Video Series and Action Meetings

All community members are invited to our next event:

Thursday, June 15, 2017
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM

This will be a 2-part meeting:
1) We will view and discuss:

#RaceAnd
 –  Videos on Race and Intersectionality race and

#RaceAnd  is an engaging video series exploring the ways that race compounds and intersects with all the other issues faced by people of color. Each short video features a different artist, activist, or thinker, sharing their lived experience of how race intertwines with their other identities, and how that mix impacts their lives both personally and systemically.  Produced by “Race Forward”, it features personal stories related to race and gender, disability, immigrant status, sexuality, body, tribal sovereignty, and religion.

2) We will meet in small groups to advance work on  4  anti-racism action projects:
* Schools Initiative
* Legislative Initiative
* Listening Project Initiative
* Sanctuary Community Initiative
For more information please see: Join One of the Current Coming Together Action Projects

COMING  EVENTS

Our video series will not meet during July and August.  We will resume in the fall.  Action groups may meet independently over the summer.

PREVIOUS EVENTS:

Thursday, April 27, 2017
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM

1) We will view and discuss
“Immaculate Perception” – a video talk by Jerry Kang.  Are we all under the sway of “the rightness of whiteness”?  If so, can anything be done about it?  UCLA Law Professor, Jerry Kang exposes the phenomenon of automatic processing and how it relates to bias.  Using humor and audience participation, Kang challenges our assumptions while shifting our perceptions of at least one Asian male.  

Thursday, March 23, 2017
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM

1) Yassmin Abdel-MagiedWe will view and discuss
“What Does My Headscarf Mean to You?” – a video talk byYassmin Abdel-Magied.   Unconscious bias is a prevalent factor driving culture, causing us all to make assumptions based on our own upbringings and influences. Such implicit prejudice affects everything, and it’s time for us to be more thoughtful, smarter, better. In this funny, honest talk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied uses a surprising way to challenge us all to look beyond our initial perceptions.

SPECIAL EVENT!

march4flier Amherst Sanctuary
Community-wide Meeting

With immigrant voices, Congressman Jim McGovern, and action planning to Defend, Resist, and Build…

Saturday, March 4, 2017
3PM – 5:30PM
Grace Episcopal Church Parish Hall 
17 Spring St. , Amherst, MA

Co-sponsored by Coming Together and other local groups.

SPECIAL EVENT

This is a rare opportunity to come together around some of the most vital issues of our time and learn more about how they are related to each other

Photo copyright, Rene Theberge 2013

 When Movements Unite for
Climate Justice

You are warmly invited to hear…

Jacqui Patterson 
National Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program
Sunday, February 26, 2017
2PM – 4PM
Unitarian Universalist Society, Amherst, MA

“Why those of us acting to address climate change and those of us organizing around racial and economic justice need to join together in this critical time.”

Sponsored by the Amherst Branch of the NAACP in collaboration with Climate Action Now and Coming Together

Thursday, February 16, 2017
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM

This will be a 2-part meeting:

1) We will view and discussJose Antonio Vargas
“Actions Are Illegal, Never People” – a video talk byJose Antonio Vargas.  Vargas tells his story of living as an undocumented immigrant and then coming out very publicly as undocumented.  After revealing his status he was on the cover of Time magazine and continued to work as a journalist.  He is an engaging speaker with some important messages for allies.

Thursday, January 19, 2017
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM

This will be a 2-part meeting:

1) We will view and discuss
“We Need to Talk about an Injustice” – a video talk by Bryan bryan-stevenson_credit_nina_subinStevenson, which is both engaging and personal.  Stevenson shares some hard truths about America with candor, insight and persuasiveness.  He is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, fighting poverty and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, with significant success.  He is also the author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

2) We will meet in small groups to advance work
on  4  anti-racism action projects:

* Schools Initiative
* Legislative Initiative
* Listening Project Initiative
* Sanctuary City Initiative
(See Join One of the Current Coming Together Action Projects for more information.)

