Dear SEEN Community,
Happy New Year! As each of us and our community faces immediate, bodily, and scheduling challenges around the latest phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all engaged in yet one more pivot. The pandemic continues to reveal systemic inequities, and the challenges to education – providing children with the learning and social opportunities they need and those they deserve – are particularly palpable, exposing the inherent flaws in our educational systems.
Restaurants and stores downtown are closed, but we must remember that in many cases, these are seasonal closures after the busy holiday season. These are weeks to rejuvenate, to renew, to resolve, and to recommit. They are weeks of preparation and of actions.
SEEN and our collaborators at MLK Saratoga, Skidmore College’s Black Studies Program, and SUNY Empire State College are pleased to present the third in our series of Critical Conversations – Communities in Action – as a virtual event on Saturday, January 15th at noon. In this program, community leaders will help us to understand the structural inequities that impact our communities, and how each of us can imagine ourselves as agents for change and action. Stay tuned for additional information, and in the meantime, register here to join us.
This session is presented as part of MLK Saratoga’s Dr. King Celebration Weekend, a three-day series of events (in-person, virtual, and hybrid), culminating in a day of action. Some highlights include:
- The debut of new Youth Affinity Groups, a joint project of SEEN, C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, Saratoga BLM, and Camp Stomping Ground, will take place in two parts as part of Monday’s Day of Service. Teens 10-18 years of age can stop by C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios (70 Beekman Street) on Monday, January 17th between 12 and 2 p.m. to pick up a take-home art kit for the “Community Collage of Radical Love.” And then during virtual group art-making meet-ups at 3 p.m., interested BIPOC and LGBTQ+ youth will be split into two age groups (10-13, 14-18) to learn about local affinity groups.
- Temple Sinai is having a Children’s Book Drive for SEEN’s Little Free Libraries and The RED Bookshelf in Albany. On Monday, January 17th from 9 a.m. – noon, drop off your used, excellent condition children’s books for donation at their table outside Temple Sinai on Broadway. Please spread the word in your kid’s school and activities- we want to get as many books as we can into the hands of kids!
- Saturday: 10-10:45 a.m. The Puppet People will present “The Three Little Pigs – What’s Love Got To Do With It.” This hybrid event, with live performance in the Dutcher Room of the Saratoga Springs Public Library, will also be available to watch virtually.
- Saturday: 11 a.m. to noon. Outdoor Experience: Congress Spring in Congress Park. If you’re not ready for indoor group events and Zoom fatigue has set in, revitalize your body and your mind with a walk through Congress Park, and then gather at the Congress Spring (to the right from the Broadway entrance), where Dr. Joe Bruchac will share the history and traditions of Native People – past and present – whose connections to Saratoga and to Congress Park are deeply meaningful. This event is presented in partnership with Youth2.
- Saturday: 2 p.m. As part of their ongoing project series, “Erasing Spaces and Faces,” C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios will host a film screening, panel discussion, and mural unveiling at the Dutcher Room in the Saratoga Springs Public Library. The screening will be for The Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal (2016), and artist Marcus Anderson will debut his community mural, completed over the last several months. Register through the library site.
- Sunday: 7-8:30 p.m. Saratoga Black Lives Matter and C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios will be hosting a “Love, Justice & Unity” Poetry Slam at Caffe Lena.
There are SO MANY more programs to get excited about throughout the weekend, including author talks, dance, information on nonviolent protest and communication, meditations, and more. View the full schedule at MLK Saratoga’s Dr. King Celebration Weekend site!
- Color Kind, Not Color Blind. At a pivotal moment in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said he dreamed that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” In the intervening 40 years, this line has been used to advocate for a color-blind society, but this is not about achieving equity or even eliminating racism. Rather, it is a way to undermine anti-racist action. In this article in Forbes, author Colin Seale guides readers through King’s radical thinking and work on a “color kind,” not color-blind society. For thoughts on how “color blind” is white-washing and presents specific problems for education, see Diverse Education’s “Dismantling the Myth of a Color-Blind Society.”
- MLK, Radical. In a 2018 piece for Teen Vogue, reissued in their “In Session: The Teen Vogue Lesson Plan” last August, Jenn M. Jackson, an assistant professor at Syracuse University, shares the ways that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was “more of a radical than we remember.”
~ The SEEN Team