For nearly 100 years, we have been celebrating Black History Month in the USA. Carter G Woodson, the son of former slaves, is credited with founding Black History Month. He, himself, is a worthy member of the Black people who have been commemorated. He worked as a coal miner before attending college and becoming the second African-American to receive a Ph.D at Harvard. He instituted Negro History week in Chicago in 1926 to to encourage “people of all ethnic and social backgrounds [to] discuss the black experience.” Congress passed “National Black History Month” into law in 1986, proclaiming that “the foremost purpose of Black History Month is to make all Americans aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity” (Library of Congress). There had been so many Black intellectuals and professionals who added their creativity and skill, but who were unrecognized. to our country.
“But in order to make the claim about Black genius, about Black excellence, you have to build the space in which to do that. There is no room.” Congress passed “National Black History Month” into law in 1986, creating “that room.”
The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. president who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and of Frederick Douglass, an African-American orator, social reformer, writer and abolitionist. Our own Madison County hosted Frederick Douglass in Peterboro and Cazenovia. In fact, Madison County was known as “The Banner County” of the U.S.. in the mid-1800s because of its voting support of anti-slavery measures. Madison County was a hot-bed of activities that were critical to the outbreak of the Civil War.
Black History Month today can provide us all with a reminder to take stock of where racism persists in our country, and give visibility to the people and organizations that are working to create change. Both the Town and the Village of Cazenovia have passed anti-bias policies that are positive acts of antiracism. The Antiracism Coalition of Cazenovia is working with the Town Board to create procedures that will implement these policies of equity and compassion. But also during the past year, our community has experienced incidents of racist graffiti and ethnic micro-aggressions.
The National Abolition Hall of Fame expresses a continued need to honor our Black Americans in its mission statement, “to honor anti-slavery abolitionists, their work to end slavery, and the legacy of that struggle, and strives to complete the second and on-going abolition — the moral conviction to end racism.”
Maya Angelo has said it another way: "You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt. But still like dust, I'll rise."
—Louise Brown Smith
In this email, you will find info for our monthly meeting and a very special community-wide book club. Please use the black buttons to either register or gain more information.
We are excited to share both of these events with you and we hope to see you soon!
The ARC-C Team
Community-Wide Book Club
Multiple dates starting February 2, 2022
In-Person or via Zoom
Our group is super excited that our members Louise Brown-Smith and Alan Brown will be leading a community-wide book club for Black History Month. The book, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, will be discussed both in person and via Zoom. Kurt Wheeler and a group of Caz High students will be leading teens in a simultaneous discussion of the teen version of the book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Look for an article in the Cazenovia Republican and a posting on the Caz CSD website! You can visit the Cazenovia Library to obtain a copy of the book or purchase it on your own. To sign up for the book club which starts February 2nd, please visit our website for meeting dates and details!
ARC-C Monthly Meeting
Thursday, February 17, 2022 at 7 PM
Via Zoom | Register Below!
ARC-C has been doing a bunch of good work in the community. We're excited to share our progress! This meeting will be perfect for you if you haven't attended for a while or if you're new to the group. If you're new to anti-racism work, you're not alone. We're here to answer questions and provide context, either via email or during the meeting.
Our monthly meeting will consist of:
"Your desire to be seen as good can actually prevent you from doing good, because if you do not see yourself as part of the problem you cannot be part of the solution."
–Layla F. Saad, Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Dear ARC-C Community,
We hope this finds you each well this new year!
Please save-the-dates and join us at these upcoming Anti-Racism Coalition of Cazenovia meetings:
Our ARC-C January Event, “What Is Critical Race Theory? What Does It Mean for Me?” is coming up: Thursday January 20, 2022 from 7:00-8:30 PM!!
A current political dividing line involves being against — or for — Critical Race Theory (CRT), particularly in our schools. Join us for a conversation about CRT: we’ll work to distinguish CRT as a wedge issue and as a legal framework for understanding the relationships between race, racism, and power. Our goal will be to understand more about what this theory is (and is not) and what that might mean for each of us and for our schools. Please come and invite your friends!
Click here to register and to receive the Zoom Link for January 20, 7PM Event
Read, Watch, Listen, Engage
One or more of these linked resources may help you prepare for our CRT discussion:
ARC-C will continue a year-round commitment to Black Life. We’ll launch reading groups (for adult and youth) on Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning or Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You; our February monthly meeting will feature collaboration with Caz High School students who’ve created proposals for bringing Cazenovia abolition/antiracism history to life; we’ll begin the CNY Abolition Study Group designed by the Abolition Journal (described below), and more! Stay tuned!
Join in the CNY Abolition Study Group (register early -- begins Sunday, Feb 20)
What does it mean to be an abolitionist in 2022? Advocates describe it as both a dismantling and world-building work to create communities that are just and safe, that are free of prisons and police. It's a bold vision that abolitionists say requires complete community transformation and, as Ruth Wilson Gilmore states, "building life-affirming institutions." This study group is titled "Together We Lift the Sky" and is designed by the Abolition Journal. It offers a seven-session study group guide for people who are new to abolition. Our group will meet every third Sunday, from 3:00-4:30 PM EST beginning on February 20th (and then on 3/13, 4/3, 4/24, 5/15, 6/5, and 6/26); reading prep (podcasts, short essays, videos etc) will require up to 5 hours of reading and reflection per session. Register now and share with others who are interested in learning about abolition and antiracist community building!
Check out our new ARC-C Website !
See what we are up to there — and coalition with us!
ARC-C Steering Committee and Subcommittee Brief Updates
ARC-C has been invited to present Anti-Racism Recommendations to the Cazenovia Town Board at the January meeting. ARC-C has consolidated its sub-committee structure into two central sub-Committees: 1.) Education (Public Schools & Community) and History Sub-Committee and 2.) Town Culture, Police Reform, and Policy Sub-Committee. If you’d like to join one of these, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please Continue to Support Clary Middle School in Syracuse!
ARC-C Member and Clary Teacher, Allison Enders, sends deep thanks to the ARC-C community for supporting Clary students last spring as they finished a difficult year, providing donations of art supplies, classroom items, and fare for an end-of-year celebration. The students felt a lot of love and joy, and they are still still using many of the supplies this fall. Allison will regularly invite those in ARC-C with means to participate in other teacher-led initiatives to support students. Please see Allison's letter to ARC-C, with her item lists, here or contact Allison directly at: Allison Enders <email@example.com>.
If you are still reading, you are wonderful. Keep on reading: below the jump is a recent post from ARD: Anti-Racism Daily and a podcast from Be Anti-Racist with Ibram X. Kendi.
Be well until our CRT gathering on the January 20th!
The ARC-C Steering Committee