ERASE RACISM'S NEWSLETTER ABOUT RESEARCH, TRENDS, AND OUR WORK
The days before and after the Labor Day Holiday are frequently days of reflection and new beginning
for me and, I suspect, for many of you. This year, however, was unique because 1963 was a watershed year for the Civil Rights
Movement of the 1950s and '60s. The movement had many ups and downs in its struggle to break the vestiges of slavery that
remained so visible and extreme in the southern states, which were shaped by Jim Crow Segregation.
August 28, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary
of the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream"
speech. This year, on Wednesday, August 28th, thousands of us marched and heard speeches and lifted our voices to celebrate
the people who were the civil rights movement and the successful outcomes of that civil rights movement. Read more about the
50th anniversary celebration below, as well as a Forbes article in which I was interviewed about continuing structural barriers to equality.
On that same day, August 28th, our attorneys from Emery Celli Brinckerhoff &
Abady, LLP filed a lawsuit in federal district court (E.D.N.Y.) on our behalf. The complaint alleges housing discrimination
against African Americans on the part of the owners and managers of an apartment building in the Village of Mineola. You can
see an article below and our press release about the lawsuit, the Complaint that was filed, and related media on our website.
In this newsletter you can also
read about funding that is expanding our programs including our Legal Action Fund and grants from the Long Island Community Foundation and Manhasset Community
Fund Greentree Foundation's Good Neighbor Fund. There is also a new section highlighting civil rights related news items in
Finally, please welcome the newest member to the ERASE
Racism team, Stella Miller, my new Executive Assistant.
"Apartment for Rent" Sign Does Not
Apply to African Americans
On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, ERASE Racism, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), and three
African American testers filed a lawsuit in federal district court (E.D.N.Y.) alleging that the owners and managers of an
apartment building in the Village of Mineola discriminate against African American renters. To read the press release,
see a copy of the complaint and more, please go to our Housing page.
50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for
Jobs and Freedom
August 28th marked the
50th anniversary of the historic
March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King's
famous and inspiring "I Have a Dream"
speech. The occasion was commemorated by a week-long celebration which included marches, two large rallies, speeches, ceremonies
and services. ERASE Racism President, Elaine Gross, was in DC on the 28th. As someone who tirelessly fights for racial equity,
she states "I felt I had to be there. It was the least that I could do. And it was
the best thing I could do to reinvigorate myself for the work that ERASE Racism is doing on Long Island and in the New York
When asked if her
experiences in DC altered her thinking about the local and regional work of ERASE Racism, she replied, "Our focus will
continue to be strategically fighting the inequities in housing, education, health and other areas. It doesn't matter if the
problems are fueled by old fashioned discrimination or by embedded racial segregation. Sometimes the racism is obvious and
sometimes it exists under the radar with so-called "race neutral' zoning and housing policies, public school district
boundaries and student tracking policies that limit access to opportunity for many black and brown students. We will be stepping
up our efforts to strengthen and organize individuals and organizations who share our mission and are willing and able to
stand up for fairness and equity on Long Island and in the broader New York region."
As Elaine was in DC, ERASE Racism board member, Marge Rogatz and her husband
Peter, recalled attending the first March in 1963 for Newsday. For their recollections, please visit Newsday's website.
Update On Dr. King's Dream: Structural Barriers That Many Don't See Still Hold Back
Progress And Equality, An Interview with Elaine Gross
As stated above, August 28th marked the 50th Anniversary of the historic March
on Washington, a massive and well-organized demonstration that served as the symbolic unifying run-up to the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and Voting Rights At of 1965, the Federal legislation that ended America's formal system of segregation. But, five decades
on, equality of opportunity remains at best an elusive goal. Elaine Gross, President of ERASE Racism, offers her thoughts
on this topic in this thought-provoking Forbes Interview.
Funding Fuels Program Expansions
Legal Action Fund
In August we mailed out a Special Appeal to past supporters of ERASE Racism
asking for contributions to our new Legal Action Fund.
Thank you to everyone who responded so generously! This appeal launches our campaign
to raise much needed funds for additional staff and resources. In order to carry out significant new strategies, such as the
above mentioned Mineola lawsuit, we must raise and leverage funding. If you haven't already contributed, please consider making
a donation now on our donation page.
Be sure to let
us know that you are contributing towards the campaign. This funding is critical as we move forward to shape a more racially integrated Long Island. All donors are acknowledged on the ERASE Racism website.
