Building Bridges launches inter-racial online forum

CONTACT: Kathryn Liss, 828-255-9263

An online inter-racial discussion forum has been launched by Building Bridges and the Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN).

Building Bridges is a non-profit, Asheville-based dialogue series on overcoming racism. Founded in 1994, the community building effort has brought together more than 1000 participants for open dialogue across racial boundaries.

The online forum will take the Building Bridges model of face-to-face dialogue to the Internet, where it can reach even more local citizens, according to Building Bridges steering committee member, Kathryn Liss.

"Our intention is to invite people with different points of view to participate as 'guest voices' and respond to comments made by on-line participants on a weekly basis, " said Liss. "We would like the conversation to be as inclusive as possible while continuing to retain the safety of mutual respect and willingness to hear one another," added Liss.

The first guest is Oralene Simmons, director of the YMI Cultural Center in downtown Asheville. A WNC native, Simmons was the first African-American student at Mars Hill College. She also founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration committee in Asheville.

"Enabling online public discussion is one of MAIN's core goals, so we're especially pleased to host the Building Bridges Forum, said Wally Bowen, executive director of MAIN."

The forum can be found the MAIN website at


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