WXXI AM News

Racism

A group pushing for anti-racism training in the Rochester City School District says one of the big problems with American public schools is a Euro-centric approach to teaching history. They say it’s racist and that there’s much more beyond the borders of Europe to teach.

So what do they think a non-racist approach to teaching history looks like? We discuss it with our guests:

Last month, while on a tour for prospective students at Colorado State University, a woman called police, saying she was concerned that two young men in the group were not meant to be part of the tour. She said they stood out and were wearing clothing with "weird symbolism." The two young men are Native American and had driven seven hours from New Mexico to take part in the tour. Police patted them down and eventually allowed them to rejoin the tour, but by that time, the group was long gone. The story has caused outrage, with many people comparing it to the racial profiling incident at a Starbucks, where two black men were arrested while waiting for a friend. 

Two local groups say communities need to better understand indigenous rights and history; they are partnering to combat racism against Native Americans. We discuss their efforts. In studio:

On Wednesday, NFL owners voted in a new national anthem policy. The policy states that if players kneel on the field or sidelines, their teams will be fined, but players are allowed to remain in the locker room while the anthem is played.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pleased with the decision, saying the protests created a “false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic.” President Trump is also applauding the policy, but says it doesn’t go far enough. He says he doesn’t think players should be staying in locker rooms to protest, and if a player is not standing for the anthem, “Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

This hour, our guests discuss the new policy and what it means in the context of free speech. Our guests:

  • Simeon Banister, interim vice president of community programs at the Community Foundation
  • Chris Thomas, partner with Nixon Peabody
  • Matthew McGee, U.S. Coast Guard (retired), and marketing, events, and development manager for the Veterans Outreach Center
  • Paul Vosburgh, head coach of the St. John Fisher Football team

The ROC2Change Student Summit on Race is among the most recent examples of youth activism in our community. The summit at Churchville-Chili High School brought together hundreds of students from across Monroe County to address racial disparities and racism in schools.

We talk to students who participated in the event about what they learned about implicit bias, and how they plan to address discrimination in their daily lives. We also discuss what it means to be a youth activist in this current political climate. In studio:

  • Jocelyn Hernandez, senior at Churchville-Chili High School
  • Asha Charles, junior at Churchville-Chili High School
  • Amari Conyers, senior at Churchville-Chili High School
  • Jason Cline, assistant principal and facilitator of the ROC2Change Student Summit on Race at Churchville-Chili High School

After being on display for more than 100 years, a panel featuring racial “pickaninny” artwork was removed from the Dentzel Carousel in Charlotte, and now leaders of the campaign behind the removal of that panel are asking members of the community to help design a permanent replacement.

The “Take it Down” campaign is calling on local artists to submit designs of a black panther — a symbol of elegance and strength in the black community. Campaign leaders are also sponsoring a series of discussions on racial justice, using the artwork as a way to generate conversations about structural racism.

Our guests discuss their mission, what we can learn from the panel, and how local artists can get involved with the new project. In studio:

  • Minister Clifford Florence, president of Faith Community Alliance
  • Kathryn Murano-Santos, senior director for collections and exhibits and the Rochester Museum & Science Center
  • Howard Eagle, member of the Take It Down Planning Committee and Movement for Anti-Racist Ministry & Action

When police arrested two black men for not ordering a drink at Starbucks, it sparked discussions across the country about bias and discrimination. At Connections, we've heard from many people of color who explain that the Starbucks arrests are not new or unusual.

This hour, we have a discussion about how common this type of incident is, and the damage it does. Our guests:

Brinton Lykes is a psychologist who has spent her career living and working with people in Central America who have survived war and genocidal violence. In her work, she uses the creative arts and local cultural traditions to understand and document the effects of trauma on communities.

Lykes is in Rochester as guest of the Rochester Committee on Latin America to receive the International White Dove Award. She joins us in studio to discuss her work, and the United States' role in Latin American affairs.

The Black Cinema Series at The Little Theatre continues this month with the documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor. Oprah recently mentioned Taylor’s name during her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, saying Taylor never got justice after she was raped by six white men. Taylor’s case – and others like hers – helped spark the civil rights movement.

We discuss Taylor’s legacy, race relations in 2018, and issues surrounding sexual assault. In studio:

  • Kevin Hicks, journalist and vice president for print for the RABJ
  • Allison O'Malley, chief executive officer of RESOLVE
  • Moiet James, development administrative assistant for WXXI, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ
  • Ericka Wilson, producer for WHEC-TV, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ

Rochester native Aesha Ash danced with the New York City Ballet and performed all over the world, and now she's using her success to inspire and empower young African American girls.

The Swan Dreams Project features photographs of Ash dressed in ballet attire, posing in different neighborhoods in the City of Rochester. She says she wants young people in lower income neighborhoods to see that ballet – and all professions – are open to them, just as they were to her.

We discuss the project, and how the arts can be used to dispel stereotypes and empower people from all backgrounds. Our guests:

A number of local groups are joining together to develop what they call a “united community response to Donald Trump’s hatred and racism.” The event will be led by Minister Franklin Florence Sr.

We're joined by the event’s organizers to discuss their goals, and we also welcome comments from supporters of Donald Trump. Our guests:

  • Minister Clifford Florence, president of the Faith Community Alliance
  • Larry Knox, political and community engagement coordinator for 1199 SEIU
  • Howard Eagle, representative of the Take It Down Planning Committee and the Movement for Anti-Racist Ministry and Action
  • Tim Schiefen, small business owner

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