Kappell Incident a Wake-up Call for All of Us | Guest Blog by Rebecca Johnson

Kappell Incident a Wake-up Call for All of Us | Guest Blog by Rebecca Johnson

The turmoil surrounding weathercaster Jeremy Kappell’s statements on WHEC-TV last week raises significantly bigger issues about our city than just the nature of one individual’s brief verbalization. I’ve been listening to and reading about the opinions of white people and of people of color. According to comments I’ve read, the preponderance of white folks seem to think that Kappell did not intentionally say the word “coon”. Some do acknowledge the possibility that Kappell may be racist and that he may have accidentally let private sentiments show, as in a Freudian slip. But most whites have trouble believing that Kappell – whether “racist” or not – would think it professionally safe to utter such a word on TV in Rochester.

Many African-American commenters think Kappell did utter the word intentionally. In other words, their experiences in Rochester are so permeated by racism that they think Kappell would think it is OK here in Monroe County to say this on TV. People may never agree on whether Kappell said the word intentionally. But I’d like to hope we can agree on what is glaringly obvious: Most white folks have no idea how painful and frightening it is for African-American commenters to live with the racism they experience every day in Rochester. (And their pain, fear, and justified anger are compounded by the deep and horrible history of racism in the US).

If the experiences of reasonable, well-intended African-Americans in Rochester make them think that a well-known white weather reporter can get away with saying “Martin Luther Coon King” here in Rochester – and if the experiences of reasonable, well-intended white Rochesterians lead them to think intentionally saying in this would be career suicide here – then ALL Rochesterians urgently need to pay attention.

The many ugly racist remarks that have been made about this incident provide unarguable proof that racism is indeed alive, pervasive, and very dangerous in Rochester. Our community needs to address:

  1. The deep divide between the perceptions of racism by people of color and by white folks, because of our lack of contact with each others’ very different experiences, and
  2. The serious threat that racism presents to the well-being and very lives of Rochester’s people of color.

But it’s not just people of color. Racism severely threatens the future of all of us. It is urgent for the future of our entire community that we see this for what it is and change it. Please watch for upcoming opportunities to discuss this and other experiences of race in Rochester. We must learn the truth about each others’ lives – and then we must take action.

Additional Reading

  1. What did that meteorologist say that got him fired? Listen to Jeremy KappellDemocrat & Chronicle

  2. New York meteorologist fired after using racial slur on air : CNN

  3. ‘OMG I Didn’t Mean It Like That!’: Intent vs. Impact, Which Matters? : Only Black Girl

  4. What Does White Supremacy Look Like : 540WMain

About Rebecca

Rebecca Johnson is a Rochester resident and community leader.

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Featured Artist Interview | Noah Winslow

We are pleased to spotlight Noah Winslow our January Featured Artist

540Gallery will showcase Noah’s photography | Saturday Jan. 12 | 11-2 PM

About Noah Winslow

 

When did you start your career as an artist?

NW: It all started when I got cut from the lowest level soccer team in the Brockport School District in 8th grade. I decided to join Cross Country and to make that whole long story short I became obsessed with running. Running year round by Junior year, one day I woke up with a little pain in my leg. It was the day of a 5K race, and I figured it would go away by the time we were warming up. Progressing to a limp throughout the day I still raced, but when I got off the ground to jog with my team I could not run. After multiple doctors and tests, they found a non-cancerous tumor in my femur and told me I needed surgery. For the next year I was pretty much out of commission athletically. I needed a new outlet, something fun to do and explore. Picture me trying to crutch down a hallway in my high school with a big honking DSLR camera from yearbook club strapped to my neck.  I started to learn more about photography from YouTube, and after I knew the theory behind it I decided to purchase my first camera.

Where did you get the inspiration for your work?

NW: The process of work makes me feel good. Sometimes I’m stuck inside all day and my camera forces me out. Sometimes I need to stay inside and reflect in my notebook. What most inspires me are my surroundings. My work tends to deal a lot with my experience of the time and place I’m in.

What makes you want to be an artist?

NW: Well I know I don’t want a 9-5 office job. I need connection with other people and I need to reflect on my experiences. Art provides both of those.

For you how does art relate to wellness?

NW: I do still go for runs most days to keep physically fit, but art keeps me mentally fit. To commit to a concept of a project and go out into the world to follow through with it makes me feel super productive and like I’m on the right path.

How do you stay healthy as a creative?

NW: I run most days, I have a 99.9% plant based diet, I drink a lot of water throughout the day, go for walks with my camera, try to have healthy options readily available while I’m working or heading out the door real quick.

What do you feel is the most challenging aspect of your career?

NW: Coming to terms with a need for balance between work and life was a big one for me in my first two years of college. This semester I reigned in the workload by only taking four classes. I took time to step away from schoolwork and art to maintain my sanity.

When you aren’t painting/drawing/photographing what are you doing?

NW: When I lay out my to do list there’s usually two categories: Art and Sustainability. Yes I want to become a better artist at school, but I want to become a better human too. I’m the Student Environmental Action League President at RIT and I work in the Sustainability office as Recycling Coordinator.

What is it that inspires you to keep going as professional artist?