Thursday, December 8th at 7PM
The Jones Library in Amherst

“The Danger of a Single Story”
video of a renowned brief talk by Chimamanda Adichieadichie

 

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
This is a two-part meeting.
After the video and a brief discussion of its relevance to Amherst, small groups will meet to discuss and advance the Action Projects underway with the Coming Together project.  Everyone is invited to participate in the discussion and planning of one of the projects.

The Coming Together Action Projects include:
State Legislative Initiative
Listening Project Initiative
Schools Initiative
Local Business Initiative
and a proposed new project on protecting local immigrants from deportation as the new administration takes office.

For more information please see: Join One of the Current Coming Together Projects

Thursday, November 17th at 7PM
The Jones Library in Amherst
Author David Billings 
will speak on his new book
Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy
in U.S. History and Life

A master story-teller, David grew up as a white, working class boy in Mississippi and Arkansas. He is an anti-racism trainer with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.  HIs book includes strategies for dismantling white supremacy.
This event is co-sponsored by Coming Together, UROC, and the Amherst NAACP.

After David’s talk and some Q&A, small groups will meet briefly to discuss and advance the four Action Projects underway with the Coming Together project.  Everyone is invited to participate in the discussion and planning of one of the projects.  The evening will end by 9PM.

Thursday, October 20, 2016
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM

This will be a 2-part meeting:

1) We will view and discuss
“Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence”
a 20 minute video talk by Derald Sue, the primary derald-suedeveloper of the idea of micro-aggressions.  He identifies common difficulties in trying to talk abut race and proposes four steps to becoming a genuine anti-racist.  This is part of a series, “Conversations with Great Minds” and contains substantial food for thought and action.
2) We will meet in small groups to advance work on  3 new  anti-racism action projects:
* Schools Initiative
* Legislative Initiative
* Listening Project Initiative

 

Thursday, September 8, 2016
at The Jones Library at 7:00PM
This will be a 2-part meeting:

1) We will view and discuss
“You Can Help Stop the Violence Against Young Black Men”
a 20 minute video talk by Verna Myers which has some important suggestions about how we might free our minds of internalized racism and take effective action, and

2) We will introduce, discuss and start planning 3 different proposed anti-racism action projects.  

(Note: This event is on election day in Amherst and Pelham.  Please vote before you come.  Please consider how your vote might best contribute to racial justice.)

 

Thursday, June 9th, 6:30PM – “What’s Race Got to Do with It?” – a film that “focuses not just on what’s being said, but also what’s not being discussed openly – the underlying fears, frustration, ignorance and confusion that render unproductive so many of our conversations about racism.”   A powerful 49 minute film from California Newsreel.
(Please note earlier than usual start time.  This is because the Library starts closing earlier in June.)

Thursday, May 12, 7PM –Just a Piece of Cloth” – a new video about Muslim women, the hijab, and other issues of Islamaphobia and racism. Regrettably timely. (See more description below.)

Just a Piece of Cloth is a 34-minute documentary that unravels stereotypes perpetuated by the mainstream media about Muslim women. The video features four Muslim women in the U.S. from diverse backgrounds as they talk about what hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf, means to them and how it affects their daily lives. With humor, seriousness, and candor they speak from personal experience about this often controversial garment. Despite their unique stories, universal human questions lie just beneath the surface: What boundaries define me? How do I travel across those boundaries to be true to myself, my community, and my faith? How do I transform the stories that limit my potential?

 

Thursday, April 14th, 7PM – American Indian Comedy Slam” –extremely funny, and also recommended as one of the top 10 anti-racism films.  We will have some local Native people with us to help us with the discussion following the film.

 

Thursday, March 10th, 7PM – “Discussions Across Differences” – just released – short videos produced in the Ferguson, MO area to promote learning and action to dismantle racism after the shooting of Michael Brown.   Includes people who were in the streets and those who supported them –  who are trying to help their community and the nation heal.  Please join us for some important learning and interaction.

