Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spirited "Conversations for Racial Justice" Event Draws Nearly 100

Photo Courtesy Sharin Alpert, Mass Slavery Apology
A spirited gathering of nearly one hundred people gathered at the First Congregational Church to hear Nolumbeka Project President Joe Graveline's presentation of "Franklin County's First Peoples: History, Heritage and Current Events" on Saturday, April 5.

The talk and discussion was the April event in the monthly series "Conversations for Racial Justice" sponsored by Mass Slavery Apology. Reflecting the title of the series, the meeting became highly interactive as members of the audience challenged everyone present to take a deeper look at the material presented, to appreciate more fully the deeply emotional nature of some of the events described, and to carefully examine the language we use for examples of unconscious racial and gender bias.

Photo Courtesy Sharin Alpert, Mass Slavery Apology
There is no doubt that any honest account of the history and current reality of this region's First People is deeply disturbing.  The pervasive cultural bias that propelled a pattern of genocide echoes to this day.  Joe's presentation drew the line from the Great Falls Massacre, though Vermont's sterilizaton laws, through his own childhood account of the racism that his family encountered bccause of the color of his mother's skin, to the events today that threaten to once again descecrate the Native American remains at Greenfield's White Ash Swamp and other Sacred Native American sites.

As the formal presentation ended, the conversations continued in small groups in the church's parish hall.  As Joe has often said,  "We need to have these conversations."

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