Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations

 

President’s Report

2002-2003

 


Dr. Richard Haymaker, President

Ms. Marjorie Green, Vice President

Dr. Diana Dorroh, Secretary

Dr. Daniel Yannitell, Treasurer

Rev. Philip Woodland, Immediate Past      President

 

Mrs. LaMarylis Cotten, Bd. 2003

Dr. Mary Joseph, Bd. 2003

Mrs. Joyce Robinson, Bd. 2003

 

Mr Richard Elmo Zufall, Bd. 2003

Mrs. Evellyn Albert, Bd. 2004

Mrs. Hallique Dawson, Bd. 2004

Dr. Margaret Pereboom, Bd. 2004

Prof. Mercedese Broussard, Asst. Secretary & Bd. 2004

Mr Leslie Burris. Bd. 2005

Dr. James Cross, Bd. 2005

Mrs. Dorothy Newman,  Bd. 2005

Dr. Rogers Newman, Bd. 2005

 


This year the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations has continued its long tradition of advocating for action on progressive issues that can improve the lives of all people in our community, our state and our country.

 

Annual Events

 

The Board started the year looking at a summary of the six Forums over the past three years.   Over the years the Council has sponsored an impressive list of programs and speakers.    Inspired by this, the program committee this year included Margaret Pereboom, Marjorie  Green, James Cross, Elmo Zufall, Hallique Dawson, Richard Haymaker(ex officio) and Rogers Newman, convener.

 

Fall Forum:  On November 14  we held a forum on  “School Vouchers” at the University United Methodist Church.  Rogers Newman took the lead in organizing the event and  Marjorie Green presided.   Speaking in favor were Danny Shelton with the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge and Fanny Godwin, a citizen activist.  Speaking against were Carol Davis of the  Louisiana Association of Educators and Fred Skelton of the American Federation of Teachers.  The moderator was Patrice Niquille with the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.    Arguments against: Vouchers would siphon funds from an already under funded public school system and give it to private-and selective- school
systems. Argument for: Vouchers would give students the opportunity escape failing school systems and obtain a better education.

 

Spring Forum: On May 8, we held a forum on “Issues Facing the Next Governor” at First United Methodist Church.  Margaret Pereboom took the lead in organizing the event and  Richard Haymaker presided.  It was Cosponsored by The Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues, Baton Rouge Chapter of the YWCA and the Louisiana Health Care Campaign.   The speakers were  Skip Smart Assistant Secretary, Department of Economic Development;  John Rombach, Legislative Fiscal Officer, Legislative Fiscal Office State Finances;  James Brexler, CEO, LSU Health Sciences Center, Health Care Services Division;  Doug Leyda, Board Member, The Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues;  and  Dr. Sally Clausen, President, The University of Louisiana System. The Moderator was  Karen Henderson, News Director, WRKF.     Candidates for governor Buddy Leach and Mike Stagg attended.  A summary will appear in the next newsletter. 

 

Powell Reznikoff Humanitarian Awards Dinner, April 17:    The Humanitarian Award Committee members were Mercedes Broussard, Joyce Robinson, Hallique Dawson  and Elmo Zufall, Chair.  The awards this year went to Rev. Phil Woodland and Ms. Willie C. Johnson.    Rev. Jeff Day with the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues  was  the speaker.   The Liturgical Dance Group from Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church provided entertainment.   Dorothy Crockett arranged the very fine meeting room at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield center.   A special thanks for this successful occasion in the life of the Council celebrating  the people in the community that serve as role models to all of us. 

 

Annual Meeting (June 13, 2002).  The Annual Meeting committee members were Margaret Pereboom, Richard Haymaker, Dorthy Newman, Dan Yannitell and James Cross, Chair.  There was discussion about events of the past year and suggestions for future initiatives.

 

Istrouma High Awards:   Joyce Robinson was the chair of the committee.  Awards of $50 each went to Joslyn Hayes for Academics, to Pamela Hughes for Attendance, and to Danielle Williams-Newman for Most Improved.

 

 

Other Initiatives and Events

 

Fences by playwright August Wilson:  Marjorie Green took the initiative to invite the membership to attend a matinee performance of Fences at the LSU Swine Palace Theater on September 15. In collaboration with the Robbie Madden and the YWCA we participated in a Dialogue on Race after the performance.