NW: Since I’m just starting my career, I like to keep an open mind. I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I’m pretty convinced I won’t have to worry as long as I keep putting in work consistently on whatever I’m passionate about.

What are you working on now?

NW: The fall semester just ended! That means I can make my own mini project in the down time. Other than that, I’m working on the Colony project until all the students move out and the buildings are torn down.

What’s has been your best experience so far as an artist?

NW: The best moments for me are when I’m having a bad or off day, but then I get into the flow of writing or taking photos for hours. I come out so refreshed and ready for more life to happen.

What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

NW: For the first two years of school at RIT I struggled with depression and anxiety. I just thought too much and stressed over things and never took time to have fun or connect to people around me. I could never commit to anything and I felt like if I wasn’t in the room no one would care. Right when I started reaching out to others for help is when it all turned around. I feel like I’m in such a better spot. I have a different mindset about work. I can slow down, and not everything I make has to be perfect or top the last one.

What advice do you have for others interested in pursuing as career in art?

NW: Get out of your head and back into reality. Don’t listen to other people’s comments on your work unless you ask their advice. Just keep working on what you’re passionate about.

Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know?

  • website: noahwinslow.myportfolio.com
  • instagram: @noah_winslow
  • email: ncw1577@rit.edu

 

Attend Noah’s opening reception

Saturday Jan. 12th // 11am-2pm //540WMain

Top 10 Most Viewed 540Blog Posts of 2018

The best thing about 540, Inc for me is not only our dedication to people centered spaces but our digital content. 540’s diverse array of digital content is what truly makes our organization special. From twitter, to Facebook to instagram, and 540Blog learning is the foundation of all we do and at the core is powerful thought provoking content.  This best of list includes The Top 10 Most Viewed 540 Blog Posts of 2018.

Top 10 Most Viewed 540Blog Posts of 2018

10. Speaking Out Is Scary | In 2019 Do It Anyway 

by Calvin Eaton | (84 views)

9. Why Black Male Representation Matters In Education

by Calvin Eaton | (89 views)

8. A Child Who Lived with Autism: Why Person First Language Matters

by Calvin Eaton | (93 views)

5. Spotting Our Own White Privilege 

by Erin Egloff | 230 views

4. I’m White and I Screw Up a Lot 

by Erin Egloff | 267 views

 

2. An Open Letter to St. John Fisher President Gerard J. Rooney

by Calvin Eaton | (1,717 views)

1. An Open Letter to Arena’s Inc. 

by Calvin Eaton | (4,401 views)

Speaking Out Is Scary | In 2019 Do It Anyway | by Calvin Eaton

If you’ve been out of the social media game for awhile then you might not be aware that I wrote my second open letter of the month; this time to Arena’s Inc. This time the injustice was due to a racial profiling incident I experienced while shopping in the establishment last week. What is my biggest takeaway from this experience:

Speaking up every single time about injustice is hard to do

This statement might come as a surprise coming from me given my antiracism education work and social media presence; but it’s so true. Calling out injustice whether from a local establishment, via social media, telling a co-worker their race joke is racist, sitting down with a close friend or family member letting them know that their viewpoint is xenophobic, or writing an open letter to a local owner about a perceived profiling incident is scary. Your heart beats fast. Your mouth goes dry. You might shake. You second guess your instinct. Questions fill your mind:

  • Was this a racist incident?
  • Should I let this go?
  • Will they hate me?
  • Am I overacting?

And you know what I am vowing for 2019 despite every thing I’ve mentioned above?

“Speak out every single time”

That’s’ right. No matter where you are or who you are with. When you see or hear injustice; speak out. Every single time. You don’t have to make a scene. You don’t have to become irate but you can use your privilege, your voice, your intellect to firmly call out injustice when you see it.

Take the Pledge 

So in 2019 take the pledge with me. No matter who you are or where you are when you see injustice or experience it; call it out. If the situation doesn’t lend itself to a in person confrontation then write a letter. Call the owner or call corporate. Take to social media. Start a change.or petition. Whatever method you choose make sure you hold perpetrators of injustice intentional or not accountable. This is the only way we can begin to change the culture of white supremacy. Everyone, everywhere has to speak out every single time.

When you speak out in 2019 share on social media and use hashtag #speakoutnow

Are you questioning your ability to call out and speak out about injustice? Get in touch! Submit your question below and I will personally help you figure out the best way to speak out! We are in this together.

An Open Letter to Arena’s Inc. | by Calvin Eaton

An Open Letter,

Dear Arena’s Inc.

It was with great joy that I made a casual visit to your East End location this past Friday. With vacation time on my side I could finally cross your prolific gift shop and floral boutique off my grew up in Rochester but never visited list. Initially this visit was pleasant and business as usual from a local neighborhood establishment. A friendly greeting from the front desk clerk, my eyes wide and in awe after circling the lower level and gazing at all the gifts, trinkets, and plants in abundance; thinking who would be the best recipient of a well thought out gift from a local staple. It wasn’t until I attempted to venture upstairs that my visit ultimately led to this letter.

