Monthly Archives: January 2021

January Celebrations – Good things happening in our community!

My Brothers Keeper – Arlington Chapter
President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative in 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

Arlington High School inaugurated their chapter of My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) last week – Arlington students and families should contact Mr. Miguel Suarez (, Arlington HS MBK Coordinator, for more information about how to participate.

Mid-Hudson Aquatics and Heatwaves
Mid Hudson Aquatics is a Poughkeepsie based not for profit organization dedicated to promoting aquatic awareness through teaching confidence in water safety, learn to swim, fitness, and competition with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Mid-Hudson Heatwaves Builds Community for Local Hispanic Swimmers

The Poughkeepsie Healthy Black and LatinX Coalition
Their goal is to address health disparities within the Black and Latinx communities in the Cities of Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, which are under served, unaware of resources, and under utilizing health care services, putting them at risk. As part of the coalition, service providers, local government, and the greater community will identify additional health disparities to be addressed together.

The Poughkeepsie chapter meets on the Second Thursday of every month from 9:30-11am. The group sends out information about what is going on in the community at these meetings and through its Facebook page. Please join it!

Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life

Online Book Read
Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life by David Billings.

As part of Black History month, the Kingston Chapter of ENJAN is hosting a timely discussion with anti-racist author David Billings about his book Deep Denial on Thursday, February 11th 7-9 PM.

Register here for the event. Your registration fee of $22.00 includes a copy of David’s book Deep Denial. All proceeds from the book sales will go to support the making of the film documentary Hallowed Ground, a story about the forgotten Pine Street African Burial Ground for enslaved people in Kingston. With your registration receipt you can pick up your copy of the book at:

  • Rough Draft Bar and Books, 82 John St, Kingston (Open M-F 8-6pm, Sat. 9-6pm Sun. 9-4pm) Closed 1/19-25, or,
  • Tilda’s Kitchen, 630 Broadway, Kingston (Open Wed-Fri, 9-5; Sat-Sun 10-6pm).

David Billings is a life-long activist, educator, and organizer in the anti-racist movement and a key trainer, since 1985, in the Undoing Racism Workshops offered by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond. His book combines personal stories from his life, beginning with his white, working-class boyhood in Mississippi and Arkansas to his experience of both the promise and decline of the Civil Rights movement and brings these lessons to his teaching and organizing.

On Our Minds – January 2021

Dear Allies and Co-conspirators in the struggle against racism:

Since the terrifying assault on the capitol, transitioning to a government more willing to acknowledge racial diversity has allowed many to find respite from the racially traumatizing daily assaults on minds and bodies. We offer this newsletter in a spirit of hope, even as we remain keenly aware of the urgent need to stay the course in antiracist organizing. Just as the attempted takeover was not a singular, isolated event but rather rooted in a tenacious history of white supremacist impunity, we continue the strong steady climb to disrupt and undo racism, while staying mindful of the challenges that lay ahead.

Today more than ever we need spaces where people of color can freely express their exhaustion from ongoing white terror and silence. We need white folx to convoke, host and sustain spaces where they are pushed to examine their privilege and to work with existing antiracist organizations. It is an honor to provide our readers with this fifth issue which offers resources for both action and healing, as well as spotlights local schools (Arlington, Poughkeepsie) where parents and residents are organizing around racial equity issues, such as teacher and administrator diversity and inclusive learning environments. 

Read, Listen, and Watch – January 2021

“With Zero Representation, You can See the Racism” 

Racism within the Arlington School District has come into light throughout the past few years. Firstly, the Center for Strategic Solutions at NYU Metro Center was hired by Arlington for the past several years to facilitate their District-wide equity initiative. After discovering Arlington’s racist tendencies and resistance to equity, NYU withdrew from the relationship. Arlington’s Board of Education shut down communication and transparency, while teachers and staff have been retaliated against for speaking out against racism. The black deputy superintendent was scapegoated, silenced, and terminated. Natalie states that she and her colleagues cannot be complicit in the maintenance of racism against the children and community members of Arlington. Remaining silent means being complicit with white supremacy, which is thriving in Arlington’s administration.

The Arlington School District has been neglecting the calls for drastic changes within their institution to combat the blatant racism that has been plaguing the district for years. With a refusal to acknowledge the issues and take accountability for what is occurring within the walls of their schools, many parents, teachers, and other individuals of color are coming together to uplift their voices and be heard. Throughout this podcast, you will hear the stories and work of two Black women fighting against racism in the district. The first is a mother of three children who all attend school in Arlington. She is currently working on memorializing the stories of parents who have been harmed by racism, ensuring that they are heard and forcing Arlington to listen. The second woman is a former teacher from a school within the district. She offers a unique perspective, sharing her experiences with racism at the administrative level, during daily life at the school, and with the overall neglect from the school district. Emma Klein, Vassar College.

Interviews and editing done by VC student in CLCS 121. Transcript by Curtis Dozier.

Interview #1 begins at 00:24.
Interview #2 begins at 27:38.

Read, Listen, and Watch – January 2021

The Politics of School Districting: A case study in Upstate New York
by Sue Books, Educational Foundations, v20 n3-4 p15-33 Sum-Fall 2006

To the now-expansive literature on the causes and consequences of segregation in schooling and of inequality in educational opportunity in the United States, the author would like to add a call for more attention to the politics of school districting–that is, to how and why districts are created, in the service of whose interests, and with what consequences for students. Towards that end, this article reconstructs the solidification of a school district in upstate New York, the Spackenkill Union Free Schools, a six-mile-wide district in the town of Poughkeepsie. In a battle with the New York State Education Department in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Spackenkill schools succeeded in avoiding consolidation with their poorer, larger, and far more diverse neighboring district, the Poughkeepsie City Schools. (The town of Poughkeepsie includes both the city of Poughkeepsie and the community known as Spackenkill.) In this article, she recounts the story of Spackenkill’s pursuit of “independence,” as reconstructed from newspaper articles written at the time, school board minutes, and personal conversations with the president of the Spackenkill Board of Education and a Poughkeepsie resident who lived through the struggle. She then offers an analysis of the ideals and interests that shaped the district’s conflict with the State Education Department. Finally, she comments on the significance of this small chapter of social history for reformers still working towards desegregation and more equal educational opportunity.

Council of Elders: A Virtual Roundtable

Council of Elders: A virtual roundtable by Hold The Line Hudson Valley is a roundtable discussion with movement elders from the Hudson Valley on activism, solidarity and the political divide on Saturday, January 30, 2021 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Register for free on eventbrite.

Join movement elders from the Hudson Valley for a conversation about the present moment, and stories and wisdom from the past. How do we ground ourselves in the new year? How do we build coalitions in solidarity with others across political divides while staying accountable to ourselves and all people most directly impacted by systemic oppression?

The council includes leaders from local African Roots Libraries, ENJAN, and the NAACP, Restorative Justice practitioners and long-time activists and organizers in Labor, Environmental Justice, LGBTQIA Rights, Antiracism and Civil Rights movements.

Moderated by Tracy Givens-Hunter, the elders include: Maude Bruce, Paul Bermanzohn, Sally Bermanzohn, Otia Lee, Denise Oliver-Velez, Sandra Oxford, Rob Pinto, Loriman Rhodell, Cheryl Schneider, and Odell Winfield.