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    First ever Black History program 'A New Beginning' comes to Harrison

    5:46 PM, Feb 23, 2012   |    comments
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    Downtown Harrison

    HARRISON, Ark. (KTHV) -- The Harrison Convention & Visitors Bureau, along with the mayor's office in Harrison, Arkansas recently invited the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission into their community.

    During a recent story by THV's Lisa Hudson called "Harrison Overhauls Their Image", the biggest obstacle Harrison city officials say they have in overcoming a reputation of hate is the Ku Klux Klan.  That led Harrison city leaders and the MLK Jr. Commission to make a change.

    This Friday the AMLKC along with the Department of Human Services, the City of Harrison and youth from all over Arkansas will join together for the Nonviolence Youth Summit Part IV. 

    According to organizers, "A New Beginning" is aimed at taking the first public step in repairing the City of Harrison's tarnished, yet inaccurate, image of racism the is perceived throughout the state.  The goal is to begin the journey toward a peaceful, stable, productive community where everyone feels safe and welcome.

    Thursday, a group of students and parents loaded buses outside the Gaines Street Baptist Church in Little Rock.

    DuShun Scarbrough, Executive Director of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission says, they are traveling to Harrison for a non-violence youth summit that will bring people of all races together in a city that is known for hate and the Ku Klux Klan.

    "The city of Harrison and the mayor have done a wonderful job to alleviate and dispel the negative cloud that hangs over the city and hovers over the city in reference to racism."

    Harrison Mayor Jeff Crockett and city officials have been working for some time to repair their image.

    Friday, hundreds of students, including young people from Harrison will participate in "A New Beginning" summit.

    Steven Young, founder of Artists United, says he's taking his message of unity to the summit.

    "Definitely want to show them and exude love and unity and all of those wonderful things. I am just so honored to be a part of this. Kudos goes out to the citizens of Harrison as well as the officials.

    Scarbrough says, many students are treating this as a learning experience.

    "We're welcoming everyone and everyone realizes this is not mandated, so for those who are going it was their choice to attend and who want to go to Harrison."

    For many students, this will be their first trip to the north Arkansas town and third grader, Steven Shelton says he hopes to gain a lot during his short stay.

    "Courage, and tell people I got to be in a play in Harrison"

    Scarbrough says he hopes the summit will help dismiss a lot of the rumors.

    "I think by alleviating the negativity really helps to show that the City of Harrison welcomes everyone and everyone can be treated equal."

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