrowth of the Stand Against Racism movement.
The program kicks off Wednesday at Mosaic Cafe in Mount Pleasant with an evening of networking and sharing ideas.
A monodrama Thursday will highlight the contributions of voting rights activist and civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, and there will be a panel discussion: “Women’s Voices: Speak Out For Their Rights.” Participants include the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, A21 Campaign to fight human trafficking, and a clinical psychologist.
A “Woman to Woman: Living Longer, Living Smarter,” long-term care workshop will be held Saturday.
For details, go to www.ywca-charlestonsc.org or call 843 -722 1644.
Making one step
The highlight of the week is the annual Stand Against Racism Rally from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at the YWCA at 106 Coming St. It is free and open to the public.
There will be speeches, poetry slam, music, food, drummers and dancing.
About 4:30 p.m., the human chain demonstration will stretch along Calhoun Street between St. Philip and Coming streets.
Rodgers said individuals or groups can sign a pledge in advance to make a stand.
But simply walking up and joining the chain is perfectly OK, too.
Last year, about 125 people participated. Rodgers is hoping for more.
Reaction to the human chain has run the gamut of those who stopped and joined in, those who drove by and waved and others who refused to even look up or acknowledge the group, Rodgers said.
Overall, it has been a positive experience, she said.
Also, discrimination is more than black and white issues; it is about women’s rights, health rights and voters’ rights, Rodgers said.
We have made progress in America but until everyone is treated fairly and equally, until women make more than 77 cents for every dollar men make, standing up for rights will still be necessary.
A step in the right direction might be as simple as moving one foot outside of our comfort zone, and linking to a human chain.
Reach Assistant Features Editor Shirley A. Greene at 937-5555.