Before I could set foot on the top step, I was hastily stopped by a gentleman that approached me from behind friendly yet firmly telling me that before I could wander the second floor, I would have to remove my shoulder bag and set it behind the front counter. I initially gave pause to the request but in place of “making a scene” or seeming difficult quickly agreed to the request with a smile. Had it not been for the sole other patron in the shop, I more than likely would not have given this interaction a second thought. You see this middle aged white woman had also wandered from the first to second floor with not one but two bags on her shoulders. She apparently hadn’t been sequestered to remove her everyday luggage and was allowed to shop uninterrupted and without the same scrutiny as I, a black young black man had received. This scenario on the surface seems rather trivial. What is the big deal you may ask? But after reflecting on the situation and facts from my vantage point for the rest of my visit and into the rest of my day; several issues and unanswered questions remain.

Was I racially profiled? Is the most pressing question that I was left with after exiting your store. This burden in itself is tough enough as a man of color but even more disconcerting facing it after leaving an establishment that is literally down the street and around the corner from where I live, work, and walk daily.

The second question is: Why wasn’t the female customer also asked to remove her bag before she was allowed to the second floor? Did your two staff members miss her by mistake? How could this be since the two of us were the only customers in the store at the time?

Additionally, if this is standard practice and policy why is there no posted signage informing customers about the no bag policy? Why was I treated differently in that moment from another customer?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. Only theories based on anecdotal evidence. However this incident and these thoughts are daily burdens that black and brown residents have the burden of facing as we navigate Rochester spaces and increasingly; East End establishments that are quite literally gentrifying right before our eyes.

I write this letter not to accuse but to take a stand for myself and many others who have encountered similar treatment in Arena’s and other places in Rochester but chose to remain silent. This and many other microaggressions are one of many that happen daily that for the sake of being politically correct, for the sake of niceness, for the sake of turning the other cheek we are culturally forced to give establishments like yours the benefit of the doubt. Our silence leads to unanswered questions, broken egos, and hurt feelings. We vent to our friends. We vent on social media. We vow never to return again. But this silence fosters nothing but more complicity, more status quo, and more allowances for racism to fester and divide our City.

I write this letter openly to share my one experience. To be transparent and let others know that it is ok to speak up. To let you know that my voice matters. My feelings matter and that as a customer and more importantly as a human, I deserve to be treated the same as everyone else. I do not deserve to be treated differently, or thought of differently, because of the color of my skin.

This letter is a letter to foster positive yet difficult conversation on how we as a community both in the East End and at large are treating each other through our daily interactions and in the policies we create and promote in our places of business. I hope that your staff and owners join me in this conversation.

 

Sincerely,

Calvin Eaton

Founder & Executive Director

540WMain Communiversity

An Open Letter to St. John Fisher President Gerard J. Rooney

An Open Letter,

Dear President Rooney,

My name is Calvin Eaton and I am an antiracism educator, activist and founder of 540WMain Communiveristy (www.540westmain.org). I can say that like many in the Rochester community; I am appalled and angry at the public vandalism and desecration of the Douglass Statue by St. John Fisher students Charles Milks and John Boedicker.
As an university leader I am confident that you do not need me remind you of the legacy of Frederick Douglass in Rochester as well and the 200th anniversary celebration of his birth and legacy that these statues represent for our City. The fact that white students affiliated with St. John Fisher College would have the audacity to tarnish this celebration and legacy in such an abhorrent way is not only devastating but speaks to the need for more education, training, and awareness in the local college community and Rochester at large.
Even though these students and their actions are independent of the values espoused by St. John Fisher College we as a community hold you equally accountable for how your students interact with our community. This incident cannot be swept under the rug.
It is our hope that you plan to publicly speak on this incident, are transparent as to how these students actions will be addressed and will work with our community in making sure that an incident like this does not happen again. Civil Rights leaders fought for centuries to ensure that incidents like this are a thing of the past; yet here we are repeating history with white men that should know and be doing better.
Additionally, I am open to connecting you with partner organizations working to dismantle systemic racism in our community and beyond. As a University leader it is incumbent upon you to lead by example to ensure that all members of the St. John Fisher Community understand that this level of hatred and racism will not be tolerated.
We look forward to your reply and are watching closely.
With Love,
Calvin Eaton

Sources:

**Announcement** 540 at The Yards Hiring Part-time Class Coordinator

We are pleased to announce that 540, Inc is seeking to fill the position of Part-Class Coordinator for our brand new satellite 540 at The Yards

About the Position

The Part-time Class Coordinator position is integral to the success of 540 at The Yards. A qualified candidate:

  • Will begin in February 2019
  • Must be able to work at the Rochester Public Market
  • Roughly 7-10 hours per week // on Sundays between 8am-3pm
  • 17+ (with valid work permit)
  • Must be able to submit atleast three professional references
  • Qualified candidates will have strong customer service skills, a dynamic personality, willing to work with strangers
  • Skills in food service, front desk, barista, are beneficial but not required

Ways to Apply

  1. Submit the form below
  2. Submit a cover letter and resume to info540westmain@gmail.com
  3. Call 585-420-8439

Download a PDF copy of job announcement  FLYER   

Download a PDF copy of Class Coordinator Job Description 

Now Hiring | Freelance Maker Community Educators | 540 at The Yards

Are you an artist and/or maker interested in community teaching?
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540 at The Yards is seeking maker centric freelance educators for Sunday afternoons (1pm-3pm) in February and March 2019 to teach maker themed classes for children and adults.
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Submit proposal to info540westmain@gmail.com or by using the form below:

www.540westmain.org/540yards
^^ classes must range $15-$30 or less

540, Inc. Announces 1st Satellite Location | 540 at The Yards Beginning February 2019

We are pleased to announce 540, Inc.’s very first satellite location

540 at The Yards

540 at The Yards Announcement! from 540WMain Communiversity on Vimeo.

