Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Summer of Solutions Hartford 2013

We're excited to share more information about Summer of Solutions Hartford, a youth-led food justice non-profit which was represented by Jennifer Roach at our Cultivating Food Justice Salon (4.25.13). SoS is seeking participants ages 14-30 for its team to build school and community gardens this summer, as well as a full-time Program Leader.
For more information, visit soshartford.wordpress.com or email Jennifer at roach.jenniferlynn@gmail.com. If you are an advocate for food justice, this could be the outlet for you!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Event Recap: Cultivating Food Justice (4.25.13 Salon)

Salons at Stowe
April 25, 2013

In Connecticut, do all people have access to enough nutritious food for a healthy life? How do our state and communities address the issue of food access and security for all?

Sarah Thrall is the current President of the Junior League of Hartford. A lifelong volunteer, she has coached youth athletics, served on various boards including the Granby Education Foundation, Valley Pre-School, the Farmington Valley YMCA, and the Windsor Junior Women's Club. She has served a variety of roles on the leadership team of the Junior League of Hartford since 2006.
Gloria J. McAdam has served as chief executive of Foodshare since 1984.  During this time, the need within our community has grown tremendously, but through Gloria's leadership, so has Foodshare's response. Gloria currently serves as Vice Chair of the National Council, and previously served for two years on the Board of Directors of Feeding America, the country’s largest charitable food program.  She also previously served two years each as secretary and chair of the Eastern Region Association of Food Banks, which extends from Maine to Florida. Gloria is a founding member and former chair of the Connecticut Food Policy Council and the Board of Directors of End Hunger Connecticut.
Jennifer Roach began working in community agriculture in 2010 when she started an organic garden  at a women’s rehabilitation center. In 2011, she co-founded the Summer of Solutions Hartford, a youth leadership development and food justice summer program in Hartford that engages young people in building community and school gardens. She is currently a Program Leader with Summer of Solutions Hartford in their third year, an active member of Food Not Bombs, and the Garden Manager at the Burns Latino Studies Academy. 

Gloria J. McAdam
Foodshare provides food to Hartford and Tolland Counties to feed 130,000 people. “Mapping the Meal Gap” shows that low income people get food from many sources including food pantries and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). In the two counties that Foodshare serves, the gap between what is provided and what is needed is $64 million; Foodshare provides $23 million in food to close that gap. This shows that more soup kitchens and bigger pantries are not the solutions – we need to shorten the lines in our pantries and food kitchens and help people move towards self-sufficiency. Foodshare volunteers help people take advantage of SNAP, and in the past 10 years the number of eligible people who take advantage of it has risen from 65% to 75%, in part because of Foodshare’s work. Fresh food is often available but expensive because the state does not support fresh agriculture – they subsidize growing corn which is made into junk foods. There must also be a move to help people become more self-sufficient through programs like the Junior League and Summer of Solutions.

Sarah Thrall
The Junior League looks for problems in the community that they can help solve. They have started Freshplace a community kitchen/food pantry which provides more of a shopping experience, with access to fresh food, produce, meats, etc. they also offer case management services – clients shop with a volunteer twice per month and meet with a case manager once per month who helps them find jobs and become more sufficient. Participation has proven to lead to sufficiency. The Junior League is starting to focus on issues rather than single projects, and the current issue is eliminating hunger in Hartford. They also run a backpack program at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School which provides food for the weekend for a family; a Kids in the Kitchen program which exposes kids to healthy foods and active lifestyles; Junior League members have been serving food at Loaves and Fishes Ministries for 25 years; and other projects in the Hartford area.

Jennifer Roach
Summer Solutions Hartford gets young people involved in green economy projects and issues of social justice in their communities, a model which has been used 22 times across the country. The program invites young people ages 14-30 to join the organization for a 10-week summer program on food preservation, food justice, and urban agriculture. The first year (2010), the organization built a community garden on the corner of Zion and Park Streets, which included potlucks and arts activities to get the community involved. The initiative transformed abandoned lots into community spaces (60 garden beds in the first week), engaging locals who knew how to garden but did not own their own homes with spaces to garden. Another community garden was built on Broad Street with Trinity students. They engage even younger people through summer school programs on gardening and healthy cooking. This summer will be their third year and they will continue to teach about food justice. She found that people in the surrounding neighborhoods did not have transportation to supermarkets for fresh food, and were shopping at corner stores where fresh food is not typically available or is often expensive; they are unable to use their gardening and cooking skills. Community gardens bring fresh produce as well as a space where food grows; a different kind of space. 

