Author Archives: laurabranca
Dorothy F. Cotton Passed Away
Sunday, June 10, 2018, our co-founder and Distinguished Fellow, Dorothy F. Cotton died peacefully in her residence, Kendal at Ithaca, with loved ones at her bedside. She was a remarkably courageous leader, an inspiring educator, a great spirit, and our dear friend. Thank you for the many kind messages that we at the Dorothy Cotton Institute (DCI) have been receiving from far and near. She is sorely missed. There will be a public memorial service for her in the future, and we will let everyone know the details once they are confirmed.
Please read the wonderful tribute to Dorothy Foreman Cotton written by her friend and colleague, Dr. Clayborne Carson, Founding Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.
Feel free to contact us:
DCI Senior Fellow, email@example.com
DCI Senior Fellow and Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorothy Foreman Cotton (June 9, 1930 – June 10, 2018)
A History of a Just & Peaceful Future
Susan and I are mourning the passing Sunday afternoon of our vivacious friend and dedicated human rights advocate Dorothy Cotton. During most of the 1960s, Dorothy was the highest ranking woman in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), directing the group’s Citizenship Education Program (CEP) at the peak of the Southern civil rights struggle. Her position placed her in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inner circle of executive staff, and she was part of entourage who traveled to Oslo, Norway, in December 1964, to celebrate King’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dorothy was a consistent advocate of the notion that movements are not built by leaders but from the bottom, at the grassroots level. As she wrote in her 2012 memoir, If Your Back’s Not Bent: The Role of the Citizenship Education Program in the Civil Rights Movement, King emerged out of a movement beyond the control of…
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Understanding “Ban the Box”: Creating a Fair Chance
Friday, 3/10/17 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Free & Open to All
The forum will bring together panelists from a cross-section of professions, including government, academia, law, and small business to discuss the ramifications of prematurely or illegally considering conviction information, and the role it may play in preventing people with past convictions from receiving a fair chance.
Campus and Community Organizing for Liberation, Then and Now
Saturday, November 5th, 2016 – 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM
at The History Center in Gateway Plaza
401 E. State Street * Suite 100 * Ithaca, NY 14850
free and open to All; light refreshments served
This is the third event in the series “Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation.” This series is a partnership of The History Center, the Dorothy Cotton Institute, in collaboration with the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library. The focus has been on sharing personal narratives and oral histories that highlight the contributions of individuals in our community who have worked on a range of issues for social justice.
Our third event will address Campus & Community Organizing for Liberation, Then and Now. We will begin with a panel of activists and community leaders who will share their work for racial equity in education, Black Studies, racial justice, and the Movement for Black Lives. After the panel, everyone will have the opportunity to share their stories of taking action. Our panelists will be Kirby Edmonds, Ms. Lucy J. Brown, and Rafael Aponte.
About the Presenters….
Kirby Edmonds is a Cornell graduate, long-time Ithaca resident and community organizer, educator, a partner with TFC Associates and a Senior Fellow and Program Coordinator of the Dorothy Cotton Institute.
Ms. Lucy J. Brown was born and raised in Ithaca, and her outspoken commitment to racial justice and educational equity spans decades. Ms. Brown is the mother of four children who went through the Ithaca City School District. She has served on the district’s Board of Education, as well as on the Board of Public Works. She worked at Cornell University for thirty years, and as one of the few Black employees, she readily gave her support to the student organizers of the 1969 Willard Straight occupation and the movement for Black Studies and racial equity at Cornell. She was a founding member of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services. The Lucy J. Brown Leadership Award was established in her honor by INHS, where she continues to serve on their Board of Directors.
Rafael Aponte has a deep commitment to education, food justice, and sovereignty. Born and raised in the South Bronx, he has over twelve years of experience working as a community activist, advocate, and educator in NYC. In 2012, Rafael relocated to Tompkins County and established Rocky Acres Community Farm in Freeville, NY . The 10-acre farm focuses on education and the sustainable production of local, culturally appropriate vegetables, herbs, meat, and eggs for marginalized communities in and around Ithaca. He is currently the acting director of the Youth Farm Project in Ithaca and a member of the working group for Black Lives Matter Ithaca (BLMI).
