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Pa. commission confronts racism in York County with 3 town halls

Written by Candy Woodall/The York Daily Record | Sep 13, 2018 9:08 AM

Grandview Golf Club hearing.JPG

Karen Crosby, center, embraces the four other black women golfers along with supporters in prayer, following the end of the second day of the human relations commission hearing June 22, 2018. (Photo: Ty Lohr, York Daily Record)

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is launching a Social Justice Town Hall Series in York County to confront racism after four concerning incidents were reported in four months.

The first of three town halls, "No Hate in Our State," will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, at Crispus Attucks Center, 605 S. Duke St. in York. The town hall is free and open to the public. 

"Hate has no place in any community," said Chad Dion Lassiter, the commission's executive director. 

Lassiter is concerned about a resurgence of hate after four incidents that took place from April to August. 

First, five black women were asked to leave Grandview Golf Course on April 21 for alleged slow play. Former county commissioner Steve Chronister called 911 twice to have the women removed from the Dover Township course.

Then, on July 21, Chad Merrill was shot and killed outside of the Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge in Hellam Township after he defended a black friend against racial slurs.

On Aug. 11, moviegoers left Regal Cinemas in West Manchester Township to find racist propaganda from the KKK on their cars. The fliers were placed in response to "BlacKkKlansman," a Spike Lee movie based on the true story of a black detective infiltrating the KKK.

On Aug. 19, a black couple discovered a KKK flier in their driveway, calling for racial segregation. Several other residents in Dover, West Manchester Township and Red Lion also received the fliers. 

"This says there are deeply troubling pockets of hate in York County that have to be addressed," Lassiter said last month after the fliers were left on cars at the movie theater. Those fliers prompted the town hall series. 

The state commission is planning two additional town halls after the event at Crispus Attucks. Those will likely be held outside of the city, possibly in Hellam Township and West Manchester Township, according to the commission. 

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record.

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