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ADKX launches new discussion series

Exploring diversity initiatives and realities of racism in the Adirondacks

BLUE MOUNTAIN LAKE — The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, will launch a new online discussion series exploring the realities of racism in the Adirondack region as well as the work of local organizations to address these challenges. The program is being developed in partnership with The Adirondack Diversity Initiative and The Adirondack North Country Association, and is part of ADI’s wider antiracism education and mobilization initiative.

Titled “The Black Experience in the Adirondacks,” the series will kickoff on July 2 at 6 p.m., with a conversation on the mission and work of ADI. Later discussions will explore the particular dangers of driving in the area as a Black person. The talks will take place live over Zoom, with public registration available atwww.theADKX.org. A fuller detailing of the currently confirmed July discussions follows below, and additional events will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Although much of the recent national conversation on racism has focused on events in metropolitan areas, the unfortunate truth is that racism is as much a part of daily life in more rural areas like the Adirondacks. We know that racial profiling is a deeply entrenched issue and is one that plays out in particular on our highways and roads,” said David Kahn, Executive Director. “The vision for this series is to acknowledge that the Black experience in the Adirondacks is different than that of white individuals, and in doing so open new conversations about how to meaningfully address these realities. We are delighted to collaborate with the leadership at ADI and ANCA on this series and to amplify their work.”

What is the Adirondack Diversity Initiative?

Thursday, July 2 at 6 p.m. — Established in 2015, ADI is focused on developing, implementing, and promoting strategies that will make Adirondack Park a more welcoming and inclusive place for both residents and visitors. In this conversation, Dr. Donathan Brown, Assistant Provost and Assistant Vice President for Faculty Diversity and Recruitment at Rochester Institute of Technology and Co-Founder of Adirondack Diversity Solutions, will interview ADI’s inaugural Executive Director Nicole Hylton-Patterson. The conversation will explore ADI’s mission and approach, focusing in particular on how the killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement has impacted its agenda and upcoming actions.

What Led to the Establishment of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative?

Thursday, July 9 at 6 p.m. — This conversation, moderated by Kim Irland, Dean of Student Life and Diversity Officer at North Country Community College, will examine the origins of ADI. Featuring ADI’s four founding members, the discussion will focus on why this group of white individuals felt it was essential to create an organization that would address issues of racial equity and justice in the region, and how their roles as allies have changed over time. Speakers include Paul Hai, Associate Director at SUNY ESF’s Newcomb Campus; Willie Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council;Pete Nelson, a writer and teacher at North Country Community College; and Martha SwanExecutive Director of John Brown Lives!.

Driving While Black,

Part I

Thursday, July 23 at 6 p.m. — ADI Executive Director Nicole Hylton-Patterson will interview acclaimed historian Gretchen Sorin about her book Driving While Black (2020), which “reveals how the car — the ultimate symbol of independence and possibility– has always held particular importance for African Americans, allowing black families to evade the many dangers presented by an entrenched racist society and to enjoy…the freedom of the open road.” At the same time, Sorin, who also serves as the Director of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies, will discuss how the road posed, and continues to pose, new racially driven challenges. A feature-length documentary on this subject created by Sorin and Rick Burns will air on PBS later this year.

Driving While Black,

Part II

Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m. — Clifton H. Harcum, diversity officer at SUNY Potsdam, will moderate a panel discussion with a group of Adirondack residents and visitors about their experiences with the New York State Police as Black people driving in the Adirondacks. Harcum will open the discussion by considering his own experiences of being stopped numerous times, between November 2019 and June 2020, while driving from his home in Saranac Lake to SUNY Potsdam. The names of the panelists will be released in the coming weeks.

To register for these programs please visit us online at: www.theADKX.org.

This series is part of a larger ADI antiracism education and mobilization initiative that includes an Antiracism 101 web series, workshops, town hall meetings with elected officials, and public policy mobilization. For more information on these programs, please visit: www.diversityadk.org.

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