Watch the video above to learn more about this exciting partnership between 540, Inc. and The Yards. Learn more below and stay tuned for more details over the upcoming weeks.

Save the Date

540 at the Yards Launch Party | Sunday February 3, 2019 | 4pm-6pm

About 540 at The Yards

540 at The Yards is a satellite location of 540, Inc. focusing on low cost single session classes based in the arts and wellness.

Where is 540 at The Yards?

540 at The Yards is located within The Yards Collective. The mailing address is 50-52 Rochester Public Market Rochester, NY 14609

What is The Yards Collective?

The Yards Collective was created in 2011 as a collaborative art space founded by strong female identifying makers looking to offer a supportive artistic and inclusive space. The Yards Collective now operates under a dedicated director and hosts over a dozen permanent studio spaces along side a communal work space, gallery area, and wood-shop that are all available for rental. Learn more about The Yards Collective at their website: www.theyardsrochester.com

What happens at 540 at The Yards?

As a larger satellite classroom, 540 at The Yards hosts 540WMain Communiversity’s low cost single session classes every Sunday. These classes range from Hip Hop Cardio and All Abilities Yoga to Intro to Watercolor Painting and DIY Kombucha Making and more. In addition to classes, 540 at The Yards is a location of the gluten free chef’s Vegan/GF Pop Up Bakery which runs during the normal 540 at The Yards hours of operation.

What are the hours of operation?

540 at The Yards hosts classes every Sunday from 8:30-3:00PM

Is 540 at The Yards disability accessible?

At this time 540 at The Yards location is not accessible to community members with mobility needs or who utilize a wheelchair.

Why does 540WMain Communiversity need a satellite location? 

540WMain’s growth over the last two years facilitated the need for larger space than that exists at the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood location. This need espoused the original vision of 540WMain’s Founder to collaborate with other creatives, visionaries, and leaders and expand 540WMain into a brand (540, Inc.) that has satellite locations in underserved neighborhoods in Rochester and beyond. 540 at The Yards is the first site of this envisoned expansion. 

Will 540WMain still have classes?

Yes. 540WMain will still offer weekly classes, events, and programming rooted in:

  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Workforce Development
  • Historic Preservation

How can I apply to teach a class at 540WMain and/or 540 at The Yards?

Apply below using the form below

540WMain Receives Awesome Microgrant for Courtyard Teaching Garden

We are pleased to share that the Courtyard Teaching and Nutrition Garden has received a micro-grant from Awesome Foundation Rochester

 

The courtyard garden project started in 2016 and since then we have been slowly working on it’s completion in a very grassroots way. Co-designed with Jeff Frisch and Rawson Duckett the Courtyard Teaching and Nutrition Garden will serve as an auxiliary classroom for 540WMain as well as house our garden teaching and nutrition program. The $1000 micro-grant received from Awesome Foundation Rochester will move us one step closer to completing the project.

Join us in person for the official photo and check unveiling Wednesday October 31st at 11:30 AM at 540WMain 

Press Release

Brick-building takes on a new meaning for Calvin Eaton of 540WMain Communiversity, the second recipient of the Awesome Foundation Rochester’s $1000 micro-grant award. Funded to support Calvin’s work to complete the masonry for a courtyard teaching area, the space will set the foundation for an outdoor garden and education space.“We are so excited to finish this project and work with our community to create a
courtyard teaching garden,” said Calvin Eaton, Executive Director of 540WMain. “We can’t wait to start offering classes on growing your own food and learning more about nutrition. It is something that our Susan B. Anthony neighborhood is eager to enjoy.”

“We are delighted to fund Calvin’s awesome project that supports the health and vitality of the community,” said Jill Freeman, Dean of the Rochester chapter of the Awesome Foundation. “Calvin’s courtyard teaching and nutrition project was chosen because the trustees agreed that reducing food insecurity and promoting nutrition through gardening and other classes is pretty awesome.”

Created to ‘forward the interest of awesome in the universe $1000 at a time’, the Awesome Foundation Rochester is part of a global community of individuals who seek to spread awesome in their communities by personally funding awesome projects. Launched in 2009 by a
small group of Bostonian’s eager to spread joy in their hometown, the Awesome Foundation has grown to 89 chapters around the world that give $1000 grants to individuals in their communities, with no strings attached. This loose confederation shares ideas and best practices, but each chapter is autonomous, with money pooled from the coffers of ten trustees and distributed to winners via cash or check. There is no tax-deduction, no 501c3 status, and all funds are managed by individuals in the community willing to donate their money to support great local projects, quickly and easily, with as little paperwork and process as possible.

