Champaign Reflects A Changing City


Champaign's HIP Champaign Addresses Race

Oscar Smith, Publisher/ HIP Champaign

HIP Champaign is a  hyper-local daily digital publication. Publisher  Smith actually wears two hats and the other one is CISM Chaplain. Several years ago I was involved in an advisory capacity to consult several neighbor who were asking me to pray with them about some "suspicious behavior” in their subdivision in Nashville, TN. This conversation became within moments racially charged and the suspicious people involved were several black males and this was a white couple who were friends as well with my wife Marsha and myself. These were males who lived with their parents in this neighborhood. The chaplaincy approach is never to act too quickly find out the facts and proceed from that basis. The outcome at the end of the day was to pray and suggest we look at these "suspicious behaviors" from a standpoint of common sense. Any discussion today of anything racial becomes easily  a thorny issue. Diversity is also a controversial dinner topic in many instances. Characterizing people as suspicious because of their race is another area we all need further understanding about. To those who have not experienced this it may seem to be nothing more than a mere inconvenience. Racial profiling in many instances has real and direct consequences. As a chaplain and as a publisher I can truthfully say being considered as a person with suspicious behavior based on ethnicity is damaging. There are a lot of people being disenfranchised and they are in fact innocent people. Our goal is to become a catalyst for constructive conversations and positioning HIP Champaign as a Change Agent. 

We exist to build up trust and tear down walls that isolate local communities.

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