The 10-4 Corporation in Tuscaloosa has one goal: bringing divided societies together.

On Saturday the organization hosted a panel discussion and forum with that in mind.

“We want people to understand diversity and unity and inclusion,” said President and CEO of the 10-4 Corporation Ransey O’Daniel.

The organization also encourages open dialogue on how people of different races or experiences can co-exist and respect differences.

Residents packed the student center at First Wesleyan Church in Tuscaloosa, where community leaders addressed their questions and concerns surrounding diversity.

“The reason it’s important to me is because I think that we are much stronger in this country with our diversity,” said Mona Ochoa-Horshok, an audience member. “It has made us a richer and stronger country, and I’m afraid that some of that is getting torn apart right now.”

Former Northport Mayor Bobby Herndon was part of the panel and said he encourages everyone to embrace diversity.

“We have to have the understanding that all diversity is not bad,” he said.

O’Daniel said diversity is all about overcoming the fear of people who are different from yourself.

“There’s a fear of superiority versus inferiority,” O’Daniel said. “And most people want to remain superior, and they want the other people to remain inferior. If we help each other then we both succeed.”

Herndon said he believes people can accept each other if they try.

“People have the ability to change, the ability to diversify, but sometimes they don’t have the heart or the willingness to do it,” Herndon said. “So hopefully some things that were said today might make an influence on somebody.”

10-4 Corporation publicist Shonte Baltes said she wanted to represent the younger generation in these talks.

“We have a hard time stepping away from what we were taught, stepping away from our identities that were taught to us,” Baltes said. “So it makes it hard for us to include other people who were not originally in our communities.”


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