NIOT ‘s major project in winter/spring 2010 was the presentation of Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North on March 11, at PPL. This disturbing and deeply moving film documents the Browne family’s journey retracing the steps of the Triangle Trade and coming face-to-face with their family’s history and legacy in the slave trade. The film was followed by a discussion led by Daphne Hawkes, an Episcopalian priest and Princeton resident with long involvement in race relations work. A racially diverse group of approximately 100 persons filled the community room at PPL to capacity and the after-film discussion was forthright and thoughtful – a very good expression of NIOT’s commitment “… to open an honest truth telling among our diverse communities.”
In the fall, NIOT, along with Princeton Friends Meeting and the Princeton Public Library, co-sponsored a 2 part series on Bayard Rustin – showing of the film “Brother Outsider” on October 27, followed by a talk on November 3, by Melissa Harris (Lacewell) Perry,” Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement.” Both events were well attended indwell received.
NIOT’s discussion series Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege met on the first Monday of each month 7:30 PM at the Princeton Public Library throughout the year except for the summer months. NIOT members, sometimes paired with community attenders, took turns in leading the discussions, with about 15-20 persons taking part. The number of community attenders has continued to grow with a core group of 5-6 who come regularly. Interest remains high. The program will continue in 2011 with NIOT members and members of the community sharing the task of selecting topics and leading conversations.
NIOT sub-groups on membership, Unity Awards, and program met over the summer to evaluate the status of these elements and to make recommendations for improvement. In the September meeting, action plans were developed to (1) enlarge the diversity of faith community members, (2) to make changes in the process of selection of JWMS awardees, and (3) to develop a program to follow-up on the 2008 project, Engaging Together to Explore White Privilege. Sub-committee members were active throughout the fall in carrying-out these recommendations.
Regarding publicity, we sent out press releases and photos (taken pro bono by Roland Glover) for the Unity Awards. The Princeton Public Library issued hard copy bulletin announcements, press releases, and fliers for the Traces of the Trade series and the Bayard Rustin series. Fliers were issued for each of the Continuing Conversations on Race. In addition to the widely circulated bulletin “Connections,” the library posted these events on its website, and they were further distributed by Twitter and Face book users.
NIOT also supported other groups in carrying out community action/advocacy activities throughout 2010, including:
Assisting the Minority Education Committee “No Child Left Behind” program series on January 16 and April 23;
Joining the YMCA’s Stand against Racism on April 30 in a walk with Borough Merchants through Palmer Square. NIOT purchased space (ad) in Town Topics acknowledging the merchants who participated in the walk. Later, in the afternoon, NIOT held a demonstration event at Tiger Park on Nassau Street, including recruiting a singing group from the HS and offering interactive questions for sidewalk passers;
Supporting LALDEF in promoting use of Community ID cards;
Supporting PPL presentations on topics related to NIOT mission.
Most importantly, NIOT Princeton entered the social media age with a Not in Our Town Princeton blog. It was established at the end of 2009, with 9 posts. In 2010 we made 53 posts, ranging from announcing our own activities, to highlighting other events of interest, to commenting on items in national or community news. Sometimes these posts attracted dialogue of comments. Sometimes members of the NIOT community — board members or attenders — contributed posts. The posts were circulated to our growing email list, which now numbers more than 50 participants in our programs, and was often forwarded by these recipients to others. These posts are available to be used on Twitter.
We also began to contribute pages to the website of the national NIOT organization, moderated by Linda Oppenheim. Comments on the national website have come from as far away as Alaska. The national NIOT has written a 700-word feature, with two color pictures about NIOT Princeton.
A search on the national website for “Princeton” reveals dozens of references. Many are reprints of the 700-word feature but they also include all of our Continuing Conversation announcements and comments by our members on issues of national interest (Ann Yasuhara, in April, commented that the Princeton Public Library was where everyone felt comfortable).
This first public showing of the documentary film, “Glen Acres, a Story in Black and White,” explores the development of a historic neighborhood in West Windsor whose residents committed to a vision of racial equality and harmony at a time when few thought that an integrated neighborhood was desirable or possible. The film was written and directed by Diane Ciccone (pictured), West Windsor resident and an elected member of the Town Council.
The program, co-sponsored by the African-American Parents Support Group, the Human Relations Council, the West Windsor Branch of the Mercer County Library System, the Friends of the West Windsor Library and the West Windsor Arts Council, will take place on Sunday, February 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the West Windsor Arts Center. Free event parking is available at the Wallace Road Special Permit Lot.
Refreshments and discussion will follow the film. The program is free, with a suggested contribution of $5.
The Program in Global Health and Health Policy invites you to the first event in the Spring 2011 Global Health Colloquium: How Cancer Crossed the Color Line:
The American Narrative in Global Perspective/
Keith Wailoo, Townsend Martin Professor of History and Public Affairs, Princeton University, will speak on Friday, February 18, 12 to 1:30 pm, in 219 Aaron Burr Hall.
Lunch will be served.
Professor Keith Wailoo is among our nation’s pre-eminent historians of medicine. His wide-ranging scholarship places disease and treatment in a richly textured social and technological context, with special attention to the nexus between health and race. He is the author of Drawing Blood: Technology and Disease Identity in Twentieth Century America (1997) and of the award-winning books Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health (2001) and The Troubled Dream of Genetic Medicine: Ethnicity and Innovation in Tay-Sachs, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sickle Cell Disease (2006).