Audience question: Why are there no supermarkets with fresh produce in Hartford?
  • Gloria: The price of land and density make it difficult. The alternatives are transportation which bring the people to the supermarkets
  • Audience member: There is a Stop & Shop on New Park Street and Sav-a-Lot stores which have some variety. SNAP benefit are two-for-one at some farmer’s market.
  • Gloria: Some farmer’s markets do not take SNAP because “two-for-one” requires private funding to match.
Audience comment: The food problem needs two solutions: direct access to food and advocacy. The Hartford Food System is doing advocacy and encouraging Hartford supermarkets to sell healthier food towards the front of the store with junk food at the back. It is not that there is no produce in Hartford but the quality is poor.
Audience question: How do you know how many people are eligible for SNAP? (75% of those eligible take advantage of it) Why do food trucks not go into poorer neighborhoods to provide food?
  • Gloria: It is an estimate based on income. The Foodshare trucks make 70 stops in 2 week rotations, and most stops are at low income and senior housing; each truck has at least 6-8 items.
Audience question: Where does the $22 million in provided food come from?
  • Gloria: The food is donated by companies, and the $5 million to run the trucks annually is raised through Foodshare.
Audience question: What is being done for those who do not qualify for SNAP? (those who are just over the financial line)
  • Gloria: Foodshare and provides food to those who are not eligible and those who are eligible because it is a private organization. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and is a physical card (rather than stamps) on which they can purchase food only.
Audience question: Are people with SNAP and other programs taught how to cook the food they receive?
  • Sarah: Freshplace offers cooking classes which teach both cooking and build a sense of community with others in the neighborhood. Volunteers who shop with participants also exchange recipes.
  • Jennifer: Cooking is a big part of the Summer of Solutions. They share a meal together everyday. Participants work on one garden all summer to build ownership, and each team cooks a meal with fresh ingredients once per week. Food is donated by local farms which ensures raw ingredients for the participants to use in cooking. Radishes, fennel, and other food which is not grown is also provided for variety. The program builds both skills and confidence. While she trusts food she grows more than that she buys at a store, participants trust food from the store more because they are concerned the food they grow is not clean enough.
Audience question: Can you explain “self sufficiency.”
  • Gloria: That people are able to support themselves, pay their bills, and have enough money to buy their food, without assistance.
  • Audience question: If SNAP does not allow the purchasing of rotisserie chickens, cooked meats, etc. because they are considered "gourmet food," where do participants get their proteins?
  • Gloria and Sarah: Both Freshplace and Foodshare distribute fresh meats (chicken, beef, other meats).
  • Audience comment: She used to work at a food pantry in Maine and found the knowledge of cooking disappeared with generations after immigration – someone who has recently moved to the United States may not have seen moose meat but can cook with meat, whereas they would turn away boxed macaroni and cheese. We must tap into the food knowledge already in existence in communities because this is a problem in America of not knowing how to cook. Emergency food systems tend to be prepared foods because there is often no space for participants to cook on their own, and shared food time is disappearing with adults having multiple jobs.
  • Jennifer: She noticed that immigrants also had incredible gardening knowledge.

