GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The key to race relations and improving them is “relationship.”
The Rev. Wayne Robinson and Dr. Steve Lucey believe they’re living examples of that, and they’re working to spread the word.
Robinson is the senior pastor at the New Millennium Christian Center in Greensboro. Dr. Steve Lucey is an orthopedic surgeon who’s practiced in Greensboro nearly 20 years.
They met when both became active in the Triad Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“He doesn’t care that I’m white. I don’t care that he’s black,” Lucey said.
“I think the unique qualities of our relationship is one where we’re candid. We’re very transparent with each other,” Robinson said. “We understand how important it is to look beneath the surface.”
And what’s underneath the surface of both men is a deep faith. Their faith was put into action locally after the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Lucey and Robinson formed a group of black and white men who met often to pray.
“[It was] just to consistently pray for our country and pray for race relations,” Lucey said. “And then Charlotte happened. That was close to home. And my thought personally was that it probably should have been Greensboro. We actually have a darker racial past than Charlotte.”
And that’s when the small group of praying friends became the nonprofit organization Mission Greensboro.
“So our desire was to create some events -- not a lot -- a few events where men could come with an appetite for relationship with a man of another color.”
So far, they’ve organized a bowling night and a large, well-attended “Protein and Prayer Cookout” at LeBauer Park downtown.
“There are so many men who have the potential to do more as leaders certainly in their homes, in their communities and beyond,” Robinson said. “So when you’re able to engage other men who have a clear vision for what that looks like, then you can see the potential of how it could grow and impact communities all over the city of Greensboro.”
At the end of each event, Mission Greensboro challenges the men to exchange the contact information with the men of different color they’ve just met. And then commit themselves to meet again and again to forge relationships.
“The root of fear is ignorance. And if I’m afraid of something, chances are it’s because I don’t know about that something or someone,” Robinson said. “If I’m willing to step out of my faith and trust that I’ll receive knowledge from an experience that I didn’t know anything about before, then the fear begins to lessen.”
If you’d like more information about Mission Greensboro and future events it organizes, check out the website missiongso.org.