Category Archives: Race and Racism
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
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:
Moosewood Bans the Box
Across the nation and here in Tompkins County, there is a Ban-the-Box movement to reduce barriers to employment for applicants who have a felony conviction on their record. Given the enormous number of people who have been convicted, the vast majority for non-violent crimes, employers play an important role in helping people find decent, stable employment. Other states such as Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, California and N.J., and municipalities such as Orlando, NYC, and the City of Rochester have passed Ban the Box Ordinances. In June of 2015, NYC went beyond banning the felony box on applications for jobs in city government, and now prohibits both public and private employers from asking questions about felony convictions during the initial employment application process.
As a business that has employed a lot of people over 42 years and values fairness in employment, this seemed like something important for us at Moosewood Restaurant. In our case, we were actually using the same old boiler-plate application for years; I looked at it and there was the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If yes, please indicate which charges may be relevant to the position you are seeking.” All we needed was to agree that this was an unnecessary barrier, and we revised the application and deleted the question. Simple.
There are multiple steps in a hiring process, and employers may ask about prior convictions at later stages. In some cases employers must ask about felonies up front if it’s relevant to the position the candidate is seeking, for instance, as a police officer or as a childcare worker.
“Unless one of the limited exceptions applies, an employer cannot make any inquiry—either verbally or in writing, including in an employment application—about an applicant’s criminal record during the “initial employment application process” (IEAP). Once the IEAP is complete, an employer can make inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history”
Ban the Box laws and policies don’t require the employer to hire a particular applicant, but one of the goals is to reduce recidivism among qualified people who happen to have a record and to help people who could be fine employees make it through the application screening process. The Obama Administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force gave the movement a boost when it endorsed hiring practices “which give applicants a fair chance and allow employers the opportunity to judge individual job candidates on their merits.”
We encourage other businesses and institutions in Tompkins County to adopt Ban the Box policies. Whether one is a small business owner, manager, department head or human resource director, employers understandably have important questions.
These links may be helpful:
Huge Success–the Building Bridges Community Forum
On May 13, 202 people attended a Community Forum to learn about Collective Impact processes creating big successes in various communities, and possible “big results” we might want to work on in Tompkins County.
Here is a link to the presentation slides:
Building Bridges Forum CI presentation
Highlights from the feedback include:
96% of you said you learned more about Collective Impact
96% of you said that CI is a direction that we should pursue as a community
97% of you said the time was worthwhile
89% of you said you would do your work differently as a result of the time we spent together.
Once again, a big THANK-YOU to
- GreenStar staff support, use of The Space and coffee, tea, fruit salad, yogurt and pastries
- MRC for the mini-bagels
- GIAC for the cheese, crackers and cookies
- Ithaca Bakery for the pastries
- Moosewood Restaurant for the Brownies and Vegan Chocolate Cake
- CCE staff for stuffing packets
- Park Foundation for supporting this intro to Collective Impact
*If you would like your organization added, please contact Kirby Edmonds at 607/277-3401
Building Bridges Community Forum
Save the Date!!
May 13, 2014 9am-1pm
Location To Be Announced
You are invited to a half-day Community Forum
sponsored by the Building Bridges Initiative to:
- get an update on the activities that have been going on in the community that are moving towards the vision we developed together
- explore “Collective Impact” as a process for achieving big results toward the vision
Much has happened in the community since the first Building Bridges gathering back in November, 2011, but we still have a ways to go.
The lists of activities and possible big results in the attached flyer are only examples of the things we can explore together as we move forward and are not meant to be exhaustive.
Please respond by April 30th to let us know whether or not you can come to the forum (email- firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 277-3401).
You are receiving this invitation because you are an important community leader.
Please note: If you forward this message to someone else you’d like to invite, please emphasize that we do need to get RSVPs so we can plan for food and materials.
On behalf of the Building Bridges Planning Group, we hope you can come.
The “Building Bridges” initiative is a collaborative effort of The Dorothy Cotton Institute, the Whole Community Project, Sustainable Tompkins, CCE Environment Program, CCE Green Jobs Program, Ithaca College Commit to Change Initiative, Groundswell, Natural Leaders Initiative, the Multicultural Resource Center, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Center for Transformative Action, Dryden Solutions, GreenStar Community Projects, the Sustainability Center, Get Your Green Back Tompkins, Cayuga Medical Center, Local First Ithaca, and others, to build, support and maintain a local movement in the Tompkins County region to create a “socially just and ecologically sound local economy”
Thanks for the work that you do!
DCI Gala and Dinner, Tues. Dec. 10
Celebrate International Human Rights Day, with honored guests:
Ambassador Andrew Young
Ms. Dorothy Cotton
Dr. Vincent Harding
6:00 Reception & cash bar with jazz and r&b by Fe Nunn and Friends
7:00 Dinner with jazz by Harry & Eric Aceto, Doug Robinson & Chad Lieberman
8:00 Program with Emcee Cal Walker
Remarks by Ambassador Young
Fellowship of Reconciliation Presentation of the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards to Ms. Cotton and Dr. Harding
Spirituals and Freedom Songs by the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers led by Baruch Whitehead
In Ballroom of the Trip Hotel (formerly the Clarion), One Sheraton Drive, Ithaca, NY
$125 per plate. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Dorothy Cotton Institute.
Click here to purchase tickets online or sponsor others’ attendance.
The Dorothy Cotton Institute is a locally based non-profit organization providing workshops on Human Rights Education, the Citizenship Education Program for the 21st Century, and is working to build a global community of human rights leadership.
DCI is a project of the Center for Transformative Action and an organizing member of the Building Bridges initiative.
A Big Thank-You!
On Saturday, August 24, two big bus-loads of people traveled from Ithaca to the 50th Anniversary Realize the Dream march and rally in Washington, DC. We were among the thousands and thousands of positive, truly kind and powerful people there, and it renews our faith in who the American people really are to connect with so many kindred spirits speaking out for Jobs, Freedom and Justice and the civil and human rights of all people.
Thank you to all who made this happen!
Shifting to Equity as a Preferred Driver of Economic Development