Katherine: How did this happen? Why can’t Americans cook and why do they rely on pre-prepared foods?
  • Audience comment: There is no advertising budget for rice and meats, only large brands like "Chef Boyardee." 
  • Audience comment: When she was young her parents were too busy to cook, and when she was on her own she had to relearn how to cook. She now grows her own food, has chickens, but it is still challenging. The problem started when parents started working, because there was much less time to teach children how to cook.
  • Audience question: Cultural families learn how to use what you have – Is the problem not the access to food but not knowing how to cook the food you have?
  • Gloria: Both are the problems, and it is also generational – young people do not seem to know how to cook.
  • Audience question: She used to work at the Department of Public Health where there were initiatives on smoking and health – did they ever have initiatives on food or nutrition?
  • Gloria: The DOPH does not have initiatives to fight hunger.
  • Audience comment: Cooking Matters is a multi-week program which also teaches participants to shop on a budget and cook.
  • Audience comment: There is an afterschool Cooking Matters program at the Mary Hooker School where they bring in hot plates and microwaves.
Audience comment: Another problem is school lunches and improving the food that is provided. While some schools have summer gardens, what happens over the summers?
  • Audience comment: Several members from Grow Hartford explained that the food at Hartford schools is not healthy, is cooked with oils, and is not appetizing. Things need to change.
    • Audience comment: The problem is that the reimbursement rate is only $2.50 per meal for school lunches.
    • Audience comment: Is a group in West Hartford working on lunches in schools. School lunches are difficult because are constraints with money, constraints on being able to pay cooks and workers, constraints on facilities, and students not wanting to eat it.
    • Audience comment: It is easier to grow a garden in schools than change the policies. A grassroots effort of concerned parents and teachers are what is needed to make a change.
    • Audience comment: Gardens and programming in schools would expose students to fresh food at a young age and change the problem of kids not liking certain foods or knowing how to eat/prepare them.
  • Audience comment: She runs the Hartford Youth Scholars Program, an after school and summer program for 90 6th–8th grade students through Trinity College. They would love to be able to feed the students after school and try to get the healthiest food but it is difficult when prices are so high and 80% are on free or reduced lunch.
    • Gloria: Foodshare could provide food to the organization, Parks and Rec could provide food at the program site, and extra produce is available from supermarkets at the end of the day.
  • Audience comment: After WWII, victory gardens were started – the government encouraged growing gardens, and today we should petition the government to again support gardens (not companies like Monsanto).
    • Audience member: Those interested should connect with faith-based organizations which are some of the largest land owners in urban areas, and since they already do a good amount of food collecting they may be willing to donate land.
  • Gloria: Foodshare is working to reduce the need while providing access to food until the gap is closed. Food drives are not a good way to make food accessible – donating money allows food pantries to purchase by the truckload or make food accessible.
Audience comment: Do we have good communication with food service companies and restaurants about the need for food?
  • Gloria: At Foodshare, employees and volunteers are making connections with restaurants and companies daily.
  • Contact Senators and Congressmen to get fresh foods in schools and communities, eliminate farm subsidies.
  • Promote SNAP and WIC programs.
  • Work to increase and share food knowledge.
  • Check out “Cooking Matters” program and get it into your community.
  • Volunteer to maintain school gardens during the summer so people have access to fresh food after June.
  • Demand better and more nutritious lunches in schools.
  • Support GrowHartford.org.
  • Work to get gardens in elementary schools.
  • Grow something!
  • Connect with faith-based communities on this issue – they have lots of land and/or ability to host gardens and lunches. 
  • Apply to be a participant or leader in the Summer Solutions program (ages 14-30).
  • Volunteer! (it is National Volunteer Week!)
  • Cook and eat fresh foods – lead by example! 
  • Participate in the Walk Against Hunger.
Explore the links featured on our Takeaway Sheet for more information and ways you can take action!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Event Recap: How to Be an Abolitionist Workshop (4.20.13)

This past Saturday, concerned citizens and activists joined us for a special workshop on recognizing and reporting human trafficking in our local communities. The program was lead by award-winning educator and advisor for the Metropolitan Learning Center’s Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery Wendy Nelson Kauffman, Alicia Kinsman from Project RESCUE and Director of Victim and Trafficking Services for International Institute of Connecticut, and Love146's U.S. Prevention Education Manager Kimberly Casey. Participants left the session empowered to fight human trafficking in their communities and speak out on the injustices of this social issue.