 

Mieko Hattori visit:  On the tenth anniversary of the shooting death of Yoshi Hattori,  his mother, Mieko visited the US on an effort to publicize efforts to stop gun violence.  She visited Baton Rouge and the Haymakers invited the Board and Officers to a reception in her honor in their home on September 24.

 

City Parish Human Resources Management:  Following the firing of  Director of Human Resources,  Richard Haymaker had a lunch meeting with the interim director, Richard Raether, to look for ways in which the Council could play a role to work for better racial balance in City Parish government.

 

YWCA Week Without Violence October 20 –26:  Holley Haymaker represented he Council participating in a forum on gun violence during this annual event.

 

Speaker on Iraq, October 17 :  The Council cosponsored an event put on by Bienville House at LSU.  Kathy Kelly  with Voices in the Wilderness was on a speaking tour of the US describing her experiences living in Iraq and her efforts to look for peaceful solution to the standoff with the US.

 

YWCA Dialogue on Race:  Hallique Dawson  participated once a week in a six week program to help people better understand how to achieve  better race relations.  The Council has helped publicize the program.

 

Monitoring Race Relations Project:   Rogers Newman  reported to the Board on a number of occasions on progress in an effort to canvass Baton Rouge on race relations.

 

Forum on Iraq, February 19:   About 700 people attended this forum titled “What Price Peace, What Price War” at LSU.  The Council was a cosponsor along with the LSU Faculty Senate, the LSU Political Science and English Departments, the Wesley Foundation at LSU, Bienville House.   There were eight speakers from many walks of life and many points of view.

 

YWCA Racial Justice Breakfast, May 2:   The Council was a co-sponsor of this annual event.  Awards went to Rev. Jeff Day and Sister Kathleen Bahlinger.

 

Baton Rouge Bus Boycott 1953-2003, June 19-21:  The Council will help publicize this conference held at Southern University and LSU.

 

HOBY, June 13-15:  Richard Haymaker will represent the Council as a speaker to the Hugh O’ Brian Youth Leadership Seminar in a session on Violence in America.

 

In Appreciation

 

I wish to thank the many officers and board members who have been mentors to me.   The large number of names in italics in this report indicate the breath of commitment in the Council.   On behalf of the Council I wish to express our gratitude to all of you and for other contributions including:

 

Diana Dorroh and Mercedese Broussard for taking careful minutes of all meetings,

 

Dan Yannitell for keeping records of our funds,

 

Dorothy Newman for serving as chair of the membership committee,

 

Leslie and Shirley Burris for maintaining the membership list and supplying labels,

 

LaMarylis Cotten   chaired the Nominating Committee, which also included Harriet Pitcher, Mercedes Broussard, David Madden and Rupert Richardson,

 

Joe McCarty and Paul Burns for putting out the newsletter,

 

The Louisiana. School for the Visually Impaired students under Marjorie Green’s direction for the many hours of preparing the mailings to the membership

 

Hallique Dawson  for arranging the Wesley Foundation meeting room,

 

and Marjorie Green has always prepared refreshments for our events, getting help from many others.

 

 

 

Our Future Efforts

 

 

  1. I would like to see us make a special effort to respond quickly to news events with letters to the editor on issues that are important to us. I would like to find ways to coordinate submittals to the Advocate to be sure that our point of view is adequately represented on a regular basis.

 

  1. I believe that we need to approach each of our labor intensive initiatives to be sure we are getting our message out most effectively.  One way is through collaborations with other organizations in the planning process. 

 

  1. We need to find ways of increasing the number of younger people in our activist circle.

 

  1. Shortly after our first Board meeting in August, I would like to arrange a meeting of representatives of the Council with Robbie Madden of the YWCA, and Rev. Jeff Day and Doug Leyda of the Greater Baton Rouge Federation of Churches and Synagogues.  We have  much in common in our missions and each of us have our special strengths.  This is one route to possibly increasing the effectiveness of our efforts.

 

  1. I think we should try to make more use of the Louisiana Council  web site  lachr.com particularly when planning our forums. We urge members to check out the very interesting historical documents that are posted there.

 

 

 

It is an honor to be part of the work of the Council

 

 

 

Richard Haymaker

June 12, 2003