I’m taking a little different approach to this week’s Around the Clock column. The events in Charlottesville last weekend have angered and sickened me. Nine years after electing America’s first black president, we have Nazi’s and white supremacists marching in the streets by the thousands?! WTF!

And while I think it’s important we talk about what happened in Charlottesville, I think it’s way more important we talk about Sanford. What happens if the Nazis show up here? Will it rip our community apart? Will the violence and destruction be even worse than in Virginia?

There’s no indication the Nazis are headed our way, and I sure as hell hope they stay away. However, we’ve been here before.

Six years ago our city was in the international spotlight for racial tensions. Fortunately, Sanford leaders and pastors in the black and white communities worked hard to keep tensions relatively calm following Trayvon Martin’s shooting and George Zimmerman’s acquittal. There was no violence, no property destruction and, as far as I know, not even a single arrest during the dozens of protest rallies/parades that took place.

But if the Nazis show up, can we count on that same peace to be maintained?

I’ve got no answer to that, but I’ve got an idea I think may help. Let’s not wait for a crisis to come to strengthen our community. It’s extremely hard to build bridges when the flames of emotions have torched reason and thoughtfulness.

So I would like to revive the tradition of the home dinner party, especially among our neighbors we don’t normally socialize with. Let’s be brutally honest: blacks and whites don’t often socialize together in Sanford. We can change that.

Organize a group, at least half of which you don’t know well, then every 4-8 weeks participate in a dinner party, rotating between homes. I’m not talking about fancy dinners with show-off menus. I’m thinking more along the lines of burgers on the grill, plates of spaghetti, a fish fry or maybe a pot luck. Keep it simple, because the food is just a gateway to building relationships. The topics of discussion can range from social issues to how the Dolphins stink yet again this season. To start off, the topics aren’t as important as the fact that we are actually talking to each other.

When we break bread in each other’s homes we get to know our neighbors, then it’s a lot easier to have conversations during times of crises, whatever that crisis may be. It sure beats ranting back and forth on social media.

I’m going to organize a group, and I encourage some of y’all to do the same. I’d like to know your thoughts and ideas, as well as your interest in participating in one of these dinner groups. Send me an email (Dan@TheBokey.com) or comment on the link for this story that I share on Facebook.

This might be a silly idea, but I don’t want to wait for the effing Nazis to come to town before we start building a #BetterSanford.

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