Winston-Salem is an Awards for Municipal Excellence Finalist

Human Relations - September 7, 2006

Winston-Salem is a finalist for the 2006 Awards for Municipal Excellence, the National League of Cities announced. The awards recognize outstanding programs that have significantly contributed to the quality of life in their city.

The city is a finalist for "Beyond Soul and Salsa," a series of forums the Human Relations Department has sponsored to address conflict between African-American and Hispanic residents in Winston-Salem.

The forums are intended to help dispel stereotypes, identify common concerns, and examine barriers to cooperation. They have featured African-American and Hispanic panelists ranging from community leaders and corporate executives to students and workers.

Specific topics addressed in each forum were: Forum I (June 2005): Stereotypes and Misconceptions; Forum II (September 2005): Hurricane Katrina, the N.C. Lottery, Crime, and Education; Forum III (February 2006): Gang Violence and Youth and Housing Disparities and Discrimination; Forum IV (June 2006): Immigration Rights and Reform. A fifth forum will be held Sept. 27 on the topic of economic development in the Waughtown neighborhood, perceptions about attendance at 4th Street Jazz concerts, Lakeside Apartments and the Neighborhood Improvement Plan.

Wanda Allen-Abraha, the director of human relations, said selection of the series as a finalist affirms the importance of the issue. "One criterion for the awards is that they must honor programs that other communities can copy. Certainly the issues between African-Americans and Hispanics are not unique to Winston-Salem, and we are honored that our approach to this issue is a finalist for this prestigious award."

The winners of the 2006 Awards for Municipal Excellence will be announced at the National League of Cities’ Congress of Cities and Exposition in Reno, Nev., December 5-9, 2006.

More information about the Awards for Municipal Excellence is available at . For more information about the Beyond Soul and Salsa series, call Human Relations at (336)727-2429.

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