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.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

#Blacklivesmatter and #ItsOnUs at the #Grammys

From Harriet Beecher Stowe to Public Enemy, art, whether literature, movies, or music, has long been held as a tool for social progress. Last night, The 57th Grammy Awards, highlighted the ways music serves as a purveyor of justice, with subtle and explicit references to the country's most pressing social issues.  

Several performers, including Pharrell and BeyoncĂ©, brought #Blacklivesmatter to the stage, with performances that referenced solidarity with those fighting police brutality. Prince, took the charge a step further, and declared while introducing the nominees for Best Album- 
“Albums — you remember those? They still matter. Like books and black lives, they still matter.”     

Pharrell performs "Happy" at the 57th Grammys and nods to "Hands Up, Don't Shoot"

Perhaps the most buzzed about moment of the night was President Obama's domestic violence public service announcement. About midway through the program, President Obama appeared to implore the music industry to take the lead on ending domestic and sexual violence through the White House's It's On Us campaign.    


President Obama's PSA was followed with a spoken word performance by Brooke Axtell, a survivor of human trafficking and domestic abuse. Immediately after Axtell, Katy Perry performed "By the Grace of God," an emotional ballad from her Grammy nominated album Prism, which many interpreted as a reference to the tragedies of an abusive relationship.

Brooke Axtell performing at the 57th Grammys  

Like the NFL's domestic violence PSA a week earlier, the Grammys inclusion of domestic violence awareness drew criticism. Many viewers highlighted the striking irony that is an industry that tries to promote an end to gender based violence, while also allowing Chris Brown and R. Kelly, convicted and accused abusers respectively, to receive repeated nominations for their work. Last night, Brown was nominated for three Grammys and R. Kelly for one.  

So what do you think? Do the Grammys care about ending domestic violence? Does the NFL? How can we demand industries and organizations to more fully support social justice and positive change in all of their operations? 

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