Urban League of Rochester to host online Interrupt Racism summit
During the height of the protests following the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the leadership at the Urban League of Rochester recognized that it was time to act.
“People were protesting because they wanted their voices heard,” said Seanelle Hawkins, president and CEO of the Urban League of Rochester. She holds a doctorate in leadership from St. John Fisher College, and took the reigns of the civil rights organization in June 2019.
They set to work planning its first Interrupt Racism Summit, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 and 21. The virtual event promises to build common language, educate the community and help people understand the work they have to do, Hawkins said.
Many voices will be lifted at the event; adults and youth will hear six national keynote speakers and have the choice of 32 breakout sessions on a wide range of topics related to racism.
“I’m really excited about the work that we’re doing,” Hawkins said. “This is just the beginning. This is our work. This is what we do. The community is ready.”
Each day of the summit will feature three national keynote speakers.
Tuesday’s keynote speakers will be:
• Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, will talk about the dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19 and their impacts on communities of color.
• JeVon “JT” McCormick, an author, public speaker and CEO of Scribe Media, will discuss how he has overcome racism in his own life.
• Esmeralda Simmons, founder of the Center for Law and Social Justice in Brooklyn, will speak about voting rights.
Wednesday’s keynote speakers will be:
• Courtney “Courn” Ahn, a multidisciplinary designer and illustrator based in Portland, will talk about using her art to dismantle racism.
• Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer for RAICES (The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), will discuss the journey of undocumented people.
• Mary-Frances Winters, CEO of The Winters Group, an organizational development and diversity and inclusion consulting firm, will talk about Black fatigue.
The summit, a fundraiser for the Urban League, costs $45 per day or $75 for both days. Tickets are available online. People who wish to attend but who do not have the funds should email William Rivera-Bloodworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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