New NYSWI Online Symposium Examines Systemic Racism's Impact on Capital Region Communities 

The series features high-profile interviews, like this one at 7 p.m. Sunday with author Robin DiAngelo. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 8, 2020) – On behalf of the Center for Law and Justice and the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany, Dr. Alice Green and Paul Grondahl have announced the launch of an online symposium examining the impact of systemic racism on Capital Region communities. The goal is to raise awareness, foster dialogue, find common ground and work collectively to create a more just society.

At 7 p.m. on Sunday, Green will interview Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility.

Produced in the wake of national and local public outrage over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, The Time for Reckoning: Confronting Systemic Racism, Seeking Justice and Reimagining Society presents four themed weeks addressing community concerns. The symposium culminates during the week of October 26, when public TV station WMHT will air a segment of its New York Now program devoted to The Time for Reckoning symposium.

A generous gift from the Steve McKee Foundation of Troy will underwrite the symposium and also will provide for microgrants to be awarded to local activists, grass-roots community groups, artists, writers, filmmakers and people of all ages, especially students, who are actively engaged in collaborative efforts to address systemic racism and to create work and actions to overcome it. Proposals will be accepted through the end of October.

The Center for Law and Justice and the Writers Institute are joined by collaborators WMHT, the Times Union, the Justice Center of Rensselaer County, All Of Us, Youth FX, Amnesty International USA, and other community partners.

The Time for Reckoning features Capital Region personalities interviewing such acclaimed national racism experts as DiAngelo, as well as local community members sharing deeply personal experiences about race in conversation, prose, poetry, drama and film. At key points during the symposium, a panel of government officials from Albany, Schenectady and Troy will respond to constituents’ concerns about systemic racism and a panel of community members will have a chance to reply. Additionally, The Time for Reckoning website offers a wide variety of resources for further study and action.

The theme for the first week of The Time for Reckoning (which started this week) is the impact of systemic racism in Capital Region communities. In the second week (week of Oct. 12), the symposium will highlight issues of trust between community members and the government officials who serve them -- particularly police. The third week (week of Oct. 19) will explore possible avenues of reform to ameliorate systemic racism. The final week (week of Oct. 26) will address accountability --- how can the community monitor government actions to guard against further injustices due to systemic racism?

For further information or to submit a proposal for a microgrant, please contact Green or Grondahl.

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