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Columbia Missourian

First Ward forum to choose consensus candidate for black vote

By Catherine Newhouse
April 1, 2011 | 5:25 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA— When Tyree Byndom realized that only a small fraction of the black community was coming to the City Council candidate forums, he decided to organize his own event.

The forum is meant to choose a consensus candidate for the First Ward’s black vote. It will be Saturday at Parkade Plaza Suite 202, 601 Business Loop 70 W.

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The event also seeks to overcome divisions and start a discussion that unites local African-Americans around important community issues. It comes three days before Tuesday's municipal election.

“Each person has to search out their hearts, but this is the recommendation for the collective vote,” said Byndom, who hosts the radio show "KORE issues" on KOPN/89.5 FM.

At the forum, First Ward candidates Mitch Richards, Fred Schmidt, Darrell Foster and Pam Forbes will speak for about 15 minutes each, and an open conversation with the community will follow. The forum will be live on KOPN and Ustream, and people can ask the candidates questions and share their comments through Twitter and Facebook.

“Everyone has always said the black community isn’t united,” Byndom said. “What I see is they’re not only united but doing great things together. This is an opportunity to set aside the stereotypes, set aside the division and at least start thinking collectively.”

Byndom said the next First Ward Council representative will need to get to know the black community and understand black culture.

“This is our way of sharing the culture with them, so they don’t have to believe stereotypes,” Byndom said.

The event includes a potluck dinner set to begin at 3 p.m. with the dialogue beginning at 4 p.m. Attendees are encouraged but not required to bring a dish to share.

For more details, read about the event on Facebook.