Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Friday, September 30, 2005

Coming to Terms with the Past- Moving Toward the Future.

Along with Mayor ProTem Yvonne Johnson, I testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Third Public Hearing.

Here is my snapshot comments: We need to understand the past, good or bad, and learn from it for the future; how we frame discussions determines the outcome; Greensboro has PTSD to some degree; more investigative reporting is needed; Kmart is legitimate example of issue no one wanted to talk about and later many took credit for when resolved. An example that maybe we can find resolution in Nov. 3rd 1979 events.

I can divide Guilford County with four words-Billy Yow/Skip Alston. (I respect the both) but when those issues involving them the county is divided immediately. The are responsible to some degree for their actions but a reflection that we have difficult time dealing with race, poverty, and community conflict due to our history; I disagreed with the N&R reporting on the Commission in last two articles but appreciated the audio and the exchange this week in the Op-Ed section between Marty Nathan and Mike Schlosser. I appeciate Capt. Ball's testimony and front line officers that day. We also need to understand the civil trial's implications on law enforcement and learn from it.

Here are Recommendations made to the Commission

1. A clear strategy and plan is needed for distribution of the Final Report.

· Small group meetings should be held with print and television media, business and political leaders as the Final Report is released.

· The reports core findings should promote an informed understanding of the details easily glossed over by T.V. and newspaper reports.

· A vibrant web presence would maximize availability of the report and allow for public discussion of its content.

2. Commission recommendations on Reconciliation should be based on a clear set of principals to achieve desired results and can be evaluated in time.

· These principals can guide public involvement.

3. The Commission’s recommendations should address the specific need for Reconciliation and improved relationships between the African-American Community and the Law Enforcement. (This is an issue for every major urban area in the United States).

4. The Commission should explore the viability of Public Hearings on the Topic of Reconciliation and/or to communicate the Commission’s Final Report.

5. The Greensboro Human Relations Commission should have an active role once the commission’s findings are released and support the Reconciliation process in an appropriate fashion.

6. I urge Mayor Holliday to call on the Mosaic Partnership participants also to review the findings of the Final Report and make recommendations on addressing any issues regarding the need for racial reconciliation.


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