WTVI recently completed its fifth year of this national initiative with the culmination of the dedication of Charlotte’s Forgiveness Garden. WTVI is one of only six PBS stations to have been awarded community-engagement grants to facilitate conversations around the topic of Love, Forgiveness and Compassion.
The symbol of the campaign is the Red Bench of Love and WTVI has partnered with various community organizations, including Mothers of Murdered Offspring (MOM-O). The group held a memorial service, at Charlotte’s Frazier Park, in honor of a female missionary slain at a Charlotte apartment complex. The station donated the use of its Red Bench for those in attendance to share a moment of understanding and forgiveness.
Charlotte’s Garden of Forgiveness
Dorothy Counts-Scoggins encountered Woody Cooper (now deceased) more than half a decade ago. It was September 4, 1957, and she was integrating Harding High School. As she walked to the door of the school she was taunted and spit on by members of Harding’s then all-white student body. Woody Cooper was among them. Although he did not shout any derogatory comments or throw any objects he felt responsible for the treatment she received that day.
Cooper wanted an opportunity to reconcile his personal feelings of guilt and regret. On June 10, 2010, Cooper’s wife, WTVI and the Red Bench Ambassadors dedicated Charlotte’s Garden of Forgiveness to celebrate The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness designed to provide a place where the community can experience love and peace. The Garden of Forgiveness includes the Red Bench of Love, a tangible symbol of the Love & Forgiveness campaign. See links for highlights from dedication ceremony. For additional info, see loveandforgive.org or contact project director Beverly Dorn-Steele, firstname.lastname@example.org