Discussions Across Differences

Thursday, February 11th, 2016 – 6:30 PM
“42 – THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY”

This engaging Hollywood film (rated PG-13) from 2013 dramatizes the story of Jackie Robinson and the racism he faced as he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  We’ll look at how other characters in the story did and didn’t stand up against racism and what we can learn from them, as well as from Jackie.  (Please note the earlier than usual starting time: 6:30PM).  Please join us for a good evening.

 

Thursday, January 14th – 7:00 PM
“Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity”

“Cracking the Codes challenges us to build a world that works for everyone.” – Van Jones, co-founder, Rebuilding the Dream

From Shakti Butler comes a new film that asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity. Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity features moving stories from racial justice leaders and others of many different racial backgrounds.
Our discussion will be facilitated by Vira Douangmany!


Saturday, November 21 – 2:30 – 4:00PM

“The Story We Tell”        Race the Power of an Illusion

is an eye-opening tale of how deep social inequalities came to be rationalized as natural – deflecting attention from the social practices and public policies that benefited whites at the expense of others.  We will look at how this story continues to affect us and our society today.  (This is Episode #2 in  “Race: The Power of an Illusion” from PBS, California Newsreel.)

See trailer below.  We recommend watching just the first 2 minutes.

We particularly like this video because it:

  • explains a lot about the relationship between race and class in the U.S.
  • is hopeful – knowing that “race” was created makes it easier to believe that we can dismantle it
  • shows how many of the memes we hear today are legacies of slavery

 

Community Conversations:
Planning Some Action Steps
Tuesday, October 27, 7:00PM – 8:45PM
at The Jones Library
co-sponsored by multiple local groups committed to dismantling racism, this is an important step in building this work in the greater Amherst area.  

October 8, 2015, 7PM  at The Jones Library
Fruitvale Station
– a 2013 feature film, and Sundance Film Festival Winner, about the murder of African American Oscar Grant in 2009
by Oakland transit police.  This is a gripping film (rated R) that highlights Grant’s humanity and explores some of the issues of recent police killings of unarmed black men.

 

Workshop for White People
Sunday, June 28, 2015, 1PM – 8PM
facilitated by Michael Burkart and Ruthie Killough-Hill
at the First Congregational Church, 165 Main St. Amherst, MA

Our society is a racial hierarchy with whites at the top economically, politically, culturally, etc.
     If we don’t work to dismantle racism, it will continue unabated.  However, few, if any of us, have been raised to know how to do this.
     This one-day session focuses on two things: (1) building our awareness about what holds racism in place and (2) exploring how we can undermine it in a wide variety of settings: the work place, schools, local events, family gathering and discussion.

CAN – a documentary film by Pearl J. Park
Thursday, June 11, 2015, 7PM – The Jones Library
Can Truong, a war refugee who was among the millions of boat people who fled Vietnam in the 1970’s, was a model student, aspiring to become a doctor, when he was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder.  This remarkable film tells the story of his involvement in the mental health consumer movement, a social and political effort by people labeled with mental illnesses who believe in recovery through self-determination and peer support; and of his healing journey — trying to reconcile cultural differences with his very traditional Confucian father and attempts to make sense of his childhood wounds.   This video was highly recommended by some members of our Steering Committee who also had an opportunity to meet both Can and the Korean-American filmmaker.  Please see the trailer below and join us for the showing June 11th.

Video/film
Race: The Power of an Illusion – Episode 3: “The House We Live In” – Thursday, May 14th, 7PM
, The Jones Library.  This powerful video has helped many people understand contemporary racism more deeply and explains the origins of the vast racial inequalities of wealth that characterize our nation today.

Community Event
White People Taking Action Against Racism
Thursday, April 23rd, 7PM, The Jones Library

This interactive session will be led by facilitators from “Showing Up for Racial Justice”, a highly-regarded national organization.  (See below for more about SURJ.)  They will help us focus on how white people in the Amherst area can take collective and strategic action to advance racial justice.

Many of us have attended the film/video, speaker, and conversation events sponsored by Coming Together over the last 7 months and have wanted to know how to do more to dismantle racism.  This session will help us answer that question locally.

