Friday, February 1, 2008

Clergy tackle leafleting at black churches

By Mary E. O’Leary
Register Topics Editor
— Some two dozen clergy members came to City Hall Thursday to discuss how best to respond to leafleting outside black churches last weekend, which they saw as an attempt to racially divide the community over the issue of immigration.
The Community Watchdog Project, a mainly white, suburban anti-illegal immigrant group, sent 13 members Sunday to leaflet cars parked outside churches, in order to tell blacks that immigrants are taking low-paying jobs away from them.
Mayor John DeStefano Jr. offered City Hall as a place for the clergy to discuss their concerns.
"We offered a place for everyone to come together and have a discussion. It all came from concerns expressed by the community," said Jessica Mayorga, DeStefano’s spokeswoman.
Most of those in attendance said the dialogue was just beginning and they weren’t in a position to make any public statements now. One participant, who did not want to be named, said the group didn’t want to continue giving publicity to the Community Watchdog Project.
"I think, at the end of the day, it’s really a matter of: How do we live in (the) community without tearing each other down? How do we not set up the dynamic of us against them?" she said. "It’s not about what we get versus what they get, it’s about what we can all get together," Charles Pillsbury, who heads up Community Mediation, which will be the host of a series of discussions on immigration, including how racial attitudes play into it, said this isn’t the first time the leafleting has come up.
Southern Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Reform, of which the Community Watchdog Project is an offshoot, leafleted black churches on the same issue last summer.
"There is an attempt here to racialize this whole debate on immigration, to divide people and foster hate. That is concerning, but the only way I think you address it in the long run is by building bridges between communities and getting people to talk to each other, and then urging people to work together," Pillsbury said.
He said one of the concerns is to not overreact.
Dustin Gold, of Community Watchdog Project, couldn’t be reached for comment, but on his Web site he declared the leafleting a success and said 2,200 pamphlets were dropped Sunday throughout black neighborhoods.

1 comment:

Redwoman40 said...

This type of divisive behavior is prevalent throughout the country. Some Whites want to habor this hatred against the "new minority" the hispanics that are coming into this country illegally. However they don't have the courage to speak up for themselves so they're trying to use the African American to do the job for them. Gone is the day when one could convince an person of color that another individual is making things hard for them. African Americans can see for themselves(and read for that matter)what is really happening; it is a ploy to divide. As Americans we can not continue in this way! Regardless of race we are all hated by people in other smalled undeveloped countries. I wanted to make this clear as well, African Americans do not occupy the lowest paying jobs anymore. Opportunity has given rise to a better life for everyone. Therefore the illegal immigrants are not taking anything away from the "Black" community by taking the low paying jobs. I've never lost my job to anyone who does not speak english well. In my profession you must be able to communicate well. I used to live in New Haven and I'm so surprised at how "some Whites" have sunk to such a low level. I'm of Native American descent and could habor some ill feeling concerning all that have come into my country and taken it over and destroyed it's beauty. Nonetheless I am American period! I'm tried of divisive tactics that are being used. All it does is bring America, the greatest nation on earth, down!

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