| Program: || Eracism, New Orleans, LA |
| Contact(s): || Rhoda Faust, Chair: (504) 866-7059 |
| Purpose: || To seek ways, through person-to-person communication, to treat human beings of all colors with love and respect |
Eracism is the slogan of the group ERACE, which was formed in New Orleans in the summer of 1993 following a series of articles in The Times-Picayune, "Together Apart/The Myth of Race." The series prompted many letters and phone calls to the newspaper including a letter by a white woman who denounced the hatred displayed in another letter that was written by a white woman. She expressed a wish that more people "start getting messages to each other that we're all on the same side." A black woman wrote back offering to help her create "some sort of symbol, signal, something to let the world know that all of us aren't infected with the hate and can a find a way to work together." This woman, Rhoda Faust, and another colleague, Brenda Thompson, created the Eracism bumper that reads: "Eracism . . . all colors with love and respect" in bold black letters on a red, white and blue background, including ERACE's contact phone number.
Since its inception, the group has passed out the highly visible Eracism bumper stickers in hopes of reducing racial fear and misunderstandings within the community. ERACE also provides a twice-weekly forum for concerned people to come together to deal with the subject of racism. The purpose of the forums is to create an atmosphere of respect in which people feel free to explore perceptions, assumptions and biases without fear of ridicule or personal attack. Within the Eracism setting, participants question each other in structured conversations. The objective is to provide common ground and understanding of other people's ideas.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Over the last four years, ERACE has distributed over 30,000 Eracism bumper stickers and held over 300 discussion meetings on topics concerning racism. The feedback from most meeting participants reveals that many feel enlightened by the honest dialogue surrounding race, which reaffirms the group's belief that interpersonal interaction offers the greatest hope in the struggle against racism.