The Awesome Foundation Rochester will provide $1000 micro-grants every other month, and the next awardee will be chosen on December 18th. Anyone interested in submitting a creative, intriguing and awesome idea can fill out the simple online questionnaire at
https://www.awesomefoundation.org/en/chapters/rochester (the deadline for the December award is December 10th, 2018). Ms. Freeman launched the Awesome Foundation with co-deans Dan Schneiderman, co- chair of the Maker Faire Rochester, and Kelly Cheatle, Artistic Director of Airigami.

As Ms. Cheatle explained, “Too often an awesome idea gets stuck in the ‘idea’ stage simply due to lack of funding. We’re really excited about how accessible these grants are and we’re looking forward to unlocking more creative projects and other sparks of joy here in Rochester.”
Individuals with quirky, smile-inducing, curiosity-enabling, joy-making projects are strongly encouraged to apply. Awesome projects can be related to technology, art, science,community development, and more, and are only limited by the applicant’s imagination and
determination.

For more information and examples of other funded Awesome Foundation project around the world, go to https://www.awesomefoundation.org en and get inspired

Introducing 540WMain’s Tried & True Classes

Since 2016 540WMain Learning Academy has offered over 100 low cost classes and events for the Susan B. Anthony Preservation District and the Rochester community. During this time we have had hits and misses, trialed and erred and understand what classes work well in our communiversity™ at this time and which classes we might revisit later.

Below is a list of our Tried and True classes. These classes are offered most regularly in our community classroom and (for a fee) can be brought to your office, organization, classroom, or community space

**ASL interpreting can be arranged for all classes at an additional cost

Submit the webform below if you are interested in booking a private class at 540WMain or your organization:

American Sign Language for Beginners I & II | Instructor: Sarah Vitberg

Focuses on the basics of American Sign Language through fun interaction and socialization.
Students leave with a new appreciation for the language as well as resources to help them continue to grow as a beginner signer. This class is geared towards those 18 and older. (2hrs)
Black History Didn’t Start w/ Slavery: History We Never Learned | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
A candid and engaging workshop about the America history we never learned. (2hours)
Herbal Medicine Making | Instructor: Samantha Lynn
Samantha Lynn Owner/Operator of Wholistic Herbals discusses different ways to extract herbs and their constituents for health! Students learn how to make simple tinctures, teas, decoctions, and oil infusions. (2hrs)
Hip Hop Cardio | Instructor: Marcus Bowens
Students dance to hip-hop beats while burning crazy amounts of calories in the process. This class is perfect for all levels and those ages 12 and up. (1hour)
History of Veganism In Black Cultures | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
This workshop explores and deconstructs the history of vegan culture across black cultures throughout history in American and around the world and how the themes of blackness and veganism have intersected throughout the ages. (2hrs)
How to Be A Social Butterfly | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
Intro to Intersectional Feminism | Instructor: Mercedes Phelan
Explores the concept of feminism in the United States, the movement and its intersection with race, gender, class, and ethnicity. The history of the feminism movement and its exclusion and inclusion of non-white and non-cisgender women will be unpacked. Students are tasked with exploring their own personal biases and individual actions they can take to be more inclusionary in their feminist interactions. (2hrs)
Introduction to a Minimalist Lifestyle | Instructor: Amy Cavalier
Teaches the basic tenants of the concept of minimalism and how to move towards living a minimalist lifestyle one step at a time. Students explore tips on how to get to the bottom of all that clutter and find a way to re-purpose or ensure it will find reuse, rather than disposing of it in a landfill. This class combines classroom style presentation, audience sharing, and interactive learning. Students leave armed with the basics of beginning a personal minimalist journey. (1.5hrs)
Intro to Sugar Cookie Decorating | Instructor: Theresa Sloan
Students walk you through four simple and fun decorating techniques for their sugar cookie decorating needs. Students will learn about royal icing techniques and leave with a top notch sugar cookie recipe and infographic. Perfect for friends, partners, and parent/child pairs. (2hrs)
Infusing Honey for Health | Instructor: Samantha Lynn
Samantha Lynn Owner/Operator of Wholistic Herbals discusses different ways to extract herbs and into honey for medicinal use. (2hrs)
Introduction to African Drum Playing | Instructor: Joe Starling
Focuses on the identification and techniques used to play various traditional African drums and is taught by drummer Joseph Starling. (1hr)
Mental Health Disparities in Black Community
According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.
Why is this the case?
What are some of the most common mental health disorders among African Americans?
What other mental health disparities exist in the black community and what can we do to change the statistics?
How can we begin to heal and erase the stigma associated with mental health in the black community?
This class explores the concepts listed above. (1.5hrs)
Spiritual Defense for People of Color | Instructor: Iya Brenda
Teaches how to incorporate simple spiritual practices that can help relieve stress, anxiety, and increase overall well-being, and provide spiritual protection.(2hrs)

Yoga Beats & Soul™Yoga Beats and Soul™ is a hybrid yoga and movement class designed to tone the body and ease the spirit. The class consists of basic asana posture, repetitive percussive movements, and some integrative flow to balance the demands of the asanas and recenter mental focus. YBS is beginner friendly and great for individuals that enjoy light cardio and free movement. (1hr)