His new book How Cancer Crossed the Color Line has just been released by Oxford University Press. Professor Wailoo is a keen observer of contemporary medical controversies and he has co-edited several books on race and vulnerability, genetic medicine, vaccination, and transplantation. He is currently completing a book on the history and politics of pain medicine in America. In 2007, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, where he is a member of the Health Sciences Policy Board.
Professor Wailoo’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, the Department of Anthropology, and the Health Grand Challenges Initiative.
Dear Mayor Trotman and Borough Council Women and Men:
In considering your vote on whether or not to keep the community pool continuously up and running and available for the present and long term, please give heavy weight to its role as a place that serves three important interrelated community functions.
* It is a place where those who do not have their own pools or affordable access to a private pool can go
* It is a place where all segments of our community are welcome and comfortable and thus is a place for us to enjoy together – to get to know each other at least a little more than we otherwise do.
There are very few places in Princeton where we can all gather together comfortably. The Princeton Public Library, the most vibrant and beloved place in our town, is a notable exception; the community pool is nother.
At the Not In Our Town youth forum “Through Our Eyes” in 2007, the high school students spoke repeatedly about Princeton’s fractured communities and how difficult it is, other than in a school setting, for young people to get together in natural, comfortable settings. The
closing of the community pool would be a great loss to our town.
Not In Our Town is an organization that cares about the well being of the community, especially regarding matters pertaining to privilege and race. Thus we support policies that promote and enhance comfortable participation by all members of our community. Real community occurs when each of us is happy to support, in whatever ways we can, those places and events where all of us can be together and get to know each other.
We thank you for your attention to this important matter,
Fern and Larry Spruill
For Not In Our Town
February 11, 2011
An open letter from Chrystal Schivell:
I’m writing every Borough resident I know to ask for your support of the renovation of Community Park pool – for the sake of the kids it serves – and to let members of Borough Council know of your support. Council’s reluctance to approve the bond ordinance (even to introduce it required Mildred Trotman’s breaking a 3-3 tie) may very well result in the loss of a swim season since it’s likely that the main pool will soon break down irreparably. That would be inconvenient for regular pool-users but devastating for the 100+ members of the swim/dive team and the 250 day campers and their counselors. It’s my understanding that unless Council approves the ordinance on Feb. 22, the pool cannot be renovated in time for summer 2012. That means two years (or more if the process has to start all over) of hoping the pool won’t break. Quite a risk for the community.
One reason for Council’s reluctance may have been that the plans were not finalized because the Ad Hoc Committee of architects had not finished with their input. Certainly the initial plans, especially for the locker rooms, upset many members of the community. I checked with Ted Ernst of the Rec Dept, and the final plan (to be presented at Council’s Feb. 22 meeting) has locker rooms of 2000 sq.ft.or 77% of the current area (which in the ladies’ locker room will be more than enough space.) There will be an opening in the roof 12’x16′ that can be covered with plywood in winter. (The Ad Hoc committee worked hard to get this compromise.) There will be ventilation at the bottom of the walls and an 18″ clerestory between the roof and top of the walls for further ventilation. (The clerestory was always in the Rec Dept’s plan; AC was never envisioned for the locker rooms.) There will be individual shower stalls with controls to allow one to adjust water temperature, dressing “rooms” similar to those we now have, and a concrete floor.
The controversial meeting room is now a pavilion. AC will be installed only in the administrative building. A family changing room (so kids don’t have to look at adults of the opposite sex) will be included. I’m not sure about the snack bar, but I believe it will be somewhat bigger and definitely modernized. The exterior of the buildings will mimic what’s there now.
I don’t know how you feel about changes to the pools, but I support them because they serve a demographic that is not currently served: namely, teenagers and kids too old for the wading pool but too short for the main pool (the kids who collect on the steps). The family bay will give kids of all heights a chance to inch their way into the water, thus gaining the confidence to swim. And the addition to the diving well will afford teenagers the opportunity to play water polo or water basketball and to slide. (One slide only). The wading pool has to be redone because it is out of compliance now – that’s not a change. The main pool will not be changed except for the break in the wall at its shallow end where it connects to the family bay. As to landscaping, none of the trees will go. Bushes will, but that will afford opportunity for grass and shade structures. I think we actually gain grass in the new plan and lose currently unused concrete. I know that the Ad Hoc committee has been negotiating with the Rec Dept about landscaping as well as buildings. At the Council meeting on Jan. 25, four members of the Ad Hoc committee expressed approval of the new, compromise plans and asked Council to pass the ordinance and get on with renovation.
I don’t know why Borough Council is being so cautious, especially given that they spent almost $500,000 on the Harrison Street park, which serves far fewer residents. I do know that they need to hear from constituents who support the plan. That’s why I’m writing.
If you’re willing to support the plan, please let Kevin Wilkes, David Goldfarb (email@example.com), Roger Martindell (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Barbara Trelstad (email@example.com) know. They are the cautious ones, and they need to know that their constituents support the expenditure of $1.9 million for the pool. It’s a lot of money, but Bob Bruschi said at the last meeting that the Borough can afford it. To me, it’s worthwhile because, like the library, it serves whoever wants its services – and for kids in the summer, especially kids who can’t travel, it’s the place to find friends and relief from the heat.
Thank you for hearing me out.