State panel to hold discussion on alleged racial tension in York County

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Executive Director Chad Lassiter (center) stands with the Grandview Five, from left, Karen Crosby, Carolyn Dow, Myneca Ojo, Sandra Thompson and Sandra Harrison. - (Photo / File Photo)

A state panel is taking a more assertive approach to alleged racial incidents in York County.

Following what the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is calling York County’s third hate-related incident in the past four months, the agency has partnered with public leaders and police in York City to hold a town hall-style meeting to discuss challenges the county is facing.

Over the past few months, the commission held hearings to investigate what took place at Dover Township-based Grandview Golf Club in April. During a two-day hearing on June 19 and 20, the commission gathered testimony relating to the April incident when five women golfers had the police called twice and were asked to leave the course after management said they were playing too slowly.

The state agency subpoenaed representatives from Grandview in an effort to hold an additional investigatory hearing at the end of June before making its recommendations. The commission recently withdrew efforts to force representatives from Grandview to testify on alleged discrimination.

In July, a 25-year-old man was shot and killed after allegedly defending a black patron who was being harassed at the Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge in Hellam Township.  

This past weekend, fliers produced by the Klu Klux Klan were distributed in the parking lot of the Regal Theater in West Manchester Township. The fliers portrayed a number of demographics in a negative light.

The commission is aware of the KKK activity and other incidents in York County and will be working to enhance cooperation and positive dialogue in the community, said Renee Martin, communications directors for the state panel.

Though none of the incidents occurred in the city, as one of the most diverse municipalities in the county, York City decided to step up and help spearhead the conversation, said Philip Given, chief of staff for Mayor Helfrich.

Chad Dion Lassiter, executive director of the human relations commission, reached out to York City Mayor Michael Helfrich and will hold a meeting to plan a town hall discussion.

Though no dates or locations have been decided yet, the meeting will be built around members of the community who are working to fight hate in the county and include time for a Q&A, said Martin. The goal of the meeting, she said, is to bring the community together. 

“The shadow of hate that is emerging in aspects of York will be met with social justice,” Lassiter said in a statement.


Emily Thurlow
​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com.

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