Professional Classes

Intro to Writing for Black Women & Girls | Instructor: CaTyra Polland
Designed to teach women & girl writers of color how to start a career in writing and/or progressing to the publishing stage. (1hr)
Intro to Grant Writing | Instructor: Calvin Eaton
This presentation styled class teaches working professionals and business leaders the basics of writing grants that will get funded. Students learn about writing a solid needs statement, funding sources and the basics to writing grants that will be funded. This is a intro theory/information styled class **no actual grant writing will take place.(1.5hrs)

Intro to Resume Writing | Instructor: Calvin Eaton

This presentation styled class teaches working professionals the basics (do’s and dont’s) of writing successful resumes. This is a intro theory/information styled class **no actual resume writing will take place. (1.5hrs)

540WMain Seeks (High School) Baking Apprentice

Dear Community,

I am pleased to announce that 540WMain is officially hiring for a brand new internship position

Baking (Highschool) Apprentice Intern

About the Baking Apprentice

Under the direction and supervision of the Executive Director/ Gluten Free Chef (ED) the Baking Apprentice will learn and be able to understand the process of gluten free and vegan baking as it intersects with events and programs at 540WMain. The apprentice will assist in baking and baking production for in house events, pop up events, and community outreach events where baked goods are featured.

About the Apprenticeship

The Baking Apprentice will contribute to the successful development and growth of current and future culinary events and activities at 540WMain Community Learning Academy. Under the direction of the ED the apprentice will be taught the skills and experience needed to complete small batch gluten free and vegan baking. The apprentice will learn customer service, culinary, management, and small business management skills.

Length: Summer, Fall, and/or winter semesters 2018 | Unpaid | Credit bearing

Ideal candidates: Students interested in Customer Service, Baking, Culinary, Front Desk Management, and Pastry Production

We are soliciting notes of interest from local high school and home school students in Monroe County that have the following qualifications and more:

  • Ability to take direction with a positive attitude
  • A passion for serving people
  • Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines, while maintaining a positive attitude and providing exemplary customer service.

Learn more

To learn more about the internship those interested can download a copy of the internship description below:

Interview for the position

We are holding open interview for this apprenticeship Saturday June 16 // 12-2 PM at 540WMain. Parents and students interested should register by emailing info540westmain@gmail.com

Apply for the position

Please submit the web application below as well as a resume to info540westmain@gmail.com

Rudolph “Blaze” Ingram | 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign (Day XVI)

We are pleased to share day XVI of 540’s 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign

When talking about Black leaders and black excellence we often times over look the under 18 crowd. It’s a shame since historically young people have been the changemakers and changeseekers that have made contributions that have changed the world historically and in modern day. We recognize the Voice of the Young people during this years’ campaign.

Rudolph “Blaze” Ingram | Athlete

Name: Rudolph Ingram
Date of Birth: August 13, 2011
Place of Birth: United States

Accomplishments:

  • Rose to fame after Lebron James posted a video of him running that went viral
  • Broke a USA Track and Field record in his first meet of 2019
  • He finished the 100m dash in just 13.48 seconds, 0.19 seconds faster than the official record for seven-year-olds.

About Rudolph “Blaze” Ingram

Ingram Jr., who started training when he was just four years old, has won 36 medals in the past two AAU National Championships combined. Of those, 20 were gold. Rudolph is also a rising star in American football. He’s not overawed by success and even at such an early age, is working hard and taking nothing for granted.

“Rudolph Ingram is fast, in fact he’s being hailed as the new Usain Bolt”

About the Campaign

Every day throughout the month of February 540Blog will devote space to sharing Little Known Facts About Black Americans Throughout History. For us every month is Black History Month but we recognize and support the continuous need to take time and space to put a special spotlight on the accomplishments of Black and brown Americans from all ethnicities that have literally changed the course of history and yet have legacies that are not know by the masses.

Resources

  1. Fatherly
  2. SB Nation 
  3. India Times

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Black Girls Rock! Marsai Martin | 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign (Day XV)

We are pleased to share day XV of 540’s 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign

When talking about Black leaders and black excellence we often times over look the under 18 crowd. It’s a shame since historically young people have been the changemakers and changeseekers that have made contributions that have changed the world historically and in modern day. We recognize the Voice of the Young people during this years’ campaign.

Marsai Martin | Actress & Producer

Name: Marsai Martin
Date of Birth: August 14, 2004
Place of Birth: Plano, TX

Accomplishments:

  • Rose to fame in her role on the hit ABC sitcom Blackish
  • In 2018 Marsai Martin will became the youngest executive producer in Hollywood history
  • In 2018, Martin was cast in her first studio feature film called Little for Universal Pictures
  • Signed a first-look deal with Universal in 2019 where she will develop scripted projects

About Marsai Martin

About Marsai Martin was born in Plano, Texas. At age five, she landed her first national commercial, before moving to Los Angeles in 2013. The following year, Martin was cast opposite Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross in the ABC comedy series Black-ish created by Kenya Barris. For her breakthrough role, Martin has received numerous awards and nominations, including two NAACP Image Awards and a Young Artist AwardShe has received six NAACP Image Awards nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series nominations.

 

 

“When the world tells you your dream is too big, you search for the folks that can see your vision”

About the Campaign

Every day throughout the month of February 540Blog will devote space to sharing Little Known Facts About Black Americans Throughout History. For us every month is Black History Month but we recognize and support the continuous need to take time and space to put a special spotlight on the accomplishments of Black and brown Americans from all ethnicities that have literally changed the course of history and yet have legacies that are not know by the masses.

