Racist remarks subject of community forum Wednesday

betling@thetribunenews.comJanuary 30, 2014 

The Cambria Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting Oct. 15, 2013, to celebrate new owner Alvin Ferrer's purchase of Cambria Drug & Gift nearly a year prior from John Headding. Marking the moment above from left in front are chamber board member Michael Thompson, Ferrer, pharmacy employees Brittany Searle and Lindsay Flammer, and chamber Executive Director Mary Ann Carson. In back are chamber board member Steve Kniffen, pharmacy employees Brianna Podrasky, Teri Wittenberg, Margarita Alfaro and Christie Montoya, and chamber board member George Marschall board member.


Not long after Alvin Ferrer purchased Cambria Drug & Gift on Main Street in Cambria’s East Village in October 2012, he experienced some racist reaction to his purchase of Cambria’s only pharmacy from John Headding.

Those negative experiences rankled without community knowledge until The Cambrian columnist John Brannon brought them to light in the Jan. 9 Cambrian. That column, since reprinted in The Tribune on Jan. 16, has sparked the scheduling of a community dialogue on racism.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has announced it will host a community forum from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre.

Deborah Linden, Past ADL San Luis Obispo Advisory Board Chair, will be the moderator. Panelists, ADL said in a press release, include Cal Poly Professor Dr. Elizabeth Myer; history professor emeritus and Tribune columnist Daniel Krieger; author of “Pay It Forward,” Catherine Ryan Hyde; and someone from local law enforcement.

“This is an opportunity for the Cambria community to come together and show their support for all members of the community,” said Cyndi Silverman of the ADL in a written statement. “Please join us in making our voices heard that, NO ONE should be discriminated against because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.”

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