SEEN Weekly Update – Critical Conversations and More!

Dear SEEN Community,

Tuesday’s Critical Conversations panel, “Demystifying Critical Race Theory,” was inspiring, challenging, and invigorating! Many thanks to those who joined, and especially to our moderator and panelists. To Dr. Renata Williams, Dr. Winston Grady-Willis, Dr. A. Tina Wagle, and Dr. Anthony Paul Farley: Thank you. To each of you who joined: Thank you. And to those who are new to our mailing list as a result: Welcome!

During the panel, Dr. Grady-Willis emphasized that critical race theory is not a monolith, and it is not static. It is dynamic and varied. The panel was a demonstration of that. On the panel, professionals and experts in the fields of history, education, and law came together to share their perspectives on critical race theory with more than 160 people in our community, but in that process they exemplified the dynamism. Two said CRT was not new, that people have been discussing systemic racism in one form or another since at least 1915, and then the third argued that CRT is the only thing that is new, and the only thing to wake white Americans from their dream states to see reality. Two believed in American progress, a third did not. Discussion and debate brought the dynamism to life before us. Most inspiring was the way so many came together to keep listening and learning.

We already can’t wait for the next session in November, which will be focusing on how CRT can inform culturally-responsive, anti-racist, and inclusive teaching.

Missed the program? We will send notes from the program to all registrants and post them to our website once they are finalized.


Actions

  • Contribute. Together with our partners at MLK Saratoga, Skidmore’s Black Studies Program, and SUNY Empire’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we are committed to compensating our experts for their work – from Tuesday and for upcoming panels. To support their contributions and future programming, please make a donation if you are able.
  • Rock the Vote. SEEN is looking to participate in Saratoga BLM’s Rock the Vote event on Saturday, October 23rd, and are looking for SEEN members who may be interested in tabling. Please send an email to the SEEN account if you are able to participate.
  • Trunk or Treat. SEEN, MLK Saratoga, and Saratoga BLM are collaborating to host a Trunk or Treat event at the Dyer Phelps A.M.E. Zion Church on Crescent St. on Halloween, Sunday, October 31st, from Noon to 3 p.m. We are looking for a few people to commit to attending, decorating their trunks, and distributing candy. Ready to hand out treats? Reach out via email.
  • Black Lives Matter. Attendance is an Action. Activist Molly Dunn will have her first post-arraignment hearing on Tuesday, October 12th at 10 a.m. If attending, please arrive early to finish the security check on the 2nd floor of City Hall prior to 10 a.m.

Calendar

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Day of Rage. This Sunday, October 10, join activists in support of Indigenous People in Congress Park at 5 p.m. The term “BIPOC” includes “indigenous” with the “I,” because the nation has historically marginalized and attempted to eliminate these peoples. In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, learn how you can show your support and be an ally. Indigenous People are not just the past, they are the present and future!
  • Ellison. What does it mean to be an American? What are our responsibilities to our community and to each other? Community conversation and creative expression go hand-in-hand in these workshops through the lens of Ralph Ellison’s writings. The second meeting of our reading-discussion-art-making group, “American Politics and Community Today: Saratoga Springs,” will meet on Monday, October 11 at 5 p.m. at C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios (70 Beekman Street). We will read “Some Questions and Some Answers,” and “The Shadow and the Act,” pp. 291-309. Copies of the book are still available in the “Reading Groups” section of the Saratoga Springs Public Library. But that said, the workshops are structured for anyone to participate in the discussion and art-making regardless of completion of the readings. There is no “community today” without you. See you Monday, or join us on Facebook at “Ellison Saratoga” for regular updates.
  • Board of Education. The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 12 at 7 p.m. at Division Street Elementary School. If you are unable to attend in person, you can also stream the meeting online through the District’s YouTube channel (you read that right). You can also access that, and the meeting agendas and minutes, through the District website.
  • Combatting Anti-Semitism. Standing Up for Racial Justice is presenting a webinar on “Combatting Anti-Semitism,” on October 14 at 8 p.m. The webinar will be discussing “the role of anti-Semitism in upholding white supremacy, and how all of us can better show up in the fight against anti-Semitism and for Palestinian liberation.” Because when we show up, we show up for all historically marginalized communities. When we do, everyone is more free. 

Resources

  • Some CRT Follow-Up. Where is “CRT” an issue? In a recent episode of Pod Save the People, “Softening into Surrender,” from September 21, Sam Sinyangwe shared a recent NBC News analysis of 200+ communities in which CRT has been a lightning rod. Their commonality? They are schools that are rapidly diversifying. That’s not to say they are diverse schools, but that the change is happening rapidly (most at rates greater than 10%), and so these schools and districts are, in essence, desegregating at rates similar to schools after Brown v. Board of Education (1954). You may recall, the percentage of students in Saratoga Springs who identify as anything other than “white only, not Hispanic or Latino” has been increasing by close to 50% every two years, per enrollment data maintained by NYSED.

~ The SEEN Team

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