Unity Rally seeks to end racism

Photo by Heather Watson

Photo by Heather Watson

CONYERS -- Cultural diversity awareness will be celebrated at the Unity Rally on Saturday in an effort to end racism in the Rockdale County community.

The free event is noon to 10 p.m. April 30 inside the Exhibition Center at the Georgia International Horse Park. There will be food, entertainment and activities, including a 22-foot rock climb and 61-foot obstacle course. Pony rides, face painting and spray-on body art will also be available.

Lead organizer Deborah Anderson of The Unity Rally LLC described the event as similar to a festival.

"We have an array of talent, a lot of local talent from vocalists to musicians, to spoken word, dance. It's just an array of culturally diverse activities," Anderson said.

Planners have been working on the event for about a year now.

Anderson, a special education teacher at Rockdale County's Open Campus, formerly taught at Heritage High School. And she explained how teaching partly influenced the idea for the Unity Rally.

"Our students in Rockdale County are phenomenal individuals -- very brilliant. And in talking with them, many of them have expressed to me how they're ready for this whole racial thing to end," Anderson said. "A lot of them said they have parents who are racist and they're tired of it."

The Unity Rally is a way of doing something to bring people together, according to Anderson.

"And bring them together in a way they can be educated about other cultures. Through the truth, we can eliminate some of the ignorance that leads to racism," Anderson said, calling it a mental overhaul. "As a people we must move beyond the color of our skin and hair texture. I liken it to remnants left over from the old time slavery thoughts, more like a mental slavery."

While she thinks there is some unity in the Rockdale County community, Anderson thinks there can be more.

Event-goers will be able to visit various booths for information and learn about other cultures. And Anderson encouraged the public to come out.

"It's an opportunity to come out with your friends and family, to meet other friends and families and have a ball doing it, just to have a good time getting to know other people," Anderson said.

Anderson said the Unity Rally is the beginning of more activities and programs planned to encourage cultural diversity.

Event sponsors include De'Vonne Entertainment, Copy Central, M&M Productions and Sisters4Sisters. As a fundraiser, the Unity Rally LLC held a read-a-thon in February. The 24-hour reading event was held at Club 908 in Olde Town where a contributor sponsored a chair for someone to read silently. Anderson said a little over 300 people participated as readers, including all three Rockdale County commissioners.

Anderson said it is not too late to reserve a booth at the event. For more information, call 770-648-8023.