Rochester to hold summit on race


Racism is often described as one of the most difficult subjects to talk about, but the only way for it to get easier is if we do talk about it, says Naimah Sierra, deputy director of youth and community services for Action for a Better Community.

“There are historical structures that have been put in place that are designed to keep certain people from pursuing the American dream,” she says.

Sierra, who is also a member of Facing Race, Embracing Equity or FR=EE, says the mission of the group’s third annual summit on race is to make opportunities in housing, education, and health care available to everyone, regardless of race or class.

The group will hold “Breaking Down Racial Barriers: a Community Pulling Together,” a community summit on race on Saturday, September 26, at Wilson Foundation Academy, 200 Genesee Street, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration for the event, which is free and open to the public:

The event will feature a full day of discussions and work sessions on a wide range of topics, such as “Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It,” “Police and Community Relations: How to Build Trust,” and “Developing Authentic Alternatives: From the Streets to Jobs.”

Each session will be facilitated by people trained to create and continue a dialogue about race and institutional racism, Sierra says.

“We are uncomfortable with paralysis by analysis, sitting around having all these grand discussions,” says Tim Weider, lecturer in sociology and anthropology at Nazareth College and one of the facilitators. “We’re about doing something.”