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Race Relations Project to present two speakers

NEW BEDFORD -- "Brothers of Different Cultures," a talk by Iranian native Hooshmand Afshar and South Carolina native William "Smitty" Smith, will be presented by the New Bedford Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs and the New Bedford Race Relations Project.

Born five years, 12,000 miles and seemingly eons apart in terms of culture, religion and language, Mr. Afshar and Mr. Smith are in many ways very dissimilar.

Yet these two men, who grew up far distant from one another, are now in their 50s traveling the New England countryside speaking of shared experiences that bridge the thousands of miles, language and cultures.

A closer look reveals similarities: their status as a minority in a dominant culture and their individual and collective commitment to eradicating racial and religious bigotry through shared faith. Their talk is scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. at New Bedford Free Public Library, 613 Pleasant St. The program is free and open to the public.

Mr. Afshar is President and CEO of Taj Engineering, a civil engineering firm. He is chairman of the Chelmsford Alliance for Racial Justice and a member of the Baha'i Area Committee for Race Unity. Before moving to the United States, he lived and worked in South Africa and India.

Dr. Smith is the President and CEO of PEVUE Inc., a nonprofit media services company. He serves as strategic planner and media consultant to national projects promoting human unity including "Neighborhood Race Unity Dialogues." He is co-producer of the nationally distributed Baha'i TV program, "The Power of Race Unity," and producer of the PBS documentary "The Invisible Soldiers: Unheard Voices."

The New Bedford Race Relations Project seeks to create an environment in the community in which men, women and youth of all races can address each other in a spirit of open and honest discussion, free of blame and victimization.

This story appeared on Page A4 of The Standard-Times on July 15, 2003.

©Copyright 2003, The Standard-Times (New Bedford, MA, USA)

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