As the Rochester community, and communities across the country, continue to grapple with high-profile and controversial racial incidents, members of Facing Race, Embracing Equity (FR=EE) have announced the organization’s third annual Community Summit on Race, “Breaking Down Racial Barriers: A Community Pulling Together.”
The summit will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Wilson Foundation Academy, 200 Genesee St.
According to FR=EE, the summit has been designed to build on the momentum of the previous two summits, which the organization said drew hundreds of participants.
“We say all the time that these issues are all connected,” James Norman, president and CEO of Action for a Better Community, and co-chair of FR=EE, stated. “But, how often do we come together—judges, teachers, activists, faith leaders, and residents— to learn from one another, and to put our community’s future first? This summit is an opportunity for all of us to recommit to a better future for every community member.”
According to Norman, this year’s summit, which is free of charge and open to the public, will feature a dozen breakout sessions, focusing on issues such as:
- Policing in an environment of racial tension;
- The role of institutional racism in our judicial system;
- The historic legacy and impact of slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and discrimination;
- The operation of the school-to-prison pipeline—and how to stop it;
- And the phenomenon of white privilege, and the role of white people in confronting racism.
The following community leaders will facilitate workshops at the event: Judge Melchor E. Castro, Rochester City Court; Judge Maija C. Dixon, Rochester City Court; Judge John E. Elliott, Mental Health and Drug Courts; Judge Joseph G. Nesser, Monroe County Family Court; Elaine Spaull, Rochester City Council; Jean Carroll, president of the YWCA; and Rev. Lewis Stewart, Coalition for Police Reform, United Christian Leadership Ministries.
Organizers of the summit said the event will be an opportunity for residents to learn about the many racial justice activities occurring in the community, and how they can participate. In addition, group members said a deeper understanding about how racism continues to maintain disparities in the community is crucial to addressing violence, poverty and other local challenges.
“Our region is currently engaged in a powerful Anti-Poverty Initiative,” said Kate Bennett, president of the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and FR=EE co-chair. “This is an essential moment to have meaningful conversations that bring our community together in understanding, and in resolve.”
The FR=EE initiative was established in 2012, and developed as the result of a collaboration between the Rochester Initiative for Structural Equity (RISE), and an effort to bring the Rochester Museum & Science Center exhibition, “RACE: Are We So Different?” to the greater Rochester community.
According to organization officials, the joining of these two initiatives resulted in a broader effort, geared at both educating the community about the constructed nature of racial and ethnic concepts, as well as engaging residents in a longer-term commitment to eliminate social disparities that have become intertwined with these concepts.
Individuals who are interested in attending the summit may register at www.faceraceroc.org/summit2015, or call (585) 325-5116, extension 1732.