March 18, 2002Mr. Jones P. Byrd, President
Re: Debutantes 2002
Dear Mr. Byrd:
I hope your received the letter I sent to you on January 23, 2002 in which I requested an opportunity for us to meet to discuss WNCCEIB's concern that the debutante club unilaterally broke an agreement we thought was made in good faith in 1993 about not publicizing the Club's activities until such time as the Club is truly de-segregated.
I regret not having heard from you. I have had to assume that your not responding to the letter or to my telephone message of some weeks ago indicates a lack of desire to discuss WNCCEIB's concerns or the Club's intentions.
Enclosed is a March 10, 2002 Asheville Citizen-Times article about a regional anti-racism conference which will be held March 23 at the UUC of Asheville. WNCCEIB has been asked to lead a workshop on institutional racism and how to combat it in one's community. As you can see in the article, the debutante club is mentioned (though not by name in the article) and we plan to use our past experience with the Club and your apparent intransigence as an key example in the workshop. I would very much prefer using the Club as an example of positive upbeat change, and thus my letter to you today.
As I've said before, there is no law against private discrimination such as the Club appears to practice. But, as leaders in an increasingly diverse community, the Club (and its choice of whether to publicize and whether to reveal how to join etc.) has a community responsibility to be part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. I think this goal is especially true given that the Club has used its donation to the Community Foundation of WNC as part of its publicity-thereby, I conclude, unless there is true change in the club's membership, misusing the CFWNC's good name and Mission statement.
I hope you will reconsider your decision not to reply so that we may report a positive development at the workshop and at other public venues where the Club's actions are sure to arise.
enclosure: Asheville Citizen-Times, March 10, 2002
cc: Pat Smith, CFWNC