Even if you missed the workshop, you can still take action!
Inspiration to Action
  • Use your strengths/talent, write, speak, organize awareness parties, etc.
  • Be more politically active, work on legislation, lobby.
  • Back Fair Trade products and push companies to produce/sell fair trade products.
  • Use consumer power to "cleanse the supply chain."
  • “If you see something, say something”- 1/3 of people rescued were discovered by everyday people.
  • Learn about the California Transparency Act and push your legislators to adopt a similar act in Connecticut.
  • Fundraise/Financially support groups that end slavery (ie. Free the Slaves).
  • Find out how many slaves work for you at SlaveryFootprint.org and share the website with your friends.
  • Share the alarming fact that 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year.
  • Get modern day slavery and human trafficking into your local school system's curriculum.
  • Join a Love146 Task Force.
  • Read the U.S. Department of State's 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking.
  • Watch the documentary Not My Life and share it with your community (see trailer below).
  • Learn about and share the new I'm With Lincoln campaign (see video promo below)
  • Read the following books: 
    • Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy by Kevin Bales
    • Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves by Kevin Bales
    • Modern Slavery: The Secret World of 27 Million People by Kevin Bales, Zoe Trodd, Alex Kent Williamson
    • Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia by Siddharth Kara
    • The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today by Kevin Bales
    • A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-face With Modern Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner


Not My Life

I'm With Lincoln

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cultivating Food Justice Salon on April 25, 2013

In Connecticut, do all people have access to enough nutritious food for a healthy life? How do our state and communities address the issue of food access and security for all? Join this discussion on cultivating food justice with Sarah Thrall (Junior League of Hartford), Gloria McAdam (Foodshare) and Jennifer Roach (Summer of Solutions Hartford). For more information, please visit our website HERE.

The Salon will begin at 5p.m. with refreshments in the Stowe Visitor Center. The facilitated discussion will begin at 5:30 p.m. and end by 7 p.m. Admission is free. RSVP by calling 860.522.9258 ext. 317 or emailing Info@StoweCenter.org. This Salon is co-presented with Connecticut Humanities Food for Thought initiative.

Looking to learn more about food security in Connecticut before the Salon? Read the April 10, 2013 Hartford Courant article "UConn Study Ranks Towns By 'Food Security'," by Shawn R. Beals.
Food security risk

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Event Recap: Have We Overcome? (4.11.13 Salon)

Salons at Stowe
April 11, 2013

The powerful protest song We Shall Overcome served as the unofficial anthem of the American Civil Rights movement and symbolized an era. 50 years after the March on Washington and 150 years following the Emancipation Proclamation, have we overcome racism? Are civil rights guaranteed for all?

Victoria Christgau, Founder and Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence, is a lifelong peace and nonviolence educator. She is also the Founder and Director of the Peace is Possible Chorus and serves as a Peace Representative for the World Peace Prayer Society. She is the winner of the Hartford Courant's 2010 Tapestry Award for her work building bridges and understanding.

Deacon Arthur L. Miller is director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford. An African American who grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1940s and 1950s, Deacon Miller was 10 years old in 1955 when his schoolmate Emmett Till, age 14, was brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman -- an incident that energized the nascent Civil Rights Movement. Today, Deacon Miller speaks out against 21st-century examples of the same intolerance.

Victoria Christgau Victoria suggested that “Have we overcome?” is so broad that it is almost not a question – it is obvious that it is a work in progress. She was 12 when Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  was assassinated, and her class wore black wristbands and cried for a week; her principal almost got in trouble for allowing her students to do so. That was when the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence was “formed…not officially, but in my soul.”
She shared Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence and focused on #3: Non-violence recognizes that evildoers are also victims, and not evil people. The non-violent resister seeks to defeat evil, not people. Dr. King said the forces of evil were militarism/war, poverty and racism.
Victoria shared that even though we have begun to overcome: 
  • In 2003 a famous author visited a restaurant in Litchfield County and felt a sense of racism.
  • 25.4% of residents in Hartford are classified as “poor,” being 2x below the poverty level.
  • Insidious forms of voting control exist: misinformation, fliers, the internet.
  • The election of the first black president was an important moment in our history, but we cannot stop there; we must continue the momentum.
  • 1 in 3 black and 1 in 6 Latinos born in 2001 are likely to be incarcerated.
  • 1 in 4 women have experienced domestic violence.
  • 3 out of 4 Americans know someone who has been a victim of domestic violence.
  • A child dies or is injured by guns every 30 minutes.
  • More children under 5 were killed by guns in 2010 than law enforcement officers in the same year.
  • We cannot be satisfied until we end this culture of racism, violence, modern slavery.
Her organization, the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence does work in schools across Hartford. Some schools have no windows, and are designed by the same architects who design prisons. We need to call on our conscience as a nation and appoint ourselves as “ambassadors of learning” to understand such issues. We can all affect each other and make a difference.

