On behalf of the Anti-Racism, Equity and Justice (AREJ) steering committee you are invited to the first of our scheduled series of lunchtime discussions for 2021, which will be held on Monday, February 22nd from Noon to 1pm via zoom.
The topic for this discussion will be “The Impact of White Supremacy on our Local Education Systems and Families”, focusing on the K-12 education system.
To inform our discussion we are providing two resources that explore the topic from different viewpoints. A podcast where you will hear the stories and work of two Black women fighting against racism in the Arlington Central School District:
(Interview #1 begins at 00:24, Interview #2 begins at 27:38)
And, the story of how a group of Poughkeepsie parents repeatedly and successfully sued New York State to split off from the Poughkeepsie City School District and form their own, separate district – Spackenkill Union Free School District.
“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″
Even if you don’t have time to fully ingest these resources prior to our meeting we still welcome everyone to be part of the discussion.
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.
“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.
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.
“GENOCIDIO INDIGENA” by Mariza Bafile
“La vida de los indígenas en Brasil está en riesgo. Hoy más que nunca.”
In the July 6, 2020 issue of ViceVersa Magazine
INDIGENOUS ACTION: An Autonomous Podcast
About the podcast: Welcome to Indigenous Action where we dig deep into critical issues impacting our communities throughout Occupied America/Turtle Island. This is an autonomous anti-colonial broadcast with unapologetic and claws-out analysis towards total liberation. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play.
In this premiere broadcast some long-time Indigenous Action co-conspirators talk about their thoughts on “land acknowledgements.”
16 Sep: Indigenous Action Ep. 1: Acknowledge This!
“WE SHALL REMAIN: America Through Native Eyes”
PBS documentary series, shown at ALANA Center’s Anti-thanksgiving events, and originally aired on PBS in 2009. “These five documentaries spanning almost four hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective, upending two-dimensional stereotypes of American Indians as simply ferocious warriors or peaceable lovers of the land”
Available through the Vassar College Libraries – DVD 5388
The first episode of the PBS series was directed by Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals,1998), which was written, directed, and acted by Native people and reenacts and historicizes the first thanksgiving.
Available through the Vassar College Libraries – DVD 8779
We acknowledge that Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples who have an enduring connection to this place despite being forcibly displaced by European colonization.
Munsee Lenape peoples continue today as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin, the Delaware Tribe and the Delaware Nation in Oklahoma, and the Munsee Delaware Nation in Ontario. This acknowledgment, however, is insufficient without our reckoning with the reality that every member of the Vassar community since 1861 has benefited from these Native peoples’ displacement, and it is hollow without our efforts to counter the effects of structures that have long enabled—and that still perpetuate—injustice against Indigenous Americans. To that end, we commit to build and sustain relationships with Native communities; to expand opportunities at Vassar for Native students, as well as Native faculty and other employees; and to collaborate with Native nations to know better the Indigenous peoples, past and present, who care for this land.
Molly McGlennen wrote and recited the poem, “Vigilance,” in the fall of 2016 in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests (hashtag #NoDAPL) and against the Trump election. The poem was featured in the exhibition entitled “The World After January 20th, 2017,” curated by Judy Nichols and Monica Church, in the wake of Trump’s inauguration, which brought together the work of community artists, poets and activists through an exhibit and protest that circled Main building at Vassar. “Each morning we wake up to a new order: bans, firings, and threats to liberty, humanity and the Earth.” The work continues.
This winter you will need insulated boots
and gloves; propane and wood, though
wind generators are ideal.
You never knew camp etiquette
would read like a manifesto.
A thin shadow cast by shortening
days. Solstice approaches
then falls away. Everywhere, it falls
away. Sub-zero hands direct
kinship, traffic, a camera’s shutter.
What more can greed take, when protracted
songs pitch shelter against
sets of men’s pockets,
whether thieves, plutocrats,
churchgoers. Everything, you say.
You erect tents and websites, assemble
pittance before long histories of amassment.
Free land, free labor, makes the rapacious few.
Come spring, you will notice
new needs. A windbreaker, you hope. For now
those stars set deep in what seems
a blacker sky.
You pluck one, you think,
and place it in your gloved palm, almost
your heart. Almost your life.
From Our Bearings, by Molly McGlennen. © 2020 by Molly McGlennen. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press and the Author.