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Mission Meridian group tries to heal community

By Staff
LISTENING More than 70 people attended a "healing" luncheon Thursday at Montana's sponsored by Mission Meridian. Pictured, from left, are Walter Patton, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Mildred Sanford and Ray Denton as they listen to Dr. Dolphus Weary, executive director of Mission Mississippi, speak about bringing pain to the foot of the cross. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
July 25, 2003
The executive director of Mission Mississippi said Meridian is struggling to deal with real-life situations that challenge the faith of its residents.
Weary spoke to more than 70 people at Montana's restaurant Thursday during a forum sponsored by Mission Meridian, the statewide group's local chapter. The goal of Mission Meridian is to achieve racial unity in churches.
The forum was called to help heal the community after a Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Facility employee Doug Williams killed six people before killing himself July 8.
Many people, including members of the local NAACP, believe the shootings were racially motivated.
During a press conference Wednesday, Walter Patton, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said, "It appears that race was, in fact, the overriding, motivating factor for the shooting."
Five of those killed in the shooting spree were black and two were white, including the shooter. Of those injured, two were black and six were white.
Patton said a local NAACP Redress Committee a standing committee will complete a full and complete investigation.
However, the goal of Thursday's forum was to heal and bring the community together. Some Meridian residents hope something good will come of the tragedy.
Other residents believe that correcting past mistakes and moving forward is the only way for Meridian to heal.
Killingsworth added that he is not surprised the NAACP is launching an investigation into the shootings.

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