Deacon Arthur L. Miller
Deacon Miller read an excerpt from one of his speeches about the Emancipation Proclamation and the “watch night” experience of December 31, 1862 (the night before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln). Today, black Americans continue “watch night,” awaiting fairness and equality. He spoke about one of his childhood classmates, Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14.
Two weeks before Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech, at the age of 17, Deacon Miller sat in prison as a result of participating in a sit-in in Chicago. He was told that if he was hit by the police, he could not hit back otherwise they’d get arrested.  He realized that his hope could not be beaten.

Deacon Miller talked about how even today he is followed by the police, his male children and grandchildren continue to be followed by officers.

Audience comment: A woman introduced us to her daughter who is black, though she is white. She adopted her daughter when she was 9 months old, and though they bonded, the “powers that be” wanted her to be with a black family. She had to hire a lawyer to keep her daughter, and felt it was a misuse of power. She found her voice and has had to continue to voice her thoughts on inequities and discrimination.

Audience question: Why did they want to take her away from you?
Audience member: “Because I was the wrong color.” Her father was a Congregational minister in Meriden, and was fired because he allowed a black church (whose building was burned down) to use his church. She met Martin Luther King, Jr. when she was 10 years old. She feels like she is a “voice in the wilderness” and gets lonely.
Deacon Miller: We need to stay strong and speak up, the act of righteousness stands along as the support. He asked why Emmett Till was murdered – history books say it was because he whistled at a white woman, but the perpetrator is the reason why he was killed; he ventured into a community of hatred in a country that allowed it. We will not succeed until false histories like this are corrected
                                Victoria: We desegregated but did not integrate.

Audience comment: Desegregation did not necessarily benefit the black community. She only knew 3 white families where she grew up in Alabama. When schools became desegregated, all the whites fled and only one white boy remained. Sheff vs. O’Neill in Connecticut is about money, test scores – education officials know what they’re doing is wrong, but do not want to sacrifice their jobs.

Audience comment: Many northerners agreed with Dr. King, but when he decided it was not about voting rights and started talking about poverty, making changes in the system, etc., things started to change. The audience member was part of a group that read about Dr. King and his views on poverty after his assassination, and found he was killed when he was on his way to a poverty gathering.
Audience comment: The north was alright with MLK as long as he came to work on the tobacco fields. When he returned as an orator, spokesperson, thinker, is when they had a problem with him. It’s not until the history is correct that things will work out.
Deacon Miller: The only difference between the north and south were the signs that did/did not allow blacks.  In the south, signs told the blacks and whites where to be, but in the north everyone was segregated by housing; those barriers continue.

Audience comment: We have not overcome. We have removed some legal impediments: you can go to a better school if you can get there, you can eat at the same place if you can afford the food. When the audience member was a child, kids of different races played together outside – but that no longer happens. Magnet schools are great, but are still predominantly black and Hispanic. They are economically diverse, but not racially. People who live in Hartford should go to other communities and meet someone “who you don’t know and who doesn’t look like you”; get out of your comfort zone and break down some barriers.

Audience comments: A woman’s mother said she could not clean bathrooms at G. Fox because no black people worked there. A young man told the audience member last week that he could not get a job because he could not fill out the application. Blacks continue to do the menial work downtown, which does not allow them to move on.

