SARANAC LAKE — Since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis, thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest racial inequities and systemic oppression that continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans. Across northern New York, communities are seeking ways to engage in the national movement for racial equity and transformational justice.
In response, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI), in partnership with Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and Adirondack Experience (ADKX), is launching the ADI’s Anti-racism Education and Mobilization Campaign.
The partners have announced a slate of virtual anti-racism events for the summer of 2020, beginning with the second installment of ADI’s Anti-racism 101 series at 6 p.m. Monday, June 29. The presentation and Q&A session, “Anti-racism 101: From anti-racist actor to ally to accomplice, how do we get there?” will take place via Zoom.
“This is a seismic moment in America,” said ADI Director Nicole Hylton-Patterson. “We must lean in and harness the palpable anger, fear and frustration of those demanding change.”
The campaign aims to engage communities in the Adirondacks and the North Country on the issues of race in America and builds on ADI’s mission to develop and promote strategies to help the Adirondack Park become more welcoming and inclusive of all New Yorkers, both visitors and permanent residents. The campaign is designed to take participants from education to action, equipping them with critical knowledge, insight and resources necessary to begin the difficult work of dismantling systemic racism in our society.
Hytlon-Patterson added, “ADI’s ability to rapidly respond to this moment is only possible because of the diligent, consistent and unwavering support of state and local officials, the ADI Core Team, my ANCA family, and individuals and organizations from across the North Country.
“As a Black person doing this work in the Adirondacks — though the last few weeks have been painful and traumatizing — I have also been inordinately inspired and energized by the willingness of the community to lean in, listen, learn and labor towards a more just America.”
The education component of the campaign includes a series of collaborative online programs, workshops, forums and town halls. Additionally, mobilization efforts will feature a new “I Am Adirondack” video and oral history projects, dialogue facilitator recruitment and training sessions, and calls to action for public policy and interest issues.
Starting on Thursday, July 2, ADI and ADKX will present “The Black Experience in the Adirondacks” online series, which will explore the lived experiences of Black people who live, work and recreate in the region. While press attention has largely focused on communities elsewhere in the U.S., Black people in the Adirondacks experience the same challenges African Americans face elsewhere.
On Wednesday, July 15, ADI, in partnership with ANCA, will launch a series of workshops geared towards parents and teens. The first workshop will provide parents with knowledge, strategies and tools to help speak with children about race and racism in the North Country and America. The second focuses on the teen voice in the region and will empower youth to become anti-racist accomplices in their communities.
The current schedule of the Anti-racism 101 and “The Black Experience in the Adirondacks” web series and parent/teen workshops includes:
6 p.m. Monday, June 29: “Anti-racism 101: From anti-racist actor to ally to accomplice, how do we get there?” Panelists: Drs. Michelle Cromwell, M. Nicole Horsley, Nicole Hylton-Patterson and Clifton H. Harcum
6 p.m. Monday, July 20: “Anti-racism 101: What does it mean to be a white male anti-racist accomplice?” Panelists: Dr. Adam Dewbury, local food systems coordinator for ANCA; Paul Hai, associate director at SUNY ESF’s Newcomb Campus; Chris Morris, owner of Tell Media; and Pete Nelson, writer and teacher at North Country Community College
6 p.m. Monday, July 27: “Anti-racism 101: White female anti-racist accomplices speak truth to white power.” Panelists: Kate Fish, executive director of ANCA; Jane Haugh, founder of Wake the North Country; Dr. Kim Irland, dean of student life and diversity officer at North Country Community College; Jen Kretser, director of climate initiatives for The Wild Center; Martha Swan, executive director of John Brown Lives!
6 p.m. Monday, August 3: “Anti-racism 101: Workshop on how to be an anti-racist accomplice.” Facilitators: Drs. Michelle Cromwell, Adam Dewbury, Nicole Hylton-Patterson
The Black Experience in the Adirondacks:
6 p.m. Thursday, July 2: “What is the Adirondack Diversity Initiative?” Dr. Donathan Brown, assistant provost and assistant vice president for faculty diversity and recruitment at Rochester Institute of Technology and co-founder of Adirondack Diversity Solutions will interview ADI Director Nicole Hylton-Patterson.
6 p.m. Thursday, July 9: “Who Are the White Community Leaders Who Organized the Adirondack Diversity Initiative – and Why?” Moderator Kim Irland will interview the four founding members of the ADI: Paul Hai; Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council; Pete Nelson and Martha Swan.
6 p.m. Thursday, July 23: “Driving While Black, Part I.” Hylton-Paterson will interview Dr. Gretchen Sorin, director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies, about her new book, “Driving While Black” (2020).
6 p.m. Thursday, July 30: “Driving While Black, Part II.” Clifton H. Harcum will moderate a panel discussion with several Black and African American people from the region on their experiences with the New York State Police while driving through the Adirondacks.
6 p.m. Wednesday, July 15: “How to talk to your children about race in America”
6 p.m. Wednesday, July 22: “Mobilizing the teen voice”
To learn more about these programs and other ADI efforts, visit the Adirondack Diversity Initiative website at www.diversityadk.org.
To register for “Anti-racism 101: From anti-racist actor to ally to accomplice, how do we get there?” on June 29, visit the ADI website or ANCA website at www.adirondack.org/Listen-in. Participants are invited to register for the live Zoom event or view a recording after the event on ADI’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/ADIyoutube.
To learn more and register for “The Black Experience in the Adirondacks” series, visit the Adirondack Experience website at www.theadkx.org/the-black-experience/.
All sessions will be recorded and posted on ADI’s YouTube channel at bit.ly/ADIyoutube.