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Editorial: Thumbs up to fighting racism, art for a cause, creative seniors and spooky fun

THUMBS UP: More than 50 attended St. Paul's United Church of Christ's Sunday afternoon program, "Busting Stereotypes about Racism: Beyond Confederate Monuments and Racist Relatives." The program — aimed at understanding structural racism and ways to alleviate it — highlighted local experts sharing the what they contend are the key ingredients of racism in America.

The program wais entitled "Busting Stereotypes about Racism: Beyond Confederate Monuments and Racist Relatives," aimed at understanding Structural Racism and exploring ways to alleviate it.

Professor of sociology Roxanna Harlow defined racism as "a belief system that reinforces ideas about innate racial/ethnic superiority and inferiority … rooted in the ways that society functions." Harlow shared some sobering statistics about hiring practices, among other things. Other speakers talked about the history of racism, segregation and our justice system, with some shared personal and family experiences. The Rev. Dr. Marty Kuchma, senior pastor at St. Paul's. noted, "There are ways that nice people hurt other people without knowing it. … We need to look deeper at the ways racism is woven into our culture and our society, and think about how we can look deeper and make systemic changes."

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Showing love for their homeland, Puerto Rican-Americans Veronica Dietz, Rosalind Esteves and Susan Matos gathered at Meltdown DIY Art Studio in Eldersburg on Tuesday evening to join the Paint for Puerto Rico fundraiser.

THUMBS UP: Carroll residents gathered at Meltdown DIY Art Studio in Eldersburg on Tuesday to take part in a national Paint for Puerto Rico fundraiser. All proceeds support the Harimau Conservation, a Puerto Rican-based nonprofit that has partnered with ConnectRelief to open roads, restore communication on the island and help those in need after Hurricane Maria. "This is a way for us to help and give back," said Veronica Dietz, a Puerto Rican-American who lives in Westminster. According to Meltdown owner Lisa Feltz, the painting fundraiser was held simultaneously at 24 art studios around the country. All of the participants painted the same image of a famous San Juan, Puerto Rico, door. These weren't the typical customers who come to create art. Those who came out to help, like Dietz's mother, Rosalind Esteves, saw it as a calling. "I'm not an artist and I've never done anything like this before, but when I saw that 100 percent of the proceeds go to help restore the roads and communications, I couldn't resist," Esteves told us.

Integrace Fairhaven resident Carolyn Freitag, formerly of Eldersburg, worked diligently on a rug with a floral design during the Sykesville continuing care residential retirement community’s workshop on Rya rug making Thursday.

THUMBS UP: Creativity doesn't stop when a person begins receiving Social Security and we are glad facilities like Integrace Fairhaven recognize that and provide outlets for seniors like the one the Sykesville continuing care residential retirement community hosted on Thursday, a workshop on Rya rug making. Rya rug making is an ancient craft which dates back to the days of the Vikings. According to grant coordinator Laura Gillen, the workshops are part of Fairhaven's Cultivating Creativity program, which is supported by a $21,500 grant awarded to Fairhaven in 2016 by Aroha Philanthropies through its national Seeding Vitality Arts initiative. Gillen said Seeding Vitality Arts programs inspire and enable older adults to learn, make and share the arts in ways that are novel, complex and socially engaging. All programs are led by professional teaching artists. "Creativity brings joy, connection, improved health and well-being and a renewed sense of purpose to older adults," Gillen told us. We couldn't agree more.

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For you procrastinating poltergeists, we’re ready to act as your skeleton key to unlock a multitude of macabre merriments in the Carroll County scarea this Halloween season.

THUMBS UP: If you dare, there are a full slate of Halloween events Saturday in downtown Westminster. Anyone can sign up for American Legion Post 31's annual Halloween parade. It is free to march in and registration begins at 6 p.m. in front of the Masonic Lodge on Monroe Street. All participants, including vehicles, must be decorated or costumed in Halloween-themed material and remain family-friendly. The parade formation begins at 6 p.m. with the march starting at exactly 7 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. Prior to the parade, families can participate in trick-or-treating, crafts and games along Main Street from 3 to 6 p.m., ghost tours at the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Public Library starting at 5 p.m. and a haunted house inside the library from 3 to 7 p.m. Following the parade, costumed characters can take in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Carroll Arts Center at 7:30 and 10 p.m. And Rising Above Addiction's Push HOPE Project is hosting a HallowKlean SpookFest from 6 to 10 p.m. in Westminster City Park.



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