Audience comment: Many things have changed. The audience member’s mother was one of the first black mailroom women at AT&T. She is one of 11, but they all went to college with good financial support. They moved to the north and got jobs as productive citizens. She also studies African American history. In the 1960s, the main employment for black women was maid and housekeeper. Today, many black women are overeducated, but racism still exists (as her current research shows). “Since we cannot change the color of our skin…what are the markers for you of us having overcome? The black middle class does not seem to be it, and the gains in education does not seem to be it.”
Deacon Miller: Racial and economic injustice are twin demons, they go hand in hand. The disparity between poverty and non-poverty riches has grown. What does true freedom look like? He doesn’t know, but he can dream about it. About his grandchildren growing up where they can grow and be successful no matter what they look like. That is not where we are now. Coming together for conversations like this is what fosters advancement. We need a history where there is no black history, where truths are not about the victims (as is with the story of Emmett Till).

Deacon Miller passed out a quadrant chart he has been working on (see below):
Unearned advantages
  • Parents’ wealth
  • Home
  • Two parents
  • Computer
  • Bed
  • Food and water
  • Good education
  • Peace
Unearned disadvantages
  • Poverty
  • Terrible schools
  • Parents who don’t care
  • Drugs
  • Violence
  • Things that warp a human spirit and “kill” a child

Deacon Miller has done this talk for CT parole officers and other groups. When you look at the characteristics, the unearned advantages tend to be characteristic of white communities, unearned disadvantages tend to be characteristic of black/minority communities. People need to understand where they fall, and not let their disadvantages affect their earned advantages.


Audience comment: Slaves did not overcome when they were free. The audience member was released from parole 10 years ago but finally just got his right to vote back; he is still building his life back, he has not overcome. Like a former slave he has been kept in the stigma of poverty and oppression. We haven’t overcome yet, but we can – it takes “forums like this.” People who are incarcerated will come home and they need to be educated on becoming a good citizen – but will they be accepted?

Audience comment: Connecticut has the largest population of incarcerated black and Latino men, as well as the longest prison sentences of the entire country. When you look at those numbers and the education disparities, the numbers align. When you have a lack of education, what are you going to foster? There are young men under 17 who have committed murder but will be released if they have completed half their sentence – psychologists have said they did not have the proper education; it is an imbalance all the way around. After incarceration, people need to be helped and educated so they can get jobs – when you go in with a lack of education, then have a lack of education when you leave, how do you succeed? “We are a small state but we have some tall numbers” when it comes to disparities.

Audience comment: When we live in a state with the highest per capita income, we know we will have high disparities. Young men have to understand that they can become citizens after prison – they do not understand they can get their voices back. The whole mystique of white privilege: someone said “these black men are coming up and are coming up strong. They are educated and taking our jobs, we need to do something about it.” Because we are the highest per capita state, we have people with a lot to lose. To make a difference we need to fight for a better educational system.

Audience comment: Racism is a well-planned strategy. We have to develop a strategy to counteract what racism is doing to black people.

Bill Costen: Bill has a traveling exhibit on black history that he takes to different schools and venues.  For three years he took the exhibit to MacDougall-Walker and York Correctional Institutions. As he observed the inmates looking at the exhibit, he was surprised by the number of brilliant inmates. The inmates just made a mistake. In 1966 he got to go to lunch with Martin Luther King, Jr., though he did not know who he was. He has spent the past three years putting black history on Facebook every day as his effort to help raise awareness of blacks in American history. (http://www.skyendeavors.net or The Costen Cultural Exhibit on Facebook.                                                                                                                                                               
Audience comment: There is an exhibit at the Y on Albany Avenue entitled Question Bridge: Black Males (www.questionbridge.com), a three hour video with no beginning, middle or end – it is a series of questions by young black men that are answered by older black men. A program will be held at the Y on May 4 at 12pm.

Victoria: Her organization has made the effort to bring history into Hartford communities to raise awareness and show it is not black history but American history. “When will we arrive? When it becomes American history across the board.” They are concerned about systemic violence which has created internal violence, and the outgrowth is what we are seeing. We are inextricably tied, and Dr. King’s message of love is what unites us.

Audience comment: The audience member encouraged attendees to teach people what the laws say. She worked through the 1960s to get laws changed so that racism and prejudice are not allowed. Most people, however, do not know about the law and what it allows. Audience comment: When you talk about law in Hartford, it is hard to sell to young people. She had a young man call her to help when his car was stopped randomly for a drug bust – his future was on the line, but the officers were ready to put him in jail. When she herself drives around, especially when her son is with her, she runs the risk of being pulled over because of the color of her skin.
Inspiration to Action:
  • Dr. King’s 3 issues: war, poverty, racism – are we satisfied?
  • Find your voice and speak up!
  • Meet someone who doesn’t look like you
  • Get out of your comfort zone
  • Shop in a different neighborhood
  • Dream about it change, imagine what it looks like
  • Make black history American history
  • Help and allow people to see where they are
  • Share your experiences with young people
  • Accept who you are, accept others
  • Fight for our educational system
  • Develop a strategy to combat racism
  • Find The Costen Cultural Exhibit on Facebook and help spread the history
  • Visit QuestionBridge exhibit at the Y on Albany Ave or Wesleyan University (questionbridge.com)
  • Bring American history to children
  • Avoid internal violence
  • Know the law and talk about it
  • Remember that we are all in this together and there is lots of work to do!

Explore the links featured on our Takeaway Sheet for more information and ways you can take action!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"How to be an Abolitionist" Workshop on April 20, 2013

As an abolitionist, Harriet Beecher Stowe fought to end human slavery. Although the institution of slavery was abolished in the 1860s, modern day slavery still takes place all over the world even here in Connecticut and across the United States. Learn how to recognize and report human trafficking in your community, with featured presenters Officer Deborah Scates from the Hartford Police Department, Wendy Nelson Kauffman who is an award-winning educator and advisor for the Metropolitan Learning Center’s Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery, and Kimberly Casey and Nicole von Oy from Love146.

The workshop is open to the public and admission is $10. Teachers and students receive a discounted admission rate of $5, and Stowe Center and World Affairs Council are free. To reserve your seat, please email info@stowecenter.org or call 860-522-9258, ext. 317.

Recognize human trafficking - take a stand - be an abolitionist!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Have We Overcome?" on April 11, 2013

Join us for our first Salon of the Spring and Summer Series!

The powerful protest song We Shall Overcome served as the unofficial anthem of the American Civil Rights movement and symbolized an era. 50 years after the March on Washington and 150 years following the Emancipation Proclamation, have we overcome racism? Are civil rights guaranteed for all? Explore these issues and more at Salons at Stowe: Have We Overcome? this Thursday, April 11 from 5-7 p.m. in the Stowe Visitor Center.

We will be joined by featured guests Victoria Christgau, Founder and Executive Director of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence, and Deacon Arthur L. Miller, director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The Salon will begin with refreshments at 5 p.m. and a facilitated discussion 5:30-7 p.m. Admission is free. RSVP by calling 860.522.9258 ext. 317 or email Info@StoweCenter.org.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Women in the World: Stories + Solutions

How fitting that just weeks after our Rethinking Beauty: Women, Power & Influence Salon, Newsweek and The Daily Beast are presenting the 2013 Women in the World Summit! This April 4-5 event will feature inspirtional women and men from across the world "to discuss global issues and engage in first-person storytelling."

Join us for an exciting and powerful summit centered on vivid journalistic storytelling and featuring inspiring women and men from diverse cultures and backgrounds. From CEOs and world leaders to artists, activists and firebrand dissidents, we tell the stories of the courageous and intelligent women who are battling the status quo in their countries, picking up the pieces in the aftermath of war and shattering glass ceilings in every sector.

Some of the inspiring men and women who will be at the Summit include Meryl Streep, The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Brown, Dr. Hawa Abdi, Tererai Trent, Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Eva Longoria, Barkha Dutt, Ping Fu, Michaela DePrince, Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Diane von Furstenberg, Tom Hanks, Anne Finucane, America Ferrera, Susana Trimarco, Sara Blakely, Angelina Jolie, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Cynthia McFadden, Ai-jen Poo, Julie Hamp, Patricia Amira, and many more!

For more information about Women in the World, how you can stream the summit live, and inspirational stories from women around the world, visit http://www.thedailybeast.com/content/witw.html.