Written By: John Mason 21/7/15
About 60 people gathered to celebrate diversity and a crisis resolved Monday evening at Seventh Street Park in Hudson.
The crisis erupted from displays at Columbia Memorial Hospital that contained negative, stereotyped information about black people, and what employees and the union perceived as an inadequate response by the administration.
Retired State Trooper Greg Mosley said he has agreed with the hospital to help them design a cultural diversity program “that will work.”
Cultural diversity training, he said, can be volatile.
“Here, someone made an effort for cultural diversity, but went about it the wrong way,” he said. “They made a drastic mistake in the program they were trying to introduce. This issue is very sensitive: It better be done right, or it could be a total disaster.”
Mosley said he hopes to bring someone to the table who can help them produce a good cultural diversity program — “starting with the administrator. They all must participate and be involved. It’s critical that in an environment where you work with multicultural people, you understand them.”
Mosley was introduced to representatives of hospital management and the union by Mayor William H. Hallenbeck. He said the union, 1199, had reached out to him. So he contacted his friend, Mosley, because he believed both sides could benefit from his talents.
“We implore the city of Hudson to welcome everyone for who they are,” the mayor said.
The Rev. Ed Cross, D-Hudson2, began the event with the statement, in the form of a prayer, that the recognition of racism is the first step in its treatment.
“Despite all of our differences, we find so many commonalities, Lord, give us compulsiveness to find ways to erase all the fears and thoughts of self-perceived inadequacies which lead further and deeper into this condition,” he said. “Give us transfusions of your love, tenderness and thoughtfulness.”
Dutchess County Legislator Joel Tyner did a rap piece inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, said that what we love about Hudson is that it’s such a diverse community, and said she hoped that we “embrace community and don’t resort to stereotypes.”
“There’s work to do, and everyone of us can be part of it,” said Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center Deputy Director Cedric Fulton. “This is a tremendous opportunity to embrace our diversity and include everybody. We need diversity training.”
SBK, he said, is reviving the “Time to Talk” series in hopes of bringing forth voices of the community.
Autumn and Victoria Jones sang “Amazing Grace.”
When differences are focused on, instead of commonalities, said Democratic candidate for district attorney Ken Golden, when we regard other people as stereotypes, this can lead to emotional issues, such as the anger and hatred that erupted in the shootings in South Carolina. “We should be focused on issues that unite us — dignity, respect and hope for better lives,” he said.
CMH Patient Care Assistant Tracy Smart said, “After all is said and done, I hope we will continue to fight against racism and for diversity in any place of business. We need to start communication — it’s no longer a secret to keep in the closet — so anybody can have a say.”
Supervisor William C. Hughes Jr., D-Hudson4, said he was glad the hospital stepped up and admitted its wrongs, which he called a first step to healing.
“When I go to the hospital, I want to have them provide me services as a human being, regardless of my ethnicity,” he said. Contrary to the old saying about sticks and stones, names can hurt, he said, just like symbols such as the Confederate flag.
Verity Smith of SBKSJC said she has been working on issues of structural injustice her whole adult life, but was never so motivated and inspired as in her recent work with SBK and Kite’s Nest.
“We’ve been building alliances and bridging differences over and over in the last few months,” she said.
Source: Register Star http://www.registerstar.com/news/article_85ca4eb0-2f4a-11e5-8efa-9f06a9f16b2f.html