Confronting Racism: A Community Conversation

Confronting Racism was a community-wide read and virtual panel discussion that focused on deepening our understanding of racism and the ways it impacts individuals and society. The program was sponsored by the Georgetown Public Library and Lark & Owl Booksellers.

The virtual panel discussion was held on Crowdcast, a videoconferencing platform, on Aug. 31 but both the broadcast and the recording functions failed that night, so all three panels were re-assembled and re-recorded in September. The four September recordings are linked from the descriptions below.

The sponsors have also assembled a toolkit for Georgetown to encourage further exploration of questions around racism.

Introduction and Welcome

Mr. Eric Lashley, Georgetown Public Library Director

Ms. Tiffanie Harrison, Facilitator for this event, is an equity leader and marketing educator in Round Rock ISD who was Round Rock High School Teacher of the Year in 2015 and 2019. She has an MBA and a bachelors degree from Baylor University, and she is a Beyond Diversity Affiliate Practitioner and Facilitator as well as an active leader in community organizations like Undoing Racism Round Rock, Engage Round Rock, and the Round Rock Black Parents Association.

Discussion of New Kid by Jerry Craft (Children Grades 5-8) with Ms. Tiffanie Harrison, Ms. Nicole Bell, Ms. Zoie Steen, and Dr. Alicia Moore

Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. A timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft. Winner of the Newbery Medal, Coretta Scott King Author Award, and Kirkus Prize for Young Readers Literature.

Ms. Nicole Bell is principal consultant with Full Humanity LLC, and a Courageous Conversations about Race Affiliate Practitioner; as an anti-racist educator her passion is the uplifting and support of women and families of color. She is the Human Resources training and development coordinator at Austin Community College with more than 15 years of experience creating diverse employee leadership and development training programs. She is also a certified mediator, coach, and graduate of Leadership Pipeline, Leadership Women Pipeline, and the Leadership Austin Essential Class.

Ms. Zoie Steen is nine years old and the daughter of Nicole Bell. She is an honor roll student at Frost Elementary School and she loves art, reading, and gymnastics (Simone Biles is her personal favorite). She has served as an active member of Frosts student council. She enjoys spending time at the beach with her family and she has serious aspirations too: she would like to be a NASA scientist and to run for President of the United States.

Dr. Alicia Moore is a Cargill Endowed Professor at Southwestern University. Her passion is examining the intersection of power, privilege, oppression, and their impact on race. Recently, she has begun to explore the impact of racial trauma on Black students in Persistently White Institutions in the midst of a syndemic (race and COVID).

Discussion of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Teens) with Ms. Tiffanie Harrison, Mr. Chuck Collins, Ms. LaShonda Stinson, and Dr. Phil Hopkins

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend Khalil. A topical, powerful YA novel by a brilliant new author. National Book Award Longlist title and winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Coretta Scott King Honor, Michael L. Printz Honor, and William C. Morris Award.

Mr. Chuck Collins is the Executive Director of the Southeast Georgetown Community Council. He has lived in Georgetown since 2001; previously, he served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force and then earned a degree in Management, Information Systems from Texas A&M, Corpus Christi. He has worked for British Petroleum, Price Waterhouse Coopers, IBM, and General Motors. He believes in neighbors coming together to help each other and build a community all can be proud of.

Dr. Phil Hopkins is the Lurlyn and Durwood Fleming Professor of Philosophy at Southwestern University, where he teaches and writes about the phenomenology of identity, particularly racialized identity and critical race theory, and on the intersections of identity and ethics in contemporary media and consumer culture. Before becoming an academic, he worked for several years as both a police officer and social worker.

Ms. LaShonda Stinson is deeply engaged in educational and racial equity work in Central Austin. Serves as an Assistant Principal in Round Rock ISD. LaShonda earned a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Education from Lamar University. She is committed to equitable outcomes along with ways to empower students and families while working to redesign systems of inequity.

Discussion of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (for Adults) with Ms. Tiffanie Harrison, Ms. Catherine Crisp-Martin, Ms. Jaquita Wilson, and Dr. Melissa Johnson

From National Book Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi comes a new approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves. The New York Times calls it a book that “may, in fact, be our best chance to free ourselves from our national nightmare.” Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Ms. Catherine Crisp-Martin is originally from Southern California. She worked in benefits and has been in Texas for almost 30 years spending just over two years in Georgetown. She likes that people are friendly and there is so much to do in Sun City, Georgetown and the surrounding communities. She hopes there will be improvements in U.S. race relations for her children and grandchildren.

Dr. Melissa Johnson is a Professor of Anthropology and Chair of both the Sociology and Anthropology and Race and Ethnicity Studies Programs at Southwestern University. As a critical race scholar, she has published the book Becoming Creole: Nature and Race in Belize, as well as articles on race and inequality. She teaches courses on race and racism, includes sections on race and racism in all her courses, and has been involved with anti-racist work at Southwestern University since she started teaching there in 1998.

Ms. Jaquita Wilson has lived in Georgetown for seven years as an active member of the community, military wife, and mother of five. She has a bachelors degree in English from Montclair State University, and experience as an equity facilitator and teacher.

Panelists and Facilitator