Hope to see you there!
phone: 607-273-8284, ext. 5
Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation
|Please join outstanding activists and panelists, Nancy Bereano, Martha Ferger, Gabe Shapiro and Nicole LaFave, and come share stories of how you’ve taken action for social justice. Free, open to everyone!
Saturday June 25th, 2016 – 2:00 to 4:30pm
The History Center in Tompkins County
Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation
A series presented by The History Center in Tompkins County & The Dorothy Cotton Institute
Ferger, left, being arrested at the site of a proposed natural gas storage expansion in Schuyler County, fall 2014
ITHACA — Join us on Saturday June 25th for the second event in the series “Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation.” This series, done in partnership and collaboration with the Dorothy Cotton Institute, will focus on sharing personal narratives and oral histories that highlight individual contributions towards social change across a broad range of issues and social movements. At this event, four panelists will share their work for change and address what they had to overcome and what sustained them. After the panel, all will be invited to meet in small groups to share their personal stories of work for social change. Panelists: Nancy Bereano, Martha Ferger, Gabe Shapiro and Nicole LaFave.
Let us know if you’re coming via the Facebook Event Page and be sure to share it with your friends!
About the Presenters….
Nancy Bereano has lived in Ithaca as a lesbian for 36 out of her 48 years here. She was the founding editor and publisher of Firebrand Books, a groundbreaking, award-winning, and nationally recognized lesbian and feminist press. Nancy has been an activist for most of her adult life, a troublemaker for all of it, and was instrumental in the passage of LGBT anti-discrimination legislation for the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County. She is a community representative on the City of Ithaca’s Workforce Diversity Committee, a member of ACTION (Activists Committed to Interrupting Oppression Now), and a participant and trained facilitator for Talking Circles on Race and Racism.
Martha Ferger moved to Dryden in 1955 at age 31 with her husband, Dr. John Ferger, and 3 young daughters. She has been active on a wide variety of public issues ever since, ranging from opposition to nuclear weapons testing in the early days to efforts to save Seneca Lake from gas storage more recently. You might have seen her picture (in a film by Earth Justice) being led away in handcuffs from a demonstration at Crestwood, or met her knocking on your door with the petition that helped persuade the Town Board make Dryden the first town in NY State to ban fracking. She has also been among the activists in Ithaca seeking to have cameras placed on all police in an effort to decrease and document abuse towards people of color and LGBTQI residents. Now, at age 92, she hopes to continue activities of this sort for a few more years. There are so many things in the world to worry about!
Gabe Shapiro is a rising third year at Hampshire College, studying energy, climate change and organizing. He works with groups across the Northeast fighting the build-out of fracking infrastructure.
Nicole LaFave is Program Coordinator, Community Service and Leadership Development at the Cornell Public Service Center. She was born and raised in Harlem, New York. At the Center for Culture, Race and Ethnicity at Ithaca College, Nicole found her passion for race relations in the US and began exploring strategies for denouncing oppressive systems. She decided to stay in Ithaca after graduating from IC because she believe this small city had the power and ambition to cultivate a space where true social change is more than possible but sustainable. She currently sits on the Ithaca City Community Police Review Board, is a co-founder and organizer of Black Lives Matter Ithaca, and is a newly elected member of the Ithaca City School District Board of Education. She holds a BA from Ithaca College in Sociology with a concentration in juvenile criminal studies, and race and ethnic relations. Her studies focused on equity issues, making the classroom and curriculum successful for children with complex needs through project-based learning.
Co-sponsored by the John Henrik Clarke Africana Library
Sharing Our Work for Social Change: Taking Action
Join us for the first event of a series presented by The History Center in Tompkins County and the Dorothy Cotton Institute titled “Sharing Our Stories of Action for Social Justice and Transformation.”
