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April 20. 2012

Stark diversity group hires new executive director

Canton--After a 3˝-month search, Coming Together Stark County announced on April 12 that Remel K. Moore has been hired to the position of executive director of the organization.

Coming Together Stark County was formed in 1998 as the Stark County Town Hall on Race Relations, in the wake of President Bill Clinton’s visit to Akron and his call for a national conversation on race relations. Rabbi Jon Spitzer and Ron Ponder formed the agency, putting together a board of directors.

Fourteen years later, Spitzer is board chair, founding board member Lois DiGiacomo of the Rainbow Repertory Company is still active and other stalwarts remain involved. The scope of their mission has expanded. While the group continues to address issues of race, their diversity training and advocacy work run the gamut, including very active efforts on behalf of the LGBT community in Stark County.

Moore succeeds Nadine McIlwain-Massey, who retired at the end of 2011. Moore was the vice president of student life and dean of student affairs at Hood College in Frederick, Md., and headed the U.S. Education and Cultural Foundation in Liberia, as well as being the executive director of the W.E.B. DuBois Center for African Culture in Accra, the capital of Ghana.

“We are pleased that Remel has accepted the position of executive director,” Spitzer said. “We know that with her leadership, Coming Together will continue to impact all people by fulfilling our mission of serving as a catalyst and agent to promote inclusion and open opportunity for the diverse population of Stark County.”

“Today’s level of intolerance is rising at surprising levels,” Moore remarked. “There are greater instances of incivility at our work sites and in public places as well as increased bullying in our schools. Coming Together Stark County urges people, adults and youth, to view our diverse world through a lens of acceptance and tolerance.”

The group was the largest financial backer of bringing Jamie Nabozny to speak to Canton students last fall. Nabozny was the first student to sue his school district for failing to stop anti-gay bullying and harassment. The Ashland, Wisconsin district settled in 1996 for close to $1 million.

Coming Together Stark County also took the Canton Repository to task for refusing to print same-sex engagement announcements.

“Coming Together Stark County has never been recognized for what it does by the LGBT community, and this is a good time to do it,” noted a community activist who has worked with the organization.

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