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Greenwich Spreads Message of Tolerance

As members of the choir at the First Baptist Church in Greenwich held hands and sang in the Town Hall meeting room Friday morning, people in the audience rose, joined hands and hugged one another. It was a symbolic gesture of the message of the town’s Stand Against Racism Day: love and tolerance.

For the second year in a row, Greenwich joined a national movement by the YWCA aimed at eliminating racism. Adrianne Singer, president of YWCA Greenwich, emphasized the importance of education. “No child is born a racist,” said Singer. “Watch young children of different colors, cultures and nationalities play joyfully together at our school playground, in Bruce Park, at the YWCA … racism is made. It’s not in any of us, let’s not any of us teach it.”

First Selectman Peter Tesei spoke of the different forms bias takes. “It’s important when we think about today, we think of course of the progress that has been made in terms of equality -- racially, culturally religiously -- but also think about physically how people are discriminated against and how we should look to eradicate that by not buying into marketing stereotypes that have so prevailed our country, our society and frankly, right here in Greenwich, where people are striving for what is perfect or success,” he said.

Noelle Valentine, a Greenwich High School senior and the Boys and Girls Club Young Person of the Year, reflected on the history of racism in America and how it prevails today.

“The more we sit and watch someone be ridiculed because of the color of his skin and not do anything, it will wind up happening again and again and again. If you don’t want that to happen, then speak up. The only way it will stop is if we speak up,” she said. “It is no time for us to think that things are finished. We must ourselves be proactive whenever it arises, whether it be at home, school, the store, anywhere, especially where we live today in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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