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National Conference Defines Its Mission

March 26, 1994

When I saw the article on the results of our national survey "Poll of Minorities Finds Bias, Anger Toward Whites" in the Religion section (March 5) that depicted us an "ecumenical" organization, I thought maybe there was some confusion at the newspaper.

This confusion exists elsewhere as well. It was not the primary reason we truncated our name from "The National Conference of Christians and Jews" to "The National Conference," but it was one of the reasons. The former name must sound like a religious organization.

To quote our mission statement: "The National Conference of Christians and Jews, founded in 1927, is a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry and racism in America. The National Conference promotes understanding and respect among all races, religions and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution and education."

Stated differently, the purpose of this organization is to honestly deal with any individual or group which is or feels estranged or hostile toward another group for whatever reason. The subjects with which we deal include all the "isms" which have kept us apart and consequently shortchange the potential of the whole. Our programs bring all races, genders, ethnic and religious groups together for honest and, at times, painful dialogue.

Our work does include, therefore, bringing members of different religious groups together for understanding and dialogue. The other programs are oriented toward youth (the majority of our work), the criminal justice system--including the police and sheriff's departments, and other organizations--both for-profit and not-for-profit.

JAMES E. HILVERT

Executive Director,

The National Conference

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