All across the nation, groups are organizing for racial justice and taking action.  We can do this in the Amherst area too.  (This doesn’t mean that we would necessarily become a “SURJ group”, only that they will help us create a local action group of our own.)

While the focus of this event will be on white people taking action, the event is open to everyone.

Video/film
reel bad arabs

Thursday, April 9, 2015 – video/film, Reel Bad Arabs – an engaging video that helps us understand how much anti-Arab and anti-Muslim indoctrination everyone in the US has been exposed to, often without being aware of it.  Crucial to understanding how racism operates in the US today.  7PM The Jones Library.  The discussion following the video will be led by Hind Mari and  Abed Jaradat, both of whom are Palestinian. View trailer below.


“Being Invisible – Being Hyper-visible:
Living in Amherst as a Person of Color”

– a multi-racial panel of local people
  will share their personal experiences of  growing up in, and/or living in, Amherst.  Tuesday, March 24, 2015,    7PM, The Jones Library.  This will be a special  opportunity to learn how these members of our community experience racism here. The panelists include Janaya Collins, Amina Jordan, Victor Nuñez Ortiz, Josh Odam, and David Ke; facilitated by Sovann-Malis Loeung and Caroline Murray.  They will engage the audience in thinking about how we have all felt (in)visible at times.  The overarching goal is for us to come together to create a more equitable and inclusive community.  This panel includes some younger people than are often heard in the public discourse here. Please join us.

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. …  When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves or figments of their imagination, indeed, everything and anything except me.”Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Smoke Signals – Tuesday, March 3, 2015 – The Jones Library at 7PM
This very entertaining 1998 movie was the first feature film written, directed, and produced by Native Americans.  It was an award winner at the Sundance Festival and played in many theaters.  It

debunks stereotypes and provides an opportunity for us to enjoy an engaging film and also discuss our own relationship to the history of the indigenous people of North America and current issues.   The discussion afterwards will be led by several local native people.
vincent_who-dvd-front-big1-e1313025518395

***Film: Vincent Who? – Thursday February 5th, 2015- The Jones Library at 7 PM

In 1982, at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments arising from massive layoffs in the auto industry, a Chinese-American named Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers. Chin’s killers, however, got off with a $3,000 fine and 3 years probation, but no jail time. Outraged by this injustice, Asian Americans around the country united for the first time across ethnic and socioeconomic lines to form a pan-Asian identity and civil rights movement.

Among its significant outcomes, the movement led to the historic broadening of federal civil rights protection to include all people in America regardless of immigrant status or ethnicity.

VINCENT WHO? explores this important legacy through interviews with the key players at the time as well as a whole new generation of activists whose lives were impacted by Vincent Chin. It also looks at the case in relation to the larger narrative of Asian American history, in such events as Chinese Exclusion, Japanese American Internment in WWII, the 1992 L.A. Riots, anti-Asian hate crimes, and post-9/11 racial profiling.

Ultimately, VINCENT WHO? asks how far Asian Americans have come since the case and how far they have yet to go.

By sparking interest in Vincent Chin with this film, we hope to contribute toward the day when “Vincent Chin” becomes a familiar name not only among Asian Americans, but all Americans. We believe that the Vincent Chin case and the resulting Asian American civil rights movement should assume an important place in this country’s history.

P_40464593_2390957 ***Video: Michelle Alexander speaks about “The New Jim Crow”– a powerful speech given at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, NY- Thursday, January 8th, 2015 at The Jones Library.  Free and open to the public. “The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. This DVD has been dubbed the secular bible of a new social movement by numerous commentators, including Cornel West, and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.”Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness.”

