Tag Archives: social justice

“I am not your Negro’

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I Am  Not Your Negro , an Academy Award-nominated film by Raoul Peck, is an up-to-the-minute examination of race in America through the eyes of James Baldwin. It will be in some theaters on February 3. The trailer  reveals it to be a succinct and powerful summary of a time that some of us lived through but did not experience.

The Garden Theatre notes that major cities get it first, but that it will come here “by the end of the month.” What a great resource!

 

Ordinary Experts Needed

sidebar stories heartAre you passionate about a cause — neighborhood safety, addiction recovery, affordable education, housing and healthcare, racial equality and relations, veteran issues, incarceration and re-entry, gender issues, economic opportunity, parenting, mental health, gun control, the environment …. And do you have first hand experience with it?

A new nonprofit, Sidebar Stories, invites anyone to a free workshop this Saturday at PUMC. If you sign up, you will be called an “ordinary expert.” You will learn how to own and tell your story in a way that makes sure it will be felt by those who need to know where you’ve been and what you’ve seen.

Founded by a hospice chaplain in Bucks County, Ron King, Sidebar Stories helps people connect real life experience, storytelling and visual art. “We offer a full day workshop for people we call ordinary experts to share a personal story related to a significant social issue that has impacted their life (living on minimum wage, urban violence, disability, race relations, veteran’s issues, affordable housing, etc).” says Ron.

At the end of the workshop, you will have made a 3 frame storyboard that can be published or posted to help advocates for your cause determine policies and provide services. Sign up here for the Sidebar Stories pARTy — it’s free, and lunch is included.

A Native American saying: “It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.”

Whites see “incidents” of bias

Optimists about race are more likely to be white, writes Howard Ross, a diversity consultant. Here is a link to my post at the Not in Our Town Princeton blog, quoting Ross,  who reviews Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me.

This hit home to me. As someone who works against racial bias at Not in Our Town Princeton, I encounter some white people who deny racism exists here. Others insist on recounting their own progress toward wiping out bias and cast an optimistic light on the nation’s progress.

Ross does not call for whites to feel shame or guilt. He just asks whites to admit that they cannot possibly understand the black experience and that we are all part of a system “that is bigger than any of us.”

Writes Ross: “When even those who “make it” suffer indignities that no one else has had to suffer before, as when a President of the United States is the subject of active attempts at humiliation, or the greatest tennis player of her time is called “too aggressive,” or when hundreds of studies show that we still subtly exhibit bias in every area of life. It is natural for those in the dominant group to see incidents. Those who are impacted see an entire system that is designed to undermine them in every way.”

He tries to remain optimistic believing that, as Dr. Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

“But I can afford that hope,” says Ross. “I am white.” Here is the link to Ross’s complete text.

To gain a deeper understanding, here is last year’s Bill Moyers’ interview with Coates.

Social Justice Calendar

It’s been a busy week, highlighted by events surrounding the exhibit Freedom Summer, starting with the lecture by civil rights organizer Bob Moses (at left and reported here)bob moses library 15627635898_42dccf5699_z
And more to come —
Garden Theatre hosts a free screening of the documentary on Freedom Summer on Sunday, November 23, 1 p.m. There may be some tickets left at Eventbrite, or just show up and hope.
The Freedom Summer exhibit continues at the Carl A. Fields Center from Tuesday, November 25 to Friday, December 5. 
NIOT hosts its monthly Continuing Conversations on Race at the Princeton Public Library on Monday, December 1, at 7 p.m
Lawrence Graham, an attorney who writes about race, class, and privilege, speaks at Princeton University on Tuesday, December 2. 
A screening of the documentary “15 to Life” will be at the library on Wednesday, December 3, co-sponsored by The Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, Princeton & Trenton chapter.
There is much to be thankful for, and much to improve…