Charles Love believes communication is the thread that holds interracial harmony together.
Another factor for him is his faith journey, which he detailed recently for the congregation at Mount Tabor United Methodist Church in Northern Floyd County. He described growing up in 1960s Arkansas and witnessing race riots and general social unrest.
“I probably had a reason to hate white people because of what I saw as being injustice,” he said. “But once I got a handle on what Christ really stood for, three words came to my mind: forgiveness, faith and service.”
About the organization
Love was at the church to speak about One Community United, a Rome-based organization he participates in that champions race relations on a local level. Rex Hussmann, also active with OCU, was on hand to explain their mission and offer an opportunity for church members to receive training in uniting to address ongoing societal issues.
The organization began in 2015 during a time of “racial and social unrest in our country,” Hussmann explained. “The main effort is “to develop dialogue, discussion and relationship building … especially between the black and white community,” he said.
Small groups now meet monthly and the group is trying to grow further by reaching out to local churches. Although the organization is not faith-based at its core, its principles align closely with those of many religious assemblies, Hussmann said.
“We feel like our values are right in line with local churches and other faith groups,” he explained. “When we join together and become part of a coalition, that’s where we can make a greater difference.”
In keeping with that goal, there will be a training event at Rome First United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 7, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Wilder Center on the church campus.
Those interested in attending should call Cheryl Jenkins at 706-676-1177.
Love emphasized the group’s dedication to communication during his presentation at Mount Tabor.
“We have a motto — ‘Let’s talk,’” he said. “You can’t have an honest relationship unless you know a person … I believe in this mission, and that is to have conversations that are probably uncomfortable … We should be able to have conversations that from time to time make us uncomfortable, but we have to have honest dialogue. We can disagree without being disagreeable.”
He cited his faith as a basis for starting these conversations and for leaving behind unhealthy patterns.
“We all have this scripture to go by,” he said. “It’s our roadmap. There’s no confusion in what the Bible says … I’ve had friends come to me and say, ‘I’m sorry for holding racial bias.’ Christ convicts us through his word and his spirit.”