Resources

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Ebony
  3. CNN

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About 540WMain’s Featured Artist Program

“540 is proud to support local artists”

If you’ve followed 540, Inc since our inception then you are probably aware of our monthly Featured Artist program. Since May 2016 our art gallery (540Gallery) has featured the art and photography of over 35 local artists. These artists come from a wide range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and expert levels. We are proud to continue this program throughout 2019 and have already 8 artists on the roster through June 2019

About the Featured Artist Program

Each month 540WMain Communiversity  features the artwork of a Rochester based artist free of charge. The center holds a 2nd Saturday Opening Reception for the artist and proceeds (20%) from all art sold is used to support 540WMain’s programming.

Artists to expect for 2019

Artists you can expect through June 2019

I’m interested in applying as a Featured Artist

Submit the form below to apply for the Featured Artist Program. We are curating for:

  • 540Gallery October-December and
  • A surprise space for (April-December)

Dear White People: Blackface Is Always Racist! | 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign (Day XIV)

We are pleased to share day XIV of 540’s 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign

Dear White People, 

Black face is always racist

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At any time

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In any context

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For any reason

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Black face is racist

Here’s why:

Why Black Face Is Always Racist

Blackface is a relic of minstrel shows in the U.S. in the 19th and 20th Century. In the performances, white men painted their faces black to perform skits as African-Americans, creating and amplifying horrible racial stereotypes that depicted black people are illiterate, dumb, monkey-like, baffonish, and overall not human. Other racial stereotypes included the “happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation” or the “dandifiedcoon“. 

By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. These performances also found popularity in Australia, where up until the late-1960s and early-1970s it was also quite acceptable to represent Aboriginal people in a comparable way to that of the minstrels of the USA. Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right and started being depicted in advertisements, to sell products and other media materials. Prominent white actors rose to fame painting their face black and performing national tours for white audiences that had a yearning for this degrading entertainment. 

Lewis Hallam, Jr., a white blackface actor of American Company fame, brought blackface in this more specific sense to prominence as a theatrical device in the United States when playing the role of “Mungo”, an inebriated black man in The Padlock, a British play that premiered in New York City at the John Street Theatre on May 29, 1769. The play attracted notice, and other performers adopted the style. From at least the 1810s, blackface clowns were popular in the United States. British actor Charles Mathews toured the U.S. in 1822–23, and as a result added a “black” characterization to his repertoire of British regional types for his next show, A Trip to America, which included Mathews singing “Possum up a Gum Tree”, a popular slave freedom song. Edwin Forrest played a plantation black in 1823, and George Washington Dixon was already building his stage career around blackface in 1828, but it was another white comic actor, Thomas D. Rice, who truly popularized blackface. Rice introduced the song “Jump Jim Crow” accompanied by a dance in his stage act in 1828 and scored stardom with it by 1832:

“First on de heel tap, den on the toe
Every time I wheel about I jump Jim Crow.
I wheel about and turn about an do just so,
And every time I wheel about I jump Jim Crow”

Rice traveled the U.S., performing under the stage name “Daddy Jim Crow”. The name Jim Crow later became attached to statutes that codified the re-institution of segregation and discrimination after Reconstruction.’

This history that is widely known and clearly racist should be enough to let anyone with half a brain know that by displaying, enacting, or participating in any form of black face would immediately have them associated with racism. Still throughout the decades from 1970s through 2019 we see many white people continue to not understand the reason why black face in any form holds no place in our society and thaty any white person engaging in such behavior will swiftly be deemed as racist.

Still, as recently as 2018 Megan Kelly made the offending remarks during an awkward roundtable discussion about inappropriate and offensive costumes on her eponymous one-hour block of the “Today” show, known as “Megyn Kelly Today.”

During the segment on Tuesday, Kelly said it was OK when she was growing up for white people to dress up as black characters, and she spoke out against a controversy that erupted last year over a white reality star who portrayed Diana Ross.”But what is racist?” Kelly asked. “Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character.”
In 2018, a woman of her alleged intelligence and prominence should understand the history and degradation of the practice of blackface yet here she was with her white woman privilege in tow questioning what the big deal was . As an aside (but not an aside) no white person has the right to tell anyone black what is and is not racist. This especially holds true for black face which was quite literally created to embarrass, degrade, demoralize, and culturally appropriate from black culture by white actors so that black actors would not be used in media because blacks were not deemed as human.
Every piece of black face is the literally definition of racism and any white person questioning this or practicing black face in jest, in costume, or otherwise is nothing less than racist.

As we celebrate Black History Month, we can take pride in the progress we’ve made while also acknowledging how far we have to go. Here at 540, Inc it is our core value that a vital part in learning about Black History is also understanding the long lasting events of the transatlantic slave trade; the over three generations of purposeful and systemic genocide, raping, stealing, and pillaging of Nigerian, Malian, Ghanan and other men, women, children, doctors, business owners, scientists, and leaders and enslaving them for the profit of white men. Even though the achievements of our most precious historical figures like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and more are nothing sort of miraculous it can be easy to forget that the effects of U.S slavery continue to impact the descendants of those African slaves continue through today. The road to undoing slavery in America is still a vibrant and real issue in present day.

