The Race Unity Group of Paducah
Many would say that we are currently a divided nation – that racial and cultural differences have split Americans apart. The Race Unity Group of Paducah strives to change that perception. This fine group of citizens meet every Thursday evening from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at Washington Street Baptist Church in Paducah. They come from different religious backgrounds, racial and cultural experiences. What they have in common is a desire to “build bridges of friendship between races and cultures.”
The Race Unity Group began in November of 2014 when a number of diverse community leaders, and members of various religious traditions, gathered to carry out the wishes of Constance (Connie) Donley. Connie and her husband Floyd are Caucasian, and for 20 years had been active in Paducah supporting the cause of Race Unity. They were both members of the NAACP. Connie was a long time member of the Interracial Women’s Group helping each year to bring the annual “Calling All Colors” one-day conference for middle-schoolers among the many other ways they endeavored to serve.
In the summer of 2014 Ms. Connie felt the need to do more in light of the terrible injustices that were happening all over the country to people of color. She met with the many leaders in Paducah who she had developed friendships with with over the years and asked them to meet on September 3, 2014 at 12 noon. She wanted to talk about what might be done to avoid conflict and build bridges of friendship between blacks and whites in our community. At about 9 am that morning, Connie‘s car was hit head-on by an erratic driver and both were killed instantly.
Those same leaders and friends vowed at her beautiful funeral to act on Connie’s final wish. Organizers worked for four months to bring the film Racial TabooTM to Paducah. It is a film that tries to uncover the answer to why it seems so hard to talk about “race” using history, psychology and humor. The filmmaker Brian Grimm understands that instead of needing to solve all the problems first before we can become friends, actually first becoming friends will help to solve all the problems!
The movie was shown four times on April 11 and 12 and almost 400 people viewed it - then they stayed for an hour of conversation to listen and talk to each other in diverse groups of ten. No one felt that an hour was nearly enough to say what was in their hearts.
Thus was born their “Continuing the Conversation” weekly meetings. They have been meeting every week since April of 2015! This diverse group of people gather to talk about whatever is on their minds and hearts. There is a lot of laughter and also very serious themes discussed. They also go out to community events as a group and get together from time to time for a meal or in each other’s homes.
Want to be a part of making Paducah a community? Join this group and share your ideas and thoughts. Be part of the healing process to make America whole again.
Visit raceunitypaducah.org for more information.