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Rochester community discusses racial equity at 'How to be an Anti-Racist'

April Franklin
Tianna Manon, Rachel Guzman, Ibram X. Kendi, Brandon White, Heidi Zimmerman, Juneliz Figueroa, Jesleen Santiago, Kaori Barly, and Jaheim Jones pose for photo after a panel discussion at Hochstein.

Nearly 900 people filled the Hochstein School of Music on Monday night to hear Ibram X. Kendi lead a public discussion on racial equity.

The event, titled "How to be an Anti-Racist," is also the name of the bestselling book that Kendi released in August.

Kendi says to be an anti-racist, a person must first admit to being racist.

“What an anti-racist does is they confess. They admit, they acknowledge, they recognize that it’s incredibly hard to be born in a country with racist ideas raining in your head throughout your whole life in which you’ve never had a umbrella to essentially never get wet," Kendi told the audience.

Local community leaders, including Candace Lucas, Rachel DeGuzman, Heidi Zimmer-Meyer and four East High School students, sat on a panel with Kendi, where they discussed racial disparities, equity and white privilege in the Rochester community. 

Kendi says solutions to racism begin with policy.

“I think it’s also critical ... for all people to recognize the inverse of white privilege. And that is black deprivation," Kendi says. "And so what happens is if white people are privileged with particular things, those very same things black people are deprived of."

Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives was the presenting sponsor of the event.