WXXI AM News

race

An exhibit set to open Friday at the Visual Studies Workshop is exploring perceptions of Black masculinity and gender identity.

We talk with artist Joshua Rashaad McFadden about “Evidence,” and our guests discuss what it means to be a Black man in America today. In studio:

  • Joshua Rashaad McFadden, visual artist
  • Gatekeeper Adrian, artist, activist, photographer, filmmaker, organizer, and founder and chair of Rochester Black Pride
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, performance educator with Impact Interactive
  • Brandon Stroud, yoga instructor, and residence coordinator at RIT

A powerful play at the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center is generating conversations about race. “Blues for Mister Charlie” is an award-winning work by James Baldwin that’s loosely based on the assassination of Emmett Till. 14-year-old Till was lynched in Mississippi after being accused of offending a white woman in a store. In the play, Richard Henry returns to the deep South from New York City to find his segregated home town embroiled in racism and hate. Heated encounters with a local white store owner lead to his murder and his family’s quest for justice. The play explores brutal moments of truth. 

This hour, we’re joined by the director and members of the cast to discuss Baldwin’s work and their goals for the production. In studio:

  • Gary DeWitt Marshall, director of “Blues for Mister Charlie”
  • Almeta Whitis, actor who plays Mother Henry
  • Richard Kendrick, actor who plays Parnell James

Cephas Archie was fired from his position as the chief diversity officer for the SUNY Brockport last month. The college has not disclosed why, despite outcry from the public, including Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

For the first time, Archie sits down at length to discuss his work and what he understands about his dismissal. We're also joined by Shaun Nelms, superintendent of East High School, who addresses the value of diversity work. In studio:

  • Cephas Archie, former chief diversity officer at SUNY Brockport
  • Shaun Nelms, superintendent of the East EPO, and associate professor and William & Sheila Konar Director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education

SUNY Brockport declined an invitation to join this discusson.

The City of Rochester is reporting progress on its “Let’s Get REAL: Race, Equity, and Leadership” initiative. The project provides direction for improving equity in Rochester and other participating communities. Over the last year, the initiative’s team hosted workshops, seminars, and training sessions for City of Rochester employees, who joined open discussions about race. In a survey, some participants shared that they were confused about the differences between race, racial equity, diversity, and inclusion; that they sometimes or rarely set aside their own discomfort to discuss race; and that more engagement with the Hispanic and Latino community is needed at City Hall.

This hour, we discuss what the REAL team has learned after its first year of work, and how the findings will be applied to action plans for 2020. In studio:

  • Willie Joe Lightfoot, vice president of Rochester City Council
  • Tina Foster, executive director of Volunteer Legal Services of Monroe County
  • Hank Rubin, founding director of the Frederick Douglass Center for Collaborative Leadership, a program of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives

A local writer and activist has generated some buzz with a piece he’s written about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. Writing as a guest blogger for 540 West Main Communiversity, Chris Thompson explores what he calls Bryant’s complicated legacy and his own mixed feelings about the late basketball superstar. Thompson says the amount of vitriol aimed at Bryant days after his death seems disproportionate, adding “any praise for his life is not an attack on his accuser, and sympathy for his accuser is not an attack on his legacy.” 

This hour, Thompson joins us in studio to discuss his piece, his thoughts on teaching consent and sexuality to men, Bryant’s legacy, and more. In studio:

  

Inside Higher Ed reports that more institutions now have chief diversity officers than ever before. But what do those positions entail? How do colleges and universities make decisions about the roles and responsibilities of diversity offices, and how do they measure results when it comes to creating more diverse and inclusive campus communities?

This hour, we’re joined by local chief diversity officers who share how their institutions are providing structural responses to cultural issues. In studio:

  • Cephas Archie, chief diversity officer at the College at Brockport
  • Calvin Gantt, chief diversity officer at Monroe Community College
  • Keith Jenkins, vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at RIT
  • Diane Ariza, vice president for community and belonging at Nazareth College

We discuss how to make opportunities in the health and wellness industries more accessible to people of all backgrounds. The group Yoga 4 A Good Hood works to “create a space of healing for people of color and individuals with low socioeconomic status through yoga and more.” Members are bringing their practices to locations throughout Rochester in order to make yoga more inclusive.

We also discuss health disparities among different communities, how to create an accessible food culture (especially in areas where there are food deserts), and the value of culturally-sensitive nutrition advice. In studio:

  • Imani Olear, founder of Yoga 4 A Good Hood
  • Ashley Cowart, yoga teacher trainer with Yoga 4 A Good Hood
  • Danielle Ponder, criminal defense attorney, board member for Yoga 4 A Good Hood, and lead singer of Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People
  • Kameron Rowe, registered dietitian

A new play on stage at the JCC CenterStage is generating conversations about race in America. “Division Street” is the latest project by playwright Jason Odell Williams. It tells the story of an interracial couple in Hollywood after the white husband is nominated for a Golden Globe for playing a racist police officer.

The play explores a range of issues, including race relations, cultural appropriation, and which voices are elevated in Hollywood and how. We discuss those issues with our guests:

We’re joined by Nanette D. Massey, a writer and diversity and inclusion trainer. Massey lives in Buffalo, but will be in Rochester for several upcoming events during which she’ll educate audiences about racism, white fragility, and more.

She recently wrote an op-ed for the Democrat and Chronicle and USA Today, responding to a local business coach who expressed his frustration as an “old white guy” who is “increasingly blamed for all the ills of society, both real and imagined.”

Massey joins us in studio to discuss her process and how she facilitates conversations about race. In studio:

  • Nanette D. Massey, writer and diversity and inclusion trainer

A new play on stage at Geva Theatre Center explores the history and current state of race relations in America through the perspectives of two very different women. “The Niceties” is an explosive and provocative look at the relationship between a white history professor and a driven black student as they discuss who controls the narrative in American history, and how that narrative has shaped their experiences.

We sit down with the cast and members of the production team to talk about the play, and the role of discomfort when it comes to examining our own lives and privilege. In studio:

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