The Community Race Relations Coalition grew out of community-wide dialogues on race relations held in 1999 and 2000. The first of these dialogues was attended by about 150 people, who were divided into discussion groups of 6 – 8 persons. After sharing personal experienced, they identified areas in need of change and prioritized actions steps.
The participants in the dialogue identified 15 areas in which change was needed, including acknowledgement and assessment of the problems, networking, more dialogue, multi-cultural social events and celebration, public awareness & media, inter-faith connections, neighborhoods and housing, economic independence, eliminate racism in schools. One of the top action items arising from the group was the establishment of a commission/committee on race relations with the objective of keeping efforts to improve race relations focused and continuing, with periodic reports on progress and failures.
The newsletter “A Community Together” or ACT was an outgrowth of this dialogue.
In 2000, about 220 people attended the 1st Anniversary Dialogue on Race Relations, which consisted of 19 workshops on topics that were identified at the first dialogue.
The workshop on organizing a commission/committee on race relations recommended that the organization be:
--Serve as a resource, and
--Have no official authority
As a result of the dialogue, a steering committee was organized to plan the creation of a commission/committee on race relations. It was decided that the organization should be a coalition of organizations and individuals, so the name chosen was Community Race Relations Coalition. Mayor Linda Ethridge was asked to call the first organizational meeting, which was held on October 27, 2000.
It took about a year to organize the coalition. The first mission statement, approved in December 2000 was:
To sustain dialogue in order to raise awareness on issues of race and ethnicity in the greater Waco area and to inspire, support and recognize collaborative strategies that increase racial/ethnic equity, harmony, and understanding in our community.
During 2001, the CRRC co-sponsored The Third Annual Dialogue on Race Relations, Study Circle Project, which consisted of small groups which met weekly for 5 sessions using a discussion guide on race. The idea for the Waco History Project grew out of this dialogue.
Also during that year, the CRRC elected a Board of Directors, developed By-Laws and obtained a certificate of incorporation and tax exempt status. The Board consists of 15 members who represent a diverse cross section of the community. We do not have paid staff.
In 2002, the CRRC organized the CRRC Advocacy Council, which is made up of leaders from various businesses and organizations committed to the goals of the CRRC. McLennan Community College has been a member of the Advocacy Council since its inception.
And in 2003 after much membership involvement, we adopted a Vision for 2008 and developed a Long Range Plan for 2004 - 2008. Our vision includes growth, interracial dialogue, issues and actions, community events, structure of the organization, relationship with the community and impact on the community.
After all of this organizational work, the CRRC had a wonderful celebration event in October 2003, with multi-ethnic food and entertainment.
In 2004 we began to focus more on educational and entertaining quarterly meetings, multi-cultural events, discussion groups and diversity training. We also began collaborating with U Monthly to publish our newsletter.
In December 2004, we adopted a new mission statement: “To promote racial and cultural awareness through dynamic outreach to strengthen our community.”