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Broome Discusses Actions Against Racism, in Wake of Charlottesville

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Over sixty Broome County residents made their way to the Decker Room of the Broome County Library, Wednesday, with the common goal of discussing necessary steps toward obtaining equality in mankind.

Nearly one month after the Charlottesville protests, staff and students of Binghamton University, as well as other local advocates, discussed the past and present implications of racism in the Southern Tier. Offering opinions on how to overcome racism for the future of Broome.

"These conversations have happened before, they'll happen again. What I hope comes out of this...an effective group of people that can challenge racism and inequality in our community," said Andy Pragacz, Historian.

According to some in attendance, the proper way to effectively discourage racism stems from changing conceptions in political power, electing officials that discourage racial division and poverty. But for others, their aim is toward the youth in Broome.

"We need to educate those that don't know our history. If we can inform them to make changes, they will," said Ahmar, BU student.

Though the ideals of non-persecution is a part of America's fabric, local advocates said the Southern Tier has seen its share of hatred over the years. A key discussion of tonight's meeting, the history of racism in Binghamton... in particular, the Ku Klux Klan. One speaker, local historian Andy Pragacz, illuminated the Klan once held a strong foothold in the county, during the 1920's.

"The [Ku Klux Klan] was a part of the social fabric. They published their newspaper from here...they marched up and down Main Street. In time, many of their members did go away, but some did not. Their ideologies of white supremacy and white nationalism remained vibrant then and remains vibrant now," said Andy Pragacz. 

Advocates for anti-racism said they will continue holding these discussions for the public. Hoping to create a larger platform to share the ideals of providing equality and the hope for a peaceful future.

"Binghamton has a long history of racism, everyone does, but Binghamton has a lot of passionate people. There's a lot of community members that are passionate about changing the narrative," said Katie Seeber, Archaeologist.