"`We shall either learn to live together as brothers and sisters, or we shall perish as fools,'" Curry quoted. "`The choice is ours - chaos or community.'"
He cited his work in his previous Baltimore, Md., congregation as a source of inspiration. He talked of hosting a Jewish Holocaust survivor in his Episcopalian congregation and mediating conflicts between the black and Korean populations.
"I saw that whenever a human being was defined as less than human, the impossible becomes possible," Curry said. "You have less value than a cockroach."
He also stressed the importance of individual introspection to the issue of race relations. "To affirm who we are, we must accept who we are, on all levels," Curry said. He discussed coming to terms with the past and personally making peace with America's history of slave-holding and discrimination.
After his speech, the audience was invited to ask questions, capitalizing on Curry's enthusiastic personality. The questions ranged from the relationship between gay rights and black rights to the link between charity work and social activism.
"His speech appealed to everyone," said sophomore SARR co-chairwoman Reena Arora. "I'm not very religious, and it appealed to me."
Members of many different faiths in the UNC community came to see Curry speak. Some, such as Sam Larent, a junior and an Episcopalian, said they came to meet their bishop. Others, such as freshman Victor Ahdieh of the Baha'i faith, came because Curry was speaking on a topic central to his belief system.
Curry was impressed by UNC's program on race relations and encouraged all students.
"You've made your choice by having this week," Curry said. "Never give up."
The University Editor can be reached at email@example.com.