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Youth Summit Teaches Acceptance Of All Races

HARRISON, AR. --- For over a century, a racial stigma has hovered over the town of Harrison. City leaders are trying to let folks know that's not the image they want. On Wednesday, teachers and students visited the town to learn more about acceptance.
HARRISON, AR. ---- Shateria Lewis and her classmates drove from Pine Bluff to North Arkansas for the Nonviolent Youth Summit on Wednesday.

"My first impression was like 'I hope they welcome us there and not try to do nothing to us," said Lewis. "At first I was thinking everyone would look at us differently."

Harrison's racially charged reputation is one that the city and Arkansas' Martin Luther King Jr. Commission are trying to clear.

"The view on this town is racism, that is from everybody else's perspectives, but it's really not that bad once you get here and you actually get to know it," said Lewis.

Wednesday's summit was host to a series of life after hate speakers.

Twenty years ago, Arno Michaelis was on the other end of the spectrum, but on Wednesday he spoke about how he's changed.

"During my involvement in hate groups, I attacked people with my bare hands and hurt them severely because of the color of their skin," said Michaelis. "Today I identity as a human being rather than a white man. As such I can embrace all of humanity as my family."

Both Michaelis and Lewis look to a better life for all races in the coming years in Harrison and the rest of the Natural State.


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