'In Their Name' coalition holds first meeting

Monday, September 24th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Reaching out to people of Middle Eastern descent is the goal of a new coalition in Tulsa - which met for the first time Sunday afternoon. News on Six reporter Heather Brooker has an exclusive look at a group of people coming together in the name of those who died and for those who live in fear.

People of all ages, races and backgrounds came to show their support of a new coalition designed to open relations with people of Middle Eastern decent. Coalition organizer Mike McPherson, "What we would like to do is establish some kind of outreach and discourse with people who have traditionally been closed." McPherson says he calls the coalition "In Their Name" in honor of the people who died on September 11th. "In Their Name, what we're going to do is try to get a coalition together that will keep those idea's alive and not let those principle's that we're built on be lost in the tragedy."

Volunteers say they agree with the idea, and want to be a part of bringing the community together. Retired social worker, Gary Wilson, "I think it's important to show support for all Americans if they're having trouble. And this is a good way to do that." The group hopes to reach out through local schools, dinners, and Muslim religious organizations. They also plan to set up a phone network that allows volunteers to assist Muslims when needed. One teacher, Donna Barlow, says she wants to dispel pre-conceived ideas about Middle Eastern cultures. "I think that it's important to teach students about different cultures and de-bunk the myths." Charlene Catterlin, who has a son in the military, says, "The best thing we can do as a community is to stand up and say not here." McPherson adds, "That is to me the greatest gift of America that we can take a tragedy and turn it into a positive.”

If you'd like more information about joining 'In Their Name', you can call the coalition at 284-4874 OR 592-3206.