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Below The Surface

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Talking about race in our community

When our program advisory team came together for the first time 8 months before RACE:Are We So Different? opened, we imagined the headlines we’d like to see in the paper after the run of the exhibit. Some of these hoped-for outcomes include:

* Conversations about race become mainstream; people of all walks of life come together to strike down racism!

* ECHO helps students, families, and workers learn to talk safely and productively about the impacts of race and racism.'

* The RACE exhibit leaves a positive legacy in Burlington.

These are powerful visions for ECHO, our visitors, and our community. After eight months of support and guidance from our advisory team, we think we’ve launched a set of  headline-worthy programs to engage the community in conversations about race.

One of the most exciting programs is the Saturday Community Conversation Series. On four Saturdays from October to January, ECHO offers $2 admission all day and provides workshops, performances, and panel discussions about race in our community. The first in the series was on October 6. The day focused on talking about race in our schools, homes and workplaces. It was amazing to see over 1000 people visit ECHO and to witness more than 160 guests singing along with Rajnii Eddins about skin color as a function of geography! More than 60 people stayed for a 2-hour conversation about how to talk about race, moderated by Dr. Emily Bernard. Earlier in the day, I witnessed honest and productive conversations during the "Talking about Race with your Family" workshop with Denise Dunbar of the Reading to End Racism program, including the difference between being “colorblind” and seeing color. The full day ended with Burlington High School students joining us for a screening and conversation about the local, student-made film, "Who Sits Where and Why?". The film focused on race issues in the cafeteria at their school.

Over the course of the day, and every day since, I can’t tell you the number of people who have thanked me, ECHO, and our amazing advisors and partners, for providing a safe space to talk and learn about race and how it affects our lives and community.

The next Saturday Community Conversation will take place on November 10. We will open our doors again for $2 and look forward to great conversations about transracial adoption, raising children of color in Vermont, and how changing demographics have impacted the Burlington Community. We invite you to join us for a line up of amazing speakers and presenters who will share their experiences and engage you in conversation about race in Vermont. Please join us!

* Learn more about our program advisory team here

* Learn more about events scheduled for our Saturday Community Conversation Series on November 10 here

* Learn more about additional programs at ECHO and at partner organizations across the Burlington community here


SCHEDULE FOR November 10


10 a.m. Doors open
10:30  a.m.  Workshop: Talking about race with your family with Denise Dunbar.
11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion: Inside/Outside: Transracial adoption in Vermont with Julian Segar-Reid, Simone Labbance, Natasha Eckart and Mary Brodsky.
12:30 a.m. Panel Discussion: Homegrown Variety: Raising children of color in VT with Laura Clemmons, Arline Duffy, Brian Hsiang, Ron Redman and Alison Segar.
2 p.m. Community Conversation: Burlington’s Changing Community with moderator Teresa Mares, Assistant professor of Anthropology at UVM and panelists Pablo Bose, Adele Dienno, Wanda Hines, Mediha Jusufagic, Jeetan Khadaka, Lea Turhun and others.
3:30 p.m.  Movie Short and Discussion: Living on the Fault Line, a film that explores the intersection of familial love and racial injustice in the experiences of transracial families in Vermont.
5 p.m.  Doors Close

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