About the Campaign

Every day throughout the month of February 540Blog will devote space to sharing Little Known Facts About Black Americans Throughout History. For us every month is Black History Month but we recognize and support the continuous need to take time and space to put a special spotlight on the accomplishments of Black and brown Americans from all ethnicities that have literally changed the course of history and yet have legacies that are not know by the masses.

Resources

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Play by The Rules
  3. National Museum of African American History and Culture
  4. American Heritage
  5. CNN

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Understanding The Racial Wealth Gap | 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign (Day XIII)

We are pleased to share day XIII of 540’s 2nd Annual Digital Black History Month Education Campaign

As we celebrate Black History Month, we can take pride in the progress we’ve made while also acknowledging how far we have to go. Here at 540, Inc it is our core value that a vital part in learning about Black History is also understanding the long lasting events of the transatlantic slave trade; the over three generations of purposeful and systemic genocide, raping, stealing, and pillaging of Nigerian, Malian, Ghanan and other men, women, children, doctors, business owners, scientists, and leaders and enslaving them for the profit of white men. Even though the achievements of our most precious historical figures like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and more are nothing sort of miraculous it can be easy to forget that the effects of U.S slavery continue to impact the descendants of those African slaves continue through today. The road to undoing slavery in America is still a vibrant and real issue in present day.

Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap

Fact Facts:

  • The median white household will own 86 times more wealth than its black counterpart, and 68 times more wealth than its Latino one.
  • The median white family has more than $100,000 in additional wealth than the median black family.
  • It will take approximately 228 years before black families have as much wealth as white families right now if no policy change happens.

Who is impacted:

  • Extremely poor black families.
  • Black families with graduate or professional degrees have $200,000 less in wealth than similarly-educated whites. These black or Latino college graduates don’t even have as much wealth as white high school dropouts.
  • Similarly, two-parent black households have less wealth than single-parent white households

Why Wealth is Important

Wealth is a crucially important measure of economic health. Wealth allows families to transfer income earned in the past to meet spending demands in the future, such as by building up savings to finance a child’s college education. Wealth provides a buffer of economic security against periods of unemployment, or risk-taking, like starting a business. And wealth is needed to finance a comfortable retirement or provide an inheritance to children. In order to construct wealth, a number of building blocks are required. Steady well-paid employment during one’s working life is important, as it allows for a decent standard of living plus the ability to save. Also, access to well-functioning financial markets that provide a healthy rate of return on savings without undue risks is crucial.

About The Racial Wealth Gap

Failures in the provision of these building blocks to the African-American population have led to an enormous racial wealth gap. The racial wealth gap is much larger than the wage or income gap by race. The wealth gap measures the difference between the median wealth of blacks versus the median wealth of whites. Almost all studies calculate wealth by adding up total assets (e.g., cash, retirement accounts, home, etc.) then subtracting liabilities (e.g., credit card debt, student loans, mortgage, etc.) The resulting figure is your net worth. Until the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery legally prevented blacks from building wealth. Until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Jim Crow laws continued segregation in the south. They detailed what jobs blacks could take and how much they could be paid. They created indentured servitude. They restricted where blacks lived and traveled. Public parks, transportation, and restaurants were segregated. Even some towns were off limits to blacks.

These laws were violently enforced by the Ku Klux Klan and lynchings. Between 1880 and 1950, white mobs lynched blacks at least once a week for some perceived breach of the racial hierarchy. Most of the lynchings took place in small southern towns where poor white farmers perceived blacks as an economic threat.  In 1935, the Social Security Act excluded farm workers and domestic workers from accruing benefits. At that time, most blacks still lived in the South, and they were illiterate. That meant they were more likely to be farm workers and domestic workers. As a result, two-thirds of blacks never received Social Security’s wealth-building opportunities.

Additional Statistics

  • According to the New York Times, for every $100 in white family wealth, black families hold just $5.04.
  • The Economic Policy Institute found that more than one in four black households have zero or negative net worth, compared to less than one in ten white families without wealth.
  • The Institute for Policy Studies recent report The Road to Zero Wealth: How the Racial Divide is Hollowing Out the America’s Middle Class(RZW) showed that between 1983 and 2013, the wealth of the median black household declined 75 percent (from $6,800 to $1,700), and the median Latino household declined 50 percent (from $4,000 to $2,000). At the same time, wealth for the median white household increased 14 percent from $102,000 to $116,800.
  • The gap is worsening. Between 1983 and 2013, white households saw their wealth increased by 14 percent. But during the same period, black household wealth declined 75 percent. Median Hispanic household wealth declined 50 percent.

 

“Black and brown people of color have been systemically and systematically prevented from building wealth as a collective in the U.S”

About the Campaign

Every day throughout the month of February 540Blog will devote space to sharing Little Known Facts About Black Americans Throughout History. For us every month is Black History Month but we recognize and support the continuous need to take time and space to put a special spotlight on the accomplishments of Black and brown Americans from all ethnicities that have literally changed the course of history and yet have legacies that are not know by the masses.

Resources

  1. Forbes.com
  2. Epi.org
  3. The Balance

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