Canastota, NY - Getting the conversation going.
On Friday night, the Canastota Forum on Race: "See the World in Color" streamed on Facebook Live gave community members the opportunity to speak on ally ship and building diverse relationships in this village and beyond.
Reverend Marissa Mattox Heffernan organized this forum in response to a political rally in Canastota.
“If we’re wanting to make this a welcoming community then we need to be aware, we need to be conscious of those things that make other people feel unwelcome,” said Heffernan.
The panelists discussed the history of systemic racism, how not to perpetuate implicit or explicit racism and how white Americans can become more aware and educated on the history of Black Americans and people of color.
The panelists say one of the biggest ways to end racism is to teach and grow the next generation to be anti-racist.
"I really think it comes down to raising your kids. To telling them how to behave, about things happening in the news, talking to your kids. They're kind of scary conversations to have with your kids but give your kids a chance. Talk to them, listen to them,” said Nick Ghezzi, Canastota community leader.
“While it’s very important that we teach our kids, if we don't teach the adults, who's going to teach the kids, right? And it's not about coming in and knocking people over the head. I think it’s about asking people to explore what makes them think about things the way that they do,” said Patrick Johnson, Founder and Director of New Life Institute.
Given the events on January 6 at the Capitol building and the countless tragic incidences leading up to that, those who attended this forum said it was timely.
On Friday, Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, and on the weekend that America celebrates the way he fought for equality for all people, it is a reminder that we as a country still have a lot of work to do.