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Boston Talks About Racism

In virtually every corner of the Boston metro region, an issue that comes up frequently is how people face down institutional racism. This collection of talks draws together a diverse group of leaders and thinkers tackling distinct problems that grow out of persisting racist views.

A subset of the talks come from one day where Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh pledged to tackle racial prejudice in his city. On November 19, 2016, he acknowledged to a full house in Boston’s Cutler Majestic Theater that the city has an issue with racism. Walsh and others addressed the mistakes of the past and set goals to build a more socially cohesive and resilient city.

Boston was listed as one of 100 Resilient Cities by the Rockefeller Foundation for its application to root out institutional racism as part of a crisis response plan for the city.

  • In light of the bipartisan support and passage, three experts on race and public policy lead a conversation in the Meeting House on the present state and the future of criminal justice reform and mass incarceration.
    Museum of African American History
  • How do we practice solidarity among liberation movements? In this MFA City Talks, organizers Vanessa Silva and Lily Huang join D. Farai Williams, founder of Dynamizing Equity (dEQ) and MIT Community Innovators Lab strategist Lawrence Barriner, II, for a discussion inspired by the themes found in “Bouchra Khalili: Poets and Witnesses,” on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston from March 21 – August 25, 2019. They consider how individuals fighting for their own goals can find solidarity among liberation movements. Image: Pixabay
    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Frye Gaillard discusses his book, "A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence". It's a personal history of a pivotal time in American life. Gaillard explores the political and social movements of the times ― civil rights, black power, women’s liberation, the War in Vietnam, and the protests against it. He also examines the cultural manifestations of change at that time ― music, literature, art, religion, and science . Gaillard looks at the influence of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as Malcolm X, Gloria Steinem, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Harper Lee, Mister Rogers, James Baldwin, Andy Warhol, Billy Graham, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, Angela Davis, Barry Goldwater, and the Beatles. Gaillard is joined for this Ford Hall Forum by Robert Poulton, Vice President, Marketing & Branding, NBC10 Boston, NECN & Telemundo Boston.
    Ford Hall Forum
  • Udodiri R. Okwandu is a Doctorate student at Harvard University studying the links between social and science. She works to trace the histories of unethical medical practices used in America from the 19th century to present a history of racial inequality within the medical treatment industry. Udodiri uses this history to shed light on the ways in which problematic conceptualizations of race have contributed to health disparities among black Americans.
    NOVA Science Café
  • Drawing on his work with skinheads, neo-Nazis and KKK members, sociologist Michael Kimmel considers the root causes of this addiction and how to bring marginalized men back from society’s extremist edge. He is joined by former neo-Nazis Frank Meeink and Tony McAleer, two men who can speak personally to the violence they conducted and how they are devoting their lives now to healing from their pasts and speaking publicly to prevent others from exploring that path. Image by [Evan Nesterak](https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61723994 "") - White supremacists clash with police, CC BY 2.0,
    Cambridge Forum
  • In eight wide-ranging essays, collected in _We Can't Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival_, Jabari Asim explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body. What emerges is a rich portrait of a community and culture that has resisted, survived, and flourished despite centuries of racism, violence, and trauma. These thought-provoking essays present a different side of American history, one that doesn’t depend on a narrative steeped in oppression but rather reveals black voices telling their own stories. Asim is an author, poet and playwright. For this discussion he is joined in conversation by _Boston Globe_ columnist Adrian Walker. Image: Book Cover
    Harvard Book Store
  • The activist organization #StuckOnReplay, along with many other local organizations, hosted a recent community event focused on inspiring their Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan neighbors to vote in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. Since the launch of #StuckOnReplay in July of 2016, the organization has been focused on elevating voice, uplifting communities, and influencing policymakers. It has shifted its focus this year to holding policymakers accountable for the communities they represent. Other collaborating organizations include[ The Center for Teen Empowerment, Inc.](http://teenempowerment.org/ "teen empowerment"), [Violence in Boston, Inc.](https://www.vibsocialimpactteam.com/ "ViB"), [Haley House Bakery Cafe](http://haleyhouse.org/ "Haley House"),[ Sisters Unchained](https://www.facebook.com/sistersunchained/ "SU on Facebook"), [Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice](https://charleshamiltonhouston.org/ "website"), [Emancipation Initiative - Against Life Without Parole](http://emancipationinitiative.org/ "website"). The rally centered around the question that #StuckOnReplay posed to community members and public officials throughout all these local, state, and federal elections happening this year is: "Who Do You Value?"
    GBH Forum Network
  • In a highly publicized seven-part series published in 2017, _The Boston Globe’s_ Spotlight team dug into one of the city’s most pervasive and troubling issues: the marginalization of the black community. The series exposed the insidious impact of racism on all levels of city life from housing to healthcare to education. In this discussion , the Boston Literary District and GrubStreet invite the story’s writers to the stage where they will share their reporting, what didn’t make it into print, and engage with the audience on these pressing issues that strike at the core of the city’s identity. The panel is moderated by Latoyia Edwards, morning anchor and host of _This Is New England_, NBC10 Boston.
    Boston Literary District
  • The Reverend Traci Blackmon visisted Boston from The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO. To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, Reverend Blackmon led a reflection on his legacy. Photo credit: [Revolutionary Love Conference 2018](http://revolutionaryloveconference.com/videos/ "Revolutionary Love Conference 2018")
    Boston University School of Theology
  • Adam Serwer discusses the politics of racism in America under the Trump administration.
    Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy