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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Fruitvale Station"

2013 Stowe Prize Winner Michelle Alexander has raised questions around issues of mass incarceration and the plight of black men in her book The New Jim Crow. So, too, does a recent film Fruitvale Station.

Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, director Ryan Coogler's FRUITVALE STATION follows the true story of Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan), a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother (Octavia Spencer), whose birthday falls on New Year's Eve, being a better partner to his girlfriend Sophina (Melonie Diaz), who he hasn't been completely honest with as of late, and being a better father to Tatiana (Ariana Neal), their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year's Day. Oscar's life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area - and the entire nation - to its very core.(http://www.fruitvalefilm.com)

This film has gained national attention and acclaim, being released at a pivotal time in our history: following the discussions around Alexander's The New Jim Crow, simultaneous with news stories like "The Fight for Black Men" by Joshua DuBois, during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and anniversary year of the Emancipation Proclamation, and in the 50th anniversary year of the March on Washington. Thus, while Fruitvale calls attention to recent racial injustices and stereotypes, its timing also forces us to consider: How far have we come since the Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation, Civil Rights Movement, and March on Washington? What more must be done to achieve racial equality? What can we do as individuals to combat injustices?

We encourage you to explore Fruitvale Station's website, http://www.fruitvalefilm.com, which features Commit and Toolkit pages with information and resources. Mychal Denzel Smith also published an article in The Nation titled "Rewriting Black Manhood: A Conversation with 'Fruitvale Station' Director Ryan Coogler" which gives great insight into the film.

Commitbox 1     Iamboxv4

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Are we afraid of appearing racist?

Last week we posted about Racism and stereotyping in the news which was a perfect segue into a study by Michael I. Norton, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. A recent Harvard  Business Review blog post by Scott Berinato, The Two-Minute Game that Reveals How People Perceive You, featured a game and video (below) narrated by Norton. Watch the video and then consider: Are we afraid of appearing racist?

Share your reactions in the "Comment" section below.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"America's Climate Change Century" author talk on August 29, 2013 at the Stowe Center


“A Call to Climate Action – America’s New National Purpose”

By Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg, Author of America’s Climate Century
Thursday, August 29, 7:00 p.m.
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest Street, Hartford, CT

Iowa State Senator Rob Hogg, author of America’s Climate Century, is touring New England states August 16 to 29 to call on Americans to take the climate action we so urgently need and to make the fight against climate change our new national purpose.  As he says, it is the defining moral challenge of this century – and Americans need to lead the world in the global fight for sustainability and survival.

The fight against climate change means slashing greenhouse gas emissions by moving beyond fossil fuels, at the same time safeguarding people and property from more frequent and severe climate disasters (extreme storms, floods, drought, wildfires, and ecological disruptions).  Having represented Cedar Rapids during an unprecedented flood in 2008 that caused billions of dollars in disaster damage, Senator Hogg brings a “dose of reality” to the issue of climate change.  The good news is, there is growing momentum for climate action which can create a safe, healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future.

Senator Hogg is serving his second term in the Iowa Senate after two terms in the Iowa House.  He is recognized as a leader in the Iowa Legislature on climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, disaster preparedness, watershed management, and natural resources.  He formerly served as board president of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light.  He and his wife, Kate, live in Cedar Rapids.  They have three children.

The subtitle of Sen. Hogg's book is What Climate Change Means for Americans in the 21st Century and What Americans Can Do about It - come learn how you can take action on climate change issues! 

The March on Washington: 50 years later, how far have we come?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, known for the landmark I Have A Dream speech by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we commemorate this event, many are asking: how far have we come?

In April, the Stowe Center hosted Victoria Christgau and Deacon Arthur L. Miller for the Salon Have We Overcome?reflecting on our nation's progress towards civil rights and equality. Be sure to read the Salon transcript and takeaway sheet posted HERE.

Below are interviews and reflections about our progress towards equality over the past 50 years, as well as a Stowe Center takeaway with resources about the March and how you can take action on this anniversary. After watching these videos and exploring these resources, consider: how far have we come? What must be done to ensure equality and civil rights for all? What will you do to support these issues and combat injustice? We hope you will share your responses in the "Comments" section below. 

Before the March and his I Have A Dream Speech, Dr. King interviewed with skeptical panelists on NBC's Meet the Press

CNN interviewed Maya Wiley, Founder and President of the Center for Social Conclusion, about race in America. You may remember that Wiley led the October 2012 Transforming Hartford: The Call to Action Continues program at the Legislative Office Building presented by the Stowe Center, Congressman John B. Larson, the City of Hartford, Voices of Women of Color and the Connecticut Commission on Health Equity.

President Barack Obama on our nation's progress since the March and the work that must still be done: "we've made enormous strides," but still have a ways to go.

This video, about the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech, is part of the Smithsonian’s Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and
the March on Washington, 1963

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Memories of the March on Washington

In 1986, The Cosby Show aired an episode which featured the Huxtable family reflecting their first-hand experiences at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington. Today, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the March, watch the episode below (starting at 11:20) to see how the show chose to memorialize the event. 

And don't miss the debut of the documentary The March, "the story...told by the people who organized and participated in it," tonight at 9:00pm on PBS. 

Stay tuned for resources about The March on Washington in tomorrow's blog post! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

National Women's Equality Day

In 1971, U.S. Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) championed the commemoration of August 26 as National Women's Equality Day. The Joint Resolution of Congress read:

Joint Resolution of Congress, 1971
Designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been entitled the full rights and privileges, public or private, legal or institutional, which are available to male citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have united to assure that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex; and

WHEREAS, the women of the United States have designated August 26, the anniversary date of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, as symbol of the continued fight for equal rights: and

WHEREAS, the women of United States are to be commended and supported in their organizations and activities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26th of each year is designated as Women’s Equality Day, and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and that day in 1970, on which a nationwide demonstration for women’s rights took place.
The National Women's History Project website offers information, history, biographies, resources and more about women in history and National Women's Equality Day. Their Women's Equality Day Quiz is a fun way to test your knowledge and learn little-known facts about women and their efforts to secure their right to vote.
Happy National Women's Equality Day - spread the word!

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

In 1997, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed August 23 of every year International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. UNESCO's Director-General invites people worldwide to "give this international day all due prominence and to mobilize their educational, scientific, artistic and cultural communities, youth and, in general, civil society" through reflection and conversation.

This year's Message from Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, calls not only for remembrance, but for support of the organization's Slave Route Project. The Project, which was launched in 1994, traces the extent of slavery in our history and celebrates the cultural contributions of African people to our global society. Ms. Bokova also reminds us that modern forms of slavery still exist with millions of victims worldwide, and that we must all fight against this injustice.

As we recognize this day of commemoration and remembrance, we at the Stowe Center reflect on Harriet Beecher Stowe's personal efforts to end slavery. Stowe's best known novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), changed forever how Americans viewed slavery, the system that treated people as property. It demanded that the United States deliver on the promise of freedom and equality, galvanized the abolition movement and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. Today, we continue Stowe's legacy by inspiring a commitment to social justice and positive change, working against injustices like modern day slavery.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and Stowe call on us to confront slavery and race relations - what will you do to follow Stowe's example on this International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition?

 UN International Day for the remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

“The story of slavery tells us that we can overcome. That the world can change for the better. And that we can do more than simply survive – we can soar!” 
- Marcus Miller, Spokesperson for the Slave Route Project

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Racism and stereotyping in the news

Racism and stereotyping have been hot-button issues in the news and subjects of several recent Stowe Center programs, including our 2013 Stowe Prize public program Human Rights in the 21st Century  featuring Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow), and July What Can You Do To Fight Intolerance? workshop with Dr. Bill Howe. Below are some articles and resources around these topics. What do they say about the state of human rights, equality and racism in our country? Click on the article title or image to read the articles/stories.

We are eager to hear your reactions and responses - please share your comments in the "Comments" section below.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast
"America Isn't Colorblind: We Need to Talk About Racism"
by Errol Louis
Zimmerman Verdict
Americans usually avoid talking about racism publicly until it’s unavoidable. It’s time to stop being afraid that we’ll offend someone and have a blunt, rational discussion, writes Errol Louis.

Newsweek and The Daily Beast
"Derek Black, the Reluctant Racist, and His Exit From White Nationalism"
by Caitlin Dickson
Derek Black
His father founded the white-supremacy forum Stormfront. His mother was once married to David Duke. Derek Black was born to lead the white-power movement—until he defected.

Facing History and Ourselves
"How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do"
by Claude Steele

Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education and social psychologist Claude Steele describes the effects of stereotype threat in our daily lives and on our performance on cognitive tests. 

The New York Times
"Profiling Obama"
by Bill Keller

For much of his public life, Barack Obama has been navigating between people who think he is too black and people who think he is not black enough.

New York Magazine
"Questlove: Tayvon Martin and I..."
by Ahmir Questlove Thompson
Questlove==SPIKE TV'S 2013 GUYS CHOICE AWARDS==Sony Studios, Culver City, CA==June 08, 2013.
The following essay is an adaptation of a Facebook post by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in response to George Zimmerman's acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Questlove is the drummer for the Roots and the bandleader on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PBS documentary "The March" debuts August 27 at 9:00pm

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, PBS will feature a week of special programs about the March and its impact. On August 27, the eve of the anniversary, the network will debut The March, "the story...told by the people who organized and participated in it. It includes interviews with some of the key actors; members of the inner circles of the core organizational groups; Hollywood supporters and civil rights campaigners; John F. Kennedy administration officials; and the ordinary people who became part of the crowd of thousands, who thronged to Washington D.C. by all and every means: plane, bus and car. ‘The March’ is the story of discrimination, defiance and victory told by the people who made it happen and whose lives it changed forever." The documentary will air at 9:00pm.

Other programming will include a The March @50, a five-part web series which explores the promises of the March and whether they have been delivered 50 years later, and Memories of the March, first-person accounts of the historic event on the National Mall .

For more information about the March and special PBS programming, visit their new website PBS Black Culture Connection.

March on Washington
Watch The March - PREVIEW on PBS. See more from The March.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

ESPN fires contributor Hugh Douglas for calling cohost an "Uncle Tom"

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is controversial today just as it was in 1852. Harriet Beecher Stowe intended the book to demonstrate that the institution of slavery dehumanized everyone: those who practiced it, those who supported it, those who tried to ignore it, and those who lived under its yoke. In shaping her characters, she gave Uncle Tom all the qualities and virtues that she admired and wanted to celebrate: strength of character, devotion to family, and, above all, religious faith. Religion formed an essential part of Stowe’s life, and she described how Tom’s faith is constantly tested as he faces hardship, pain, danger, and death. He has been called a Christ-like figure. Tom ultimately sacrifices his life in order to save the lives of others, and forgives his persecutor.

Some readers, however, felt that the character of Uncle Tom was submissive which, though contradictory to Stowe's characterization, led to the evolution of the term "Uncle Tom" into a racial pejorative which still plagues our society today.

The use of the slur appears in the Stowe Center's news alerts frequently. Last week, news broke that ESPN contributor Hugh Douglas was fired after allegedly calling co-host Michael Smith an "Uncle Tom." The story attracted national attention, including "Hugh Douglas Fired From ESPN After Allegedly Calling Cohost 'Uncle Tom'" in the Huffington Post. One news source, Uinterviews, even cited the connection to Stowe in "Hugh Douglas Leaves ESPN After Allegedly Calling Co-Host Michael Smith An ‘Uncle Tom’":
During the public altercation, Douglas allegedly hurled a number of offensive comments at Smith, including dubbing him an “Uncle Tom.” Incidentally, the slur is meant to refer to a black person who is servile to a white people or is seen to assimilate to white culture. It’s a reference to the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Even though some sources explain the origins of "Uncle Tom" as being Uncle Tom' Cabin, they likewise prolong the misinterpretation of the book's leading character.

Regardless, in considering the term as a slur, the attention drawn to this story then begs the question - was the attention because of the use of "Uncle Tom," or because Douglas was fired from ESPN? And how do we work do combat this racism while also educating society that Uncle Tom is not in fact an "Uncle Tom"?

Last year, the Stowe Center debuted a new exhibit in our Visitor Center entitled "Who is Uncle Tom?" The exhibit explores the evolution of Stowe's title character in the public consciousness - from inspiration for the 19th-century's abolitionist movement to today's racial slur. It also features an interactive blackboard showcasing changing interpretations and definitions of "Uncle Tom" and news stories of the term's use today.


How do you define "Uncle Tom"? Who have you heard called an "Uncle Tom" recently? How will you work to end such examples of racism and hatred? If you haven't already, be sure to visit "Who is Uncle Tom?" a free exhibit in the Stowe Visitor Center and learn about this important cultural reference and its evolution. Share your thoughts on the board or in the comment section below this post!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Forum on Youth Engagement with Congressman John B. Larson and The First Congressional Youth Cabinet on August 29, 2013

CT Congressman John B. Larson and The First Congressional Youth Cabinet will host "A Forum on Youth Engagement: What it is, Why it's valuable, & How to make it happen." Join policymakers, organizations that serve youth, and others dedicated to improving the health and well-being of our state's youth to learn how you can genuinely engage young people.

Friday, August 16, 2013

"The Fight for Black Men" by Joshua DuBois

Joshua DuBois, President Obama's first director of the White House's faith-based initiative,  recently wrote a piece entitled "The Fight for Black Men" for Newsweek. In the article, he traces this "fight" from slavery today, and ties in many of the issues we discuss at the Stowe Center, including racism, stereotyping, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration. 

He makes frequent reference to Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow and winner of the 2013 Stowe Prize, and her work to call attention to the plight of black men in today's world. Perhaps without knowing about the Stowe Prize, DuBois makes the remarkable statement that: 
No one has done more to shed light on this issue than Michelle Alexander. Alexander may be this century’s Harriet Beecher Stowe, the storied author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin about whom President Lincoln remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this Great War?” But instead of making a war, Alexander wrote a book to end one.
We certainly agree that Michelle Alexander is following in Stowe's footsteps and are excited to see the impact of this 21st century Uncle Tom's Cabin. We are proud to call her a friend of the Stowe Center.

Have you read The New Jim Crow? What were your reactions to it? What are your reactions to DuBois' article?

Please share your comments with us below!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How many slaves work for you?

In 2006, Anne Farrow, Joel Lang and Jennifer Frank of The Hartford Courant published the book Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery. Based on a 2002 Courant and Northeast Magazine special titled "Complicity: How Connecticut Chained Itself to Slavery," the book
"reveals the cruel truth about the Triangle Trade of molasses, rum, and slaves that lucratively linked the North to the West Indies and Africa; discloses the reality of Northern empires built on profits from rum, cotton, and ivory–and run, in some cases, by abolitionists; and exposes the thousand-acre plantations that existed in towns such as Salem, Connecticut." 
Both pieces were based on the word "complicity," which they defined as "the fact or state of being an accomplice; partnership in wrongdoing;" their work was meant to explain the North's complicit involvement in slavery. Although 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the anniversaries of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments are on the horizon, slavery still exists today. In fact, according to many estimates and studies, there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history (for more information, visit www. FreeTheSlaves.net). But are we still as complicit?

The folks at SlaveryFootprint.org might argue that yes, we are indeed. Their online quiz "How many slaves work for you?" estimates that at least 27 million people are enslave worldwide and through questions about residence,  lifestyle, eating habits, leisure, and more, calculates and exposes how many slaves "work for you." Take the quiz and find out - you'll be shocked at how complicit we all are in modern day slavery.

The quiz concludes with ways you can help end slavery - it's proof that we do not have to be complicit and can help change this incredible injustice.

How many slaves work for you? How will you take action to help end modern day slavery? We encourage you to share your thoughts in the Comments section below. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Music industry's responses to today's injustices

With issues like equality, stereotypes, racism, and gay rights in the news, some artists have used music to take a stance and share their views. Two recent songs have been "Accidental Racist" by Brad Paisley and LL Cool J, and "Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, both of which have generated much conversation around racism and gay rights, respectively. Though responses have been mixed, many applaud the artists for furthering dialog around these issues.

Below are links to recordings of both songs as well as the lyrics and the artists speaking about them - what are your reactions to the songs? How do they make you feel? Do they change your opinion?

"Accidental Racist"
Read the lyrics HERE


"Same Love"
Read the lyrics HERE

We hope you will use the "Comment" section below to share your reactions and thoughts. Let's continue these conversations! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Facing History and Ourselves conference on empathy, bullying and homophobia on October 8, 2013

Our friends at Facing History and Ourselves will be hosting a conference this fall on empathy and bullying, topics discussed in past Stowe Center programs including our November 29, 2012 "Bullied No More" Salon with Catie Talarski (NPR) and Council Brandon (student at Watkinson School) . "Fostering Empathy and Action in Schools: A Conference to Counter Bullying and Homophobia in Schools," will explore the roots of bullying, examine the choices people make when bullying occurs, and discover strategies and resources to prevent and stop bullying in schools.

Conference information:
Date: October 8, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m.
Location: Cambridge School of Weston, 45 Georgian Road, Weston, MA
Registration fee: $75 (includes breakfast, lunch, and copy of A Guide to the Film BULLY: Fostering Empathy and Action in Schools."

For more information and to register, visit the Facing History and Ourselves website.


On October 24, 2013, the Stowe Center will host Lia Kaminer (Hall High School), Steve Armstrong (Hall High School and Central Connecticut State University) and Julia Rosenblatt (HartBeat Ensemble) for a Salon "Walking In My Shoes: How Can We Teach Empathy?" These two events will certainly compliment each other and we hope you can join both Facing History and Ourselves and the Stowe Center to learn more about empathy and taking action!

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Suicide and Mental Health" episode on WNPR's "Where We Live"

The week before our May 16, 2013 Mental Health: Stigmas, Stereotypes and Solutions Salon, WNPR's John Dankosky hosted Suicide and Mental Health on "Where We Live" with guests Dr. Eric Caine, Dr. Sigurd Ackerman, Hector Glynn, and Dr. Elizabeth Cannata. The panel explored the rise in suicide rates over the last 10 years and discussed resources available to people in Connecticut struggling with mental health issues.

If mental health issues and resources are important to you, be sure to listen to the audio podcast on the "Where We Live" website (below) and visit our Mental Health: Stigmas, Stereotypes and Solutions event recap post for the Inspiration to Action list, conversation transcription, and takeaway sheet.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Encore performance of "Learning to Fail" at HartBeat Ensemble on August 21, 2013

Another opportunity to see this powerful, relevant, youth-written, and youth-performed play about institutionalized racism in schools.


Wednesday, August 21, 730pm

$5 General Admission

Using hip-hop and spoken word to say what remains unsaid, LEARNING TO FAIL follows two young teachers one who grew up in  Hartford and one who grew up in the suburbs- as they navigate injustice in their school.

For more information, please visit http://hartbeatensemble.org 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Stowe Center school programs inspire students!

As our Salons do with the community, the Stowe Center's school programs inspire students to be civically engaged and work to create change just like Harriet Beecher Stowe. This past April and May, our museum educators led a multi-week after-school program at Batchelder School in Hartford in partnership with Organized Parents Make A Difference (OPMAD). One activity was to create a public service announcement about an issue important to you, and we were excited to see that one student's poster is proudly displayed in OPMAD's meeting room among their many awards and honors. This student wanted to raise awareness on bullying and speaking up for peace.

Are you an educator? A parent? An active citizen? If you'd like your local students to visit the Stowe Center and participate in an educational and inspirational program, or if you would like the Stowe Center to deliver a program at your school, please visit the School Programs page on our website to learn more. To book a program, please email SchoolPrograms@StoweCenter.org. The beginning of the school year is right around the corner and we hope to see your students at the Stowe Center!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Child trafficking in China in the news

There have been many news stories over the past few weeks about human, sex and child trafficking across the United States. Looking beyond our borders, a recent article in The Atlantic, "Kidnapped and Sold: Inside the Dark World of Child Trafficking in China," shares tragic stories of child trafficking in China where babies are being kidnapped from their parents and sold to orphanages.

You can take action by education yourself on important issues. Be sure to read this article and share it with your friends, family and contacts to raise awareness on human trafficking globally.

 Wang Bangyin, a local farmer, holds his rescued son after the pair were reunited at Guiyang Welfare Centre for Children in Guiyang, Guizhou province. (Reuters)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two community events tonight about mass incarceration and the war on drugs

Looking for something to do tonight? Two free community events in Hartford will focus on mass incarceration and the war on drugs, hearkening back to the issues discussed in our Stowe Prize public program and conversation with 2013 Stowe Prize winner Michelle Alexander. 

Tonight, cities across the country will celebrate the 30th annual National Night Out tonight, an event which raises awareness about police programs and police-community partnerships around issues such as neighborhood watch, drug prevention, and anti-crime initiatives. Tuscan Home Senior housing will host a National Night Out event in Hartford from 4pm-8pm and will feature Giselle Jacobs-Lawson, Community Outreach and Advocacy Specialist for Breaking the Cycle, who will speak on "Breaking the Cycle of Familial Incarceration." Giselle will also be a featured guest at our November 21 Salon at the Stowe Center. 

At 7pm, our neighbors at Asylum Hill Congregational Church will show The House I Live In, a documentary film and winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's Best Documentary. The film "examines the wreckage caused by the war on drugs" and features Michelle Alexander herself!To learn more, see our Facebook event or visit Asylum Hill Congregational Church

Learn more about the war in drugs and mass incarceration with these two events!

Monday, August 5, 2013

CT Center for Nonviolence bus trip to commemorate 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

This August 28 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech. The Connecticut Center for Nonviolence, which empowers "communities to reconcile conflict through Education and the Arts," is organizing a round trip bus trip between Hartford and Washington from Friday, August 23 to Saturday, August 24 for anyone interested in participating in the commemorative events. The central event of the weekend will be a march from the Martin Luther King Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial, and the "Jobs, Justice & Freedom" rally from 8:00am-4:00pm at the Lincoln Memorial with Martin Luther King, III and Rev. Al Sharpton.

For more information about the bus trip, visit www.ctnonviolence.org

To learn more about the March on Washington, Dr. King's speech and this year's commemorative events, we recommend:

Followers of this blog who participate in the 50th anniversary March of Washington are invited to share their experiences and reactions in the "Comments" section below!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Student abolitionist club helps Metropolitan Learning Center earn "Cool School" recognition

Congratulations to our friends at Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery (SASS), a high school activist club at Metropolitan Learning Center, who helped their school recently earn the WFSB 3 Connecticut "Cool School" recognition. The club's focus is raising awareness and funds to end modern day slavery, and the club has raised thousands of dollars since its inception in 2004. Student are active locally, regionally and nationally, having presented at conferences and meetings from Connecticut, to New York, to Washington, DC, to Illinois, to Africa. Check out their featured news segment below!

The Stowe Center has participated in SASS's annual Abolitionist Fair and club advisor/teacher Wendy Nelson-Kauffman has been a featured guest at various programs and is a great friend of the Center.

We hope you will take a few minutes to visit Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery's website and learn about their efforts and initiatives. Is there an opportunity to start a similar club in your local high school?

Bravo to SASS for all their hard work to call attention to modern day slavery and for being recognized for their passion and dedication. We look forward to working with you as you enter your 10th year!

SASS' Mission Statement: 
“We are committed to doing our part in abolishing modern day slavery through educating the public, raising funds, collaborating globally, and advocating for political action.”

Thursday, August 1, 2013

HartBeat Ensemble presents "Learning to Fail" August 2-4

Our neighbors at HartBeat Ensemble will be presenting Learning to Fail, a play about institutionalized racism in education, this weekend only! The play was entirely written and performed by participants of their Youth Play Institute and connects with many of the Stowe Center's program themes including racism, diversity and the achievement gap. Learn more about the performance on HartBeat Ensemble's website.

Using hip-hop and spoken word to say what remains unsaid, LEARNING TO FAIL follows two young teachers -one who grew up in  Hartford and one who grew up in the suburbs- as they navigate injustice in their school. 

YPI’s lead teaching artist, Hannah Simms, says, "It has been a joy and an honor to work with these 11 incredible young artists. They bring an incredible diversity of skills and experiences to the table and are deeply committed to understanding the topic. They have faced all challenges with humor and resilience."