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Community Discussion

Monday evenings | 7:00 pm | beginning May 17

The Barnesville / Lamar community is invited to a community-wide discussion on racial reconciliation, centered around the book, “Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (And Other Conversations About Race)” by Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD. 


James Butler, Denise Groll and Cyndi McDonald will moderate the discussions.

“The author defines racism and speaks from that shared definition. She helps promote awareness involving perspectives associated with each race. The book is not intimidating,” explained James Butler, when asked why he chose the book for the study. Butler has lived in Barnesville his entire life, has a B.S. and two masters degrees in psychology, works as a professional land surveyor, and was recently elected to the school board. He describes race relations in our community as “one of growth and continued improvement. There are so many good things about Lamar County. When misunderstandings arise, it’s often unintentional. These conversations will help us all become more aware.”


“Maybe we don’t see blatant racism every day, but it exists.” Denise Groll said. "Until the playing field is even for all, there is work to be done. Our goal is to bring awareness and to discuss how we, as a society, can bring change. We must embrace our cultures, celebrate our diversity, and at the same time fight for Civil Rights for all. We need to listen to one another and to learn.” Groll, Manager and Librarian of Milner Public Library, recently moved to Barnesville from Vermont. Growing up, she spent her summers with her grandparents, who lived in Macon. Her undergraduate degree is in History, with a focus on civil rights, and she has a Masters in Library Science.


“At a time where there is division in the United States, we want to bring people together to talk honestly about our past in Lamar County, and ways to make our future better. These discussions will focus on ways to help, not blame, and how to improve race relations for the next generation,” said Cyndi McDonald, who moved to Barnesville four years ago to become senior pastor of Barnesville First United Methodist Church. McDonald has a PhD in Finance and taught at the university level before she was called to the ministry.


Books can be purchased for $10 at Barnesville First United Methodist Church, 375 Thomaston Street, Barnesville, on Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:30 am – Noon. Amazon.com also offers the book for sale. Barnesville and Milner Public Library members may check the book out for free.


To sign up, fill out the registration form on the Barnesville First United Methodist Church website: BarnesvilleFUMC.org. There is no registration fee. A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants prior to the first session, which will be an introductory overview. For those unable to attend by Zoom, there will be limited seating available in the church’s Fellowship Hall. In-person meetings are expected to be announced at a later date.


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