Series Kick-Off Event:
Sharing Our Work for Social Change: Taking Action
Saturday March 19th, 2:00 – 4:00 at The History Center in Tompkins County
(401 E. State St., Suite 100 — Gateway Plaza)
“Saturday will be the first of a series of community gatherings for sharing our personal narratives, and creating an archive of oral histories so that we can build the knowledge of how people achieve justice and effect change. No story is too short.” – Dorothy Cotton Institute
“Ithaca and Tompkins County have a long history of involvement in social movements and issues.” – The History Center
This series will encourage people in our communities to share their personal stories and oral histories that highlight individual contributions for working for social change across a broad range of issues and social movements. At this event, four panelists will share their work for change and address what they had to overcome and what sustained them. After the panel, everyone will be invited to meet in small groups to share their work for social change.
Carlos H. Gutierrez, Former Chilean Political Exile & Labor Community Organizer
Jhakeem Haltom, Dean of Student Life, New Roots School
Mary Milne, Fabric Artist & Local Ribbon Coordinator, 1982-85
Joyce Muchan, Former Chair of the Ithaca LGBT Task Force
There will be future events to help community members learn from one another and to highlight that we can all choose to take action. This project will include oral histories will be captured to archive the richness of action and involvement of Tompkins County residents in a variety of social movements.
The History Center in Tompkins County & The Dorothy Cotton Institute,
The John Henrik Clarke Africana Library & Cornell University Public Service Center
The Legacy Foundation of Tompkins County provided support for the series
For more information, contact Kayla Sewell at Community@TheHistoryCenter.net
or call (607) 273-8284 x 227
Tackling Structural Racism: What we can see early 2016
The Building Bridges initiative exists to support the growth and connectedness of a network of people and organizations working to eliminate structural racism and poverty in our county.
With that in mind, the Steering Committee has identified many local efforts that move us toward the elimination of structural racism and poverty. We also see that these efforts, although significant, are only a beginning. There is a huge amount of work still to be done.
If you know of steps towards eliminating structural racism and poverty that are not mentioned here, please share them (in informational and/or story form)
through the Building Bridges Network.
In the plus column:
Need some inspiration?
Join Us for this very special event, the opening of CAN YOU DIG THIS next week. Get your tickets online
Co-sponsored by: GreenStar Community Projects, Moosewood, Groundswell, Youth Farm Project,Building Bridges, Natural Leaders Initiative, Coalition for Healthy School Food and Rainbow Healing Center.
A bunch of Moosewood folks are cooking for the pre-show reception.
Don’t miss CAN YOU DIG THIS–Dec. 3, a special screening of the new documentary about the guerilla gardeners of South LA, with a new song by producer John Legend.
At Cinemapolis–120 E. Green St., Ithaca’s mecca for indie films and community sponsored special events
6:30 in-theater Reception with food by Moosewood, 7:00 show, and a talk-back with a panel of local growers and food justice activists, Damon Brangman, Ira McKinley, and Ruth Williams among others!
Can You Dig This follows an urban gardening movement taking root in South LA, where people are planting to transform their neighborhoods and are changing their own lives in the process.
Watch the trailer here. Tickets available online only.
Inspired by the work of Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA – TED.com
Click here to buy tickets. Dec. 3rd, At Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St., Ithaca
A Special Screening of Can You Dig This
Moosewood Restaurant is pleased to invite you to a special screening of
Can You Dig This
a documentary about the guerilla gardeners of South LA
at Cinemapolis, Dec. 3rd at 7 pm
Can You Dig This follows an urban gardening movement taking root in South LA, where people are planting to transform their neighborhoods and are changing their own lives in the process. Watch the trailer here.
Co-sponsored by GreenStar Community Projects, Groundswell, Building Bridges and Natural Leaders Initiative, we will host a pre-screening reception at 6:30 (with food by Moosewood) plus a talk-back on farming, gardening and food sovereignty with leaders in our community after the show.