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The Start of Change

In fall 2020, New Canaan Library, New Canaan Museum & Historical Society, New Canaan Community Foundation, the Interfaith Council of New Canaan, Grace Farms Foundation and B kind co-hosted “The Start of Change: Addressing Racism,” a six-part lecture series created to address our community’s understanding of race and racism. As its name suggests, these six “Start of Change” lectures were just the beginning. This initiative will be ongoing, and through these and additional partnerships (see “Local Partners” section below), our community will be invited to attend public programs designed to bring our community together in developing a common understanding of the history, policy, and experiences shaping present-day discussions of race. New and upcoming events may be found below.

Upcoming 2021 Discussions

So, You Want to Be an Activist?
April 13 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Discover the power of your voice in this eight-week program. Rise as a leader and fight for positive change. Students will leave this program with a plan for how they can be activists in their daily lives and in their community. Led by Educator, Kyla Johns. For grades 5-8. Open to all genders. This program is intended ONLY for tweens and teens in grades 5-8. In partnership with LiveGirl

How Can You Be an Ally?
April 21 @ 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm

What is an ally? How can you be an ally? Join New Canaan CARES on Zoom to explore these questions and more. We will read the book IntersectionAllies: We Make Room for All and discuss how to be an ally in our everyday lives. This conversation will provide an opportunity for children to expand their thinking around what it means to be an ally and explore ways in which they have been allies. Children will create a craft during the meeting to deepen their learning and understanding of allyship. For ages 5-9. This program is intended only for families with children 5-9 years. In partnership with New Canaan CARES

Social Justice Book Group: Be the Change You Want to See
May 13 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Our Social Justice Book Group is reading A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée this month. Tweens and teens in grades 5-8, join us on Zoom to discuss the book, make some new friends, and brainstorm ways that you can make real, positive changes in your community. All are welcome. Leaders from LiveGirl, S.T.A.R, and New Canaan Library will be on hand to guide the discussion and to help you transform ideas into actions. For Grades 5-8. In partnership with LiveGirl and S.T.A.R

Equality & Inclusion Resources: How To Be An Ally

Recapping the 21-day Challenge
February 9 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

LiveGirl
If we learned anything over the last several months, it is that the actions of individuals make real changes in the lives of others. In order to achieve racial justice, we must learn, unlearn and listen to, then amplify, the voices of color and experience. Join us on Zoom for a community discussion around the importance of Racial Equity Habit-Building and celebrate Black History month. Open to all ages.

How Children Understand Race and How Adults Can Help
February 22 @ 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm

In this presentation, Prof. Erin Winkler will review the current research on children’s understandings of race, including how ideas about race form, what children learn and when, why we see changes at various ages, and why this all matters. Professor Winkler will provide guidance on how parents, grandparents, and educators can help children understand racial identity, racism, and racial inequities in age-appropriate ways that empower the young children in their lives.

Daryl Davis: Being Courageous
January 19 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

In honor of this year’s commemoration of MLK Day 2021, New Canaan Country School is excited to host Daryl Davis, race relations expert and author of Klan-Destine Relationships from the Netflix documentary “Accidental Courtesy”. Join NCCS to learn about being courageous, especially around topics like overcoming racism. This talk follows on the heels of the “Start of Change: Addressing Racism” series organized in partnership with several New Canaan organizations this past fall, and provides an opportunity for our communities to further the conversation.

Virtual Celebration of the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 18 @ 10:30 am – 11:00 am

The Interfaith Council of New Canaan is pleased to provide a virtual celebration of the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. An Interfaith recognition of Dr. King’s accomplishments, celebrated through beautiful music, with messages from clergy and members of our local Houses of Faith, as well as the young men of the ABC House. To be broadcast on New Canaan’s Channel 79. To show support for our MLK commemoration, donate to the Foodbank of Lower Fairfield County.

The Impact of Discrimination in Housing
October 27 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join Erin Boggs, Executive Director of Open Communities Alliance, as she discusses the history of segregation in Connecticut, where we stand today with regard to segregation and access to opportunity, and potential solutions in the state and locally.

Debby Irving presents “White Privilege”
October 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

“Like most white Americans, I completely misunderstood what racism was and how it had always been operating in my life and in my white community,” states Debby Irving, educator and author of Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race. In her presentation, Irving uses her own life to explore the systemic racism that goes largely unnoticed yet perpetuates long-held racialized belief systems.

A Conversation on Mass Incarceration
October 13 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Join Vera’s Vice President for New Initiatives Kica Matos and Dr. Anka Badurina, Executive Director at The Center for Immigrant Opportunity for a conversation about the enduring legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and mass incarceration. Our panelists will discuss the convergence of the criminal justice and immigrant legal system with a particular focus on Connecticut.

Race, Wealth, and Economic Inequality in America
September 29 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Professor Justene Hill Edwards,  will examine the historical relationship between racial discrimination and economic inequality, and discuss why economic inequality continues to be at the forefront of social justice agendas in modern America.

The History of Racism: 1865 to the present
September 22 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

From Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to Plessy v. Ferguson and Jim Crow laws, to the civil rights movement of the 20th century to the crisis that surrounds us now, Bishop Selders will highlight moments in our shared history and reference particular events that connect the historic landscape.

The History of Slavery and Race in Colonial New England
September 15 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Professor Justene Hill Edwards, assistant professor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, will explore the complex history of slavery in colonial New England and discuss how the experiences of enslaved people in New England shaped their fight for freedom into the 19th century.

Books to Start a Discussion

Select any of the book lists to learn more and place a hold for pickup.

Celebrate Black History
There is no singular book that completely covers the devastating injustices endured by Black communities in America, nor adequately recognizes the resilience, excellence, and accomplishments of this same community. In this booklist, we aim to acknowledge Black history through canonical and contemporary titles that pay homage to the past and, hopefully, illuminate the road to a brighter future.

Books To Spark Discussion About Race
Looking for books to start or continue discussions about race, racism and activism with your kids? You can read and listen to these titles in our digital library or place a hold for picking up the book.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards annually recognize outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience. Further, the Award encourages the artistic expression of the black experience via literature and the graphic arts in biographical, social, and historical treatments by African American authors and illustrators. (From ala.org)

Discussions to Collaboration

Thank you all who took part in bringing this important series to the New Canaan community!

Local Partners

A Better Chance, Inc. of New Canaan  | B Kind  | Grace Farms Foundation  | Horizons at New Canaan Country School  | Interfaith Council of New Canaan  | LiveGirl  | NCTV New Canaan Television 79  | New Canaan CARES  | New Canaan Chamber of Commerce  | New Canaan Community Foundation  | New Canaan Country School  | New Canaan Land Trust  | New Canaan Library  | New Canaan Moms Group  | New Canaan Mounted Troop  | New Canaan Museum & Historical Society  | New Canaan Nature Center  | New Canaan Tourism and Economic Development Advisory Committee  | New Canaan YMCA  | Stand Together Against Racism  | Summer Theatre of New Canaan