3-Minute Interview: Clara Byrd Taylor

The sister of James Byrd Jr. — the man killed in Jasper, Texas, in 1998 by three white men who chained him to a truck and dragged him — will appear at 2 p.m. Sunday at Herbst Theatre in a program titled “Working Together to Reduce Racism.” For tickets, call (415) 392-4400.

How are you doing 10 years after the tragedy? Over time, the pain has lessened. You try to find a way to move on.

What brings you to San Francisco? It’s the 10th-anniversary tribute for James, and a call to reduce racism by coming together and sharing dialogue.

Why San Francisco in particular? People are open to diversity and making waves. I hope we get great support.

Is this your first time in The City? It’s the first time sponsored by the James Byrd Jr. Racism Oral History Project, which is part of the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing. I’m president of the foundation.

What does the foundation do? It provides diversity training, has a speakers training bureau, awards scholarships [and] raises funds for playground equipment in Jasper.

Have there been other tributes? One in Jasper, and one in Houston, where I live.

How did they go? We didn’t get the turnout we’d hoped for in Jasper. About 100 people came, out of a town of 8,000.

Who will speak Sunday? James’ family members, his sister Louvon and myself, and his niece Tiffany, in the first part. Next, many community and civic leaders instrumental in making change. Also, the former sheriff of Jasper [Billy Rowles] who first went to the FBI. He’s done a lot toward preventing hate crime.

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement? One person can make a difference. Change starts with your own family.

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