New Salem Public Library Offers Racial Justice Programming for Small Rural Communities

On Tuesday, November 9, New Salem Public Library offered its third program in a series on Racial Justice issues from a small, rural community perspective.  The 7 pm ZOOM presentation explored “What is Systemic Racism and How Do We Dismantle It.”

“Planning for the Racial Justice series began after the nationwide protests in the summer of 2020,” explained Library Trustee, Judy Northup-Bennett. “The Trustees wanted to examine more closely our country’s racial history and how our Northeastern rural communities fit into this story. We could no longer say that it’s a problem somewhere else. The Trustees decided to offer programs and book discussions to help people living in small, homogeneous towns better understand our roles in all of this.”

Alpana Chhibber of Molina Consulting helped participants understand the roots of systemic racism in our country, and how this led to the creation of segregated cities and towns. The presentation examined specific case studies which have had devastating effects on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) people as well long-lasting effects on White communities. Participants left the 1 ½ hour ZOOM presentation with a better understanding of how systemic racism has worked over the years as well as specific strategies for dismantling it that will empower them to make changes in their communities. The program is supported by a grant from the New Salem Academy.

Alpana Chhibber is a lead facilitator for Molina Consulting of Baltimore, offering national diversity, equity and inclusion training programs. She currently serves as the Middle School Dean of Students at the Park School of Baltimore. She received counseling and facilitator training from the Stanley King Institute, the Kingswood Oxford Leadership Institute for Educators of Color, and Facilitating for Racial Justice.  She has a BA from York College, PA, and Master degrees in Global Studies and Teaching from SUNY Albany and Union Graduate College.

This program will be followed on Monday, November 15 with a 7 pm ZOOM book discussion of “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson, author of “The Warmth of Other Suns.”  Wilkerson documents the political and economic systems in our nation since the first African slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619 that led to our 400-year caste stem.  She compares this to other historic caste systems.

For more information, visit the New Salem Public Library Facebook page.

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