No trailer is available for this speech but the following video provides a sample of Michelle Alexander’s engaging speaking:

Latinos Beyond Reel – Thursday, December 4, 2014 – 7PM – at The Jones Library –   “A hard-hitting documentary about how Latinos are marginalized and vilified in the U.S. media – with grave consequences.” The discussion following the video will be facilitated by Mari Castañeda (who is also in the video).Latinos Beyond Reel Trailer :

“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf
“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf
“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf
“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf
“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf
“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf
“Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones – See more at: http://debbyirving.com/the-book-2/#sthash.mzCKmtBQ.dpuf

Note that Latinos/Latinas are the largest and fastest-growing group of people of the global majority in Amherst, and in the U.S.    Too often discussions of race and racism are limited to issues between African Americans and white people. We feel strongly that our discussions about race in the Amherst area must include many groups, including Latinos and Latinas. Most of us have quite a bit to learn here. This is an excellent opportunity to take a next step as a community – both in learning and in coming together.

 

WUWcoverFINAL-200x300*** Debby Irving, author of Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race  – will speak at the Grace Episcopal Church Parish Hall on Thursday, November 20th at 7PM.  Free and open to the public.  All are invited.  She is coming to Amherst to address our community about moving forward on issues of racial justice.  Her book is the story of her own awakening from a well-meaning, but not very well informed liberal, to become a growing, anti-racism activist and widely praised author. “Debby Irving’s powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving’s focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life — her own — may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives — and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving’s window fascinating, and telling.” – Van Jones

 

*** Community Conversation on Race – Friday, November 14th, 5:30PM – Supper provided – at the Unitarian Universalist Society Social Hall, 121 N. Pleasant St, Amherst – Free and open to all.  An opportunity for people of all racial backgrounds in the Amherst area to come together to talk with facilitation by Barbara Love, Michael Burkart and Ruthie Killough-Hill.  The evening will include a time for people of color and white people to meet separately, followed by meeting all together.  This event is co-sponsored by the Coming Together project, the Amherst Human Rights Commission, NAACP (Amherst Chapter), Citizens for Race Amity Now, and Mass Slavery Apology. This type of dialogue has been all too rare in Amherst.  Please join us for this important evening.  This is a special opportunity to move our community forward toward greater mutual understanding, connection, inclusion and equity.  (Supper is being prepared by local restaurants and professional chefs.  Financial support comes from the sponsoring organizations.)

 

WLM_new_release *** White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America – informative and engaging documentary film – Thursday, Nov. 6, 7PM at The Jones Library.  Free and open to the public. Based on the work of acclaimed anti-racist educator and author Tim Wise, explores race and racism in the U.S. through the lens of whiteness and white privilege. In a stunning reassessment of the American ideal of meritocracy and claims that we’ve entered a post-racial society, Wise offers a fascinating look back at the race-based white entitlement programs that built the American middle class, and argues that our failure as a society to come to terms with this legacy of white privilege continues to perpetuate racial inequality and race-driven political resentments today.

For years, Tim Wise’s bestselling books and spellbinding lectures have challenged some of our most basic assumptions about race in America. White Like Me is the first film to bring the full range of his work to the screen — to show how white privilege continues to shape individual attitudes, electoral politics, and government policy in ways too many white people never stop to think about. Features Tim Wise, Michelle Alexander, Charles Ogletree, Imani Perry, Martin Gilens, John H. Bracey, Jr., and Nilanjana Dasgupta. The film/video series is co-sponsored by the Coming Together project and The Jones Library.

 

Barbara Love is a dynamic, inspiring speaker who speaks all over the world on issues of racial justice. SheBarbara Love is looking forward to addressing her local community here in the Amherst area where she lives. She was a long-time professor in the Social Justice Program at UMass.  Dr. Love is deeply committed to including people of all racial backgrounds in striving together to have the community and the world we dream of.  Her talk in Amherst is titled, “Love, Care and Racism: Coming Together in Amherst”. 7PM – Social Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, 121 N. Pleasant St. – Monday, October 20th

 

 

“The Central Park Five” is a moving film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, that tells the story of the five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were convicted and sent to prison for the assault and rape of a white woman that they did not commit. After years in prison they were eventually freed and just recently won a settlement from NYC. It’s a riveting central_park_five2tale of innocent young men scapegoated for a heinous crime, and serves as a mirror for our times. October 9, 2014