BURLINGTON — Library Director Michael Wick is pleased to announce that the Burlington Public Library has partnered with Burlington High School and seven other Merrimack Valley libraries to develop a series of social justice focused events over the course of the school year.
The series will begin next week, and so far there are three free events centered around social justice, systemic racism and racial equity, which will be hosted via webinar and accessible to all who would like to participate. Additional events, which will focus on diversity in literature, human rights, criminal justice reform, environmental justice and more, will be announced as they are finalized.
The program was developed in collaboration with Burlington High School and aligns with the school’s curriculum, while providing students a forum for their voices to be heard on social justice issues.
Assistant Director Marnie Smith has taken the lead in coordinating adult programming within the series, while Young Adult Librarian Nicole Monk as worked closely with school leaders to coordinate student-led programming.
“We are excited about the opportunity to bring these engaging and informative speakers together with our patrons,” Wick said. “They each bring a unique perspective on core issues that our country has long been trying to confront, and I’m grateful for Marnie and Nicole for helping make this series a reality.”
“Providing students with opportunities to engage in critical conversations about topics important to them is one of the English Department’s highest priorities,” Burlington High School English Department Chair Shannon Janovitz added. “We are always seeking ways to ensure that students understand the real-world connections to their reading so they can participate in those conversations with authenticity. The Social Justice Series supports that effort and allows students to share their ideas about society with their community. We are thrilled to participate in this programming and grateful for the Burlington Public Library’s work to help Burlington students explore these topics.”
Exploring Systemic Racism
When: On Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m.
What: Dr. Brandon Crowley, Devon Crawford and Rev. Alicia Johnson will lead a program that dives into the ways racism has become embedded in American society. They will highlight how racism is present in nearly every facet of American life, including the criminal justice system, employment, housing, healthcare, politics and education.
The trio will also help identify the insidiousness of systemic racism and highlight ways it can be recognized and addressed.
Crowley is a scholar in ecclesiology and theology. He serves as the Senior Pastor of the historic Myrtle Baptist Church of West Newton and as an adjunct instructor of Theological Meaning Making for Harvard Divinity School.
Crawford is the Director of the William Monroe Trotter Collaborative for Social Justice at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Devon brings academic and organizing rigor to a career focused on catalyzing systemic social change. A licensed minister and non-violent activist, Crawford provided public leadership in the cases of Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown.
Johnson serves as the Assistant Pastor at Myrtle Baptist Church of West Newton. She is committed to finding sustainable, creative, and meaningful ways to build strong and healthy individuals and communities. In addition to her ministry work, she works in the field of educational neuroscience, serving as the Assistant Director of the MIT/Wellesley Upward Bound Program.
The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Burlington Public Library. To register for the webinar, click here.
I’m a Good Person! Isn’t that Enough? with Debby Irving
When: Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m.
What: Debby Irving, a racial justice educator and writer of “Waking Up White”, will examine how how white-skewed belief system helped guide her interpretation of the world. That examination will look at how she — like many others — spent much of her life silently reaffirming harmful racial patterns rather than confronting the racial disparities and tensions she could see and feel.
Following Irving’s presentation, she will lead a panel discussion with invited guests.
This event is part of a series, Libraries Working Toward Social Justice, which is offered in collaboration with seven other Merrimack Valley libraries and was spearheaded by the Memorial Hall Library in Andover. To register, click here.
Voter Suppression with David Daley
When: Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.
What: Dave Daley, a senior fellow at FairVote and author of “Unrigged,” will explore the history of voter suppression from the Jim Crow era to today. Daley will examine the new barriers to voting that have been erected over more than a century, and how those barriers disproportionately disenfranchise racial minorities.
To register, click here.