BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Race is a topic that makes many uncomfortable but some people in Bedford are bringing it to the forefront.
Robert Carson says there's a divide in race and neighborhoods and its stopping his hometown from growing. "There’s this invisible separating line that what happens on this side of Main Street is black and whatever happens on this side is white."
Robert Carson is the NAACP Bedford Chapter president and still remembers growing up in the town of Bedford many years ago.
Carson also remembers growing up around Edmund Street Park. He says it’s known as the "Ball Diamond" and has been a focal point for African Americans. "We had black and white bathrooms but we were still a community unlike the community we have now," explained Carson.
Carson says his town isn't moving forward because of a past that still lingers. "The first thing we're going to need to do is stop seeing black and white. We need to start seeing people."
He’s talking about people like Shannon Dominguez. She lives in the Longwood Avenue area in Bedford but brings her children to play at Edmund Street Park.
About a year ago she found herself as a single mother raising two kids on her own. "To be able to afford childcare was very difficult. It was impossible. There's no way I could afford full time childcare for two children and still be able to pay my bills."
Her story is one many people can relate to and it's also a story that can unite people. "It's okay to not be where you thought you'd be at this point in life. It's okay to be struggling. It's okay to need help," said Dominguez.
Dominguez asked for help with childcare at the YMCA and she received the assistance she needed.
Nancy Mineo is the YMCA Childcare Director and says there are many programs available and no one is turned away due to the inability to pay. “White, black, low-income, high-income, educated, or uneducated, we're all in this together."
Mineo says there are many others like Dominguez but wonders why they're not coming forward.
All agree that it starts with feeling comfortable being a part of something even if it's out of your comfort zone and not in your neighborhood.
In an effort to bring everyone together there will be an event at Edmund Street Park on Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Also the Bedford Area Family YMCA is holding its 1st Annual Spring Fling Wing Ding on Saturday, May 21, 2016.
The event is at the Bedford Breakfast Lions Club Field 1577 E. Lynchburg Salem Turnpike from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets are $5 and children under the age of two are free (Separate tickets for beer and food).
There will be a 50/50 drawing, raffles, door prizes, food, music, beer truck, corn hole tournament, animals, bounce house, face painting, clowns, fire truck, vendor fair including local artisans and much more.
Contact the YMCA at (540) 586-3483 for more information.