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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Top Social Justice Stories of #2015

The end of the year is an apt time for reflection, critique, and forward thinking. And as 2015 closes its door, here is a look back at the top social justice stories of the year.

1. Black Lives Matter  
First emerging as a hashtag and organization in 2012, the Black Lives Matter movement took 2015 by storm with protests, demonstrations, and unwavering commitment towards justice on issues of police brutality, mass incarceration, and systemic racism. And though 2015 did not see substantive change on matters of police accountability, the Black Lives Matter movement grew in strength, power, and resolve.  

2. The Trans Rights Movement
After Caitlyn Jenner came out as a trans woman in a highly-watched interview with Diane Sawyer, gender identity and trans rights became a mainstream topic of conversation. As a result, Jenner became a celebrity and trans issues began to receive more attention and media coverage than ever before. Though just as Jenner has become arguably the most high-profile trans person, her celebrity has not been free from criticism. Many individuals in the trans community, trans women of color in particular, have critiqued Jenner over her lack of awareness on the intersections between race, class, and gender and the ways in which Jenner's wealth and whiteness do not make her experience representative.

Beyond Jenner, the trans right movement continues to grow, as 2015 saw the continued rise of trans celebrities like Laverne Cox, the hit television show Transparent, and the appointment of the first trans White House staffer. 2015 also saw the highest number of trans women killed in any year on record, proving that the work is not finished.  

3. Fight for 15
Fight for 15 is a grassroots, worker led movement to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. Originating from the fast-food industry, the Fight for 15 movement saw widespread and significant "wins" in 2015. New York City, Seattle, and Los Angeles all passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15.00. Across the nation, workers and allies in 500 cities went on strike to raise awareness to the plight of those living on minimum wage. With momentum growing, 2016 looks to see more advances for the rights and wages of workers.  

4. Same-Sex Marriage  
In a year seemingly characterized by hate-fueled tragedy, the Supreme Court's decision for marriage equality was a highlight. After decades of work by activists, the Supreme Court declared that per the U.S. Constitution same-sex couples have the right to wed. Immediately after the decision, he hashtag #LoveWins emerged, and dominated every social media platform for the following week.


5.  The Confederate Flag Comes Down in South Carolina
Following the racially motivated massacre at Emmanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, the public display of the Confederate Flag and its symbolism came under debate. In response, activist Bree Newsome  ascended the flag pole in front of the South Carolina State Capitol and removed the Confederate Flag that had flown there since the 1960s. Weeks later, the flag was officially taken down as Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to permanently remove the flag from state grounds.    

6. Student Activism
From football players at the University of Missouri going on strike, to a coalition of students at the University of California schools fighting for divestment from private prisons, 2015 saw a heightened level of student activism. Students like Jonathan Butler, who led a hunger-strike at the University of Missouri in protest of lack of action towards racism on campus, captivated the attention of the country and inspired many to join the fight for justice.  

What are your social justice related resolutions for 2016? What do you hope will happen in the coming year? Let us know in the comments! 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Resources for Talking Current Events at the Dinner Table

As the holiday season advances, conversations on current events with friends, neighbors, and extended family are almost inevitable. Need a primer to help get you through? Check out this resource from Showing Up for Racial Justice, which outlines several talking points on the Black Lives Matter movement, student uprisings, Islamaphobia, and police brutality. The resource also includes tips for managing difficult conversations.

Do you plan to have any conversations about current events or social justice this holiday season? How will you approach these conversations?  

This holiday season, come to the Stowe Center to participate in the new house tour experience, where you will learn about Stowe and the 19th century and engage in a facilitated conversation about how the past relates to today. A great, educational trip for the entire family! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

#SalonsatLunch: Student Advocacy

Join us for our December Stowe Salon at Lunch on Student Advocacy! As protests are occurring on college and high school campuses across the country, reflect on the ways in which students can effect change.

From the University of Missouri to right here at SAND elementary school in Hartford, students and parents are advocating for just and equitable schools.

Stowe Salons at Lunch begin at 12:00 pm in the Stowe Visitor Center. Bring your lunch and your ideas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

#StoweSyllabus: What We're Reading this Week

Articles and current events that got us thinking over the week! 

When in pursuit of positive change, better drop the ‘Why me’
Michel Martin, November 29, 2015, NPR

The other student activists
Melina D. Anderson, November 23, 2015, The Atlantic

Laquan McDonald and the system
Charles Blow, November 30, 2015, The New York Times

28 common racist attitudes and behaviors
Debra Leigh, November 29, 2015, Odin’s Blog 

Another Baltimore injustice
Todd Openheim, November 28, 2015, The New York Times

No meekness here: Meet Rosa Parks, ‘Lifelong Freedom Fighter’
NPR Staff, November 30, 2015, NPR

What are your reactions to the pieces? What articles, news pieces, or video-clips have you come across over the week? Let us know, below! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Following Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is deemed "Giving Tuesday," where individuals are prompted to donate money to their favorite charity or organization.
Giving Tuesday was started in 2012 by 92nd Street Y, a cultural organization in New York City. Since its inception, Giving Tuesday has used the power of social media and crowd funding to galvanize efforts towards charity giving.   

Who will you be giving to on Giving Tuesday? Consider making a gift to the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, where your donation will contribute to the continuation of dynamic programming, educational school trips, and the development of a new Stowe House tour experience. 

Beyond Giving Tuesday, what are ways we can work to infuse a spirit of contribution and giving throughout the year? Let us know in the comments below!