ERASE Racism Gets Boost to Address Racial Disparities in Long Island's
ERASE Racism has received a $20,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation in support of the our Education Equity Campaign. "We are very pleased and grateful to receive this grant from LICF. It will help to continue
the important work we are doing to address the educational disparities in Long Island's schools," says ERASE Racism's
President Elaine Gross.
Manhasset Community Fund Supports
4th Annual Student Leadership Forum
We're excited to announce that our next Student Leadership Forum will
be held in North Hempstead on November 16, 2013, thanks to
$7,500 grant from the Manhasset Community Fund Greentree Foundation's Good Neighbor Fund, which was begun in 2003 to address
priority needs in the Town of North Hempstead.
ERASE Racism's Student Leadership Program will offer a one-day workshop that teaches high-school students
about the history of race and racism in the U.S., how it continues to have an impact on one's opportunities, and the changes
that can be made to bring about more racial equity. The learning experiences and activities are designed to build teamwork
and enhance leadership skills. Students deepen their understanding of race and racism and explore positive responses to address
issues of racial discrimination, negative stereotypes and prejudice. The full-day workshop is led by adult facilitators from
ERASE Racism. To date, approximately 300 high school students have taken part in the Program.
It is not too late to register for the
November 16th workshop! To learn more about ERASE Racism's Student Leadership Program, please visit the student page on our website or call 516-921-4863
New Executive Assistant to the President
Stella Miller joins ERASE Racism with almost 20 years of experience in supporting top level executives in both corporate and nonprofit settings. In
her role as Executive Assistant, Stella will assist President Elaine Gross with a wide range of projects and activities including
coordinating volunteers, events, and communications. Prior to ERASE Racism, she was employed by The Early Years Institute
in Plainview as Coalition Coordinator/Assistant to the President and before that, at Ernst & Young, LLP in Melville as
Executive Assistant to the Director. "In 2012 I was introduced to ERASE Racism while attending an Unraveling Racism Training program and was drawn to the organization's mission and work, which led
me on the journey to my new position as Executive Assistant to the President", says Ms. Miller. A lifelong Long Island resident, Ms. Miller is an active conservationist in the community. This combination of experience
in both supportive roles and as a community leader enables Ms. Miller to bring a unique set of talent, skills and abilities
to her position at ERASE Racism.
May Have Missed!
You may have missed some videos from our most recent events. Check out our videos, including
the 2013 Annual Benefit, the 2013 ERASE Racism Youth Event with Kenneth Chenault, Elaine Gross Delivering the 4th Annual Civil
Rights and Public Policy Lecture at Touro Law Center here!
As reported by The New York Times, on August 12th a ruling was handed
down by District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin stating that the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk tactics violated
the constitutional rights of people of color in New York.
That same day, during a speech to the American
Attorney General Eric Holder called for "sweeping, systemic changes" to the American judicial system, urging "a frank and constructive dialogue
about the need to reform a broken system." He pointed out that mandatory minimums do not serve public safety. What they do instead
is have a "destabilizing effect on particular communities, largely poor and of color". The full speech can be found
on C-Span's video library. For ERASE Racism's summary
of these rulings, please visit our website.
August Wilson's American Century Cycle at The Green Space
Taking a different
turn in the news, American playwright August Wilson's celebrated 10-play cycle depicting 100 years of African American life during each decade of the 20th century is being featured
at The Green Space
. This historic series showcases an extraordinary cast of actors and directors - many who worked directly with Wilson - as
they gather to make the first-ever recording of all ten plays. The series kicked off Monday, August 26, bringing together
many longtime Wilson collaborators and interpreters. For more information about this incredible series, please visit The Green Space
Special Screening of "The Loving Story" at Hamptons
Take 2 Documentary
September 22, 2013 at 4pm
Bay Street Theatre, Sag
Discussion to follow screening. $15
ticket at the door
This is the story of a couple who were driven to pave the way for social justice and equal rights
through a historic Supreme Court case; Loving v. Virginia, which overturned bans on interracial marriage in 16 states. Visit
the Film Festival website for more details!
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ERASE RACISM'S NEWSLETTER ABOUT RESEARCH, TRENDS,
AND OUR WORK
Night at the Theater: Boeing Boeing
March 21-May 5, 2013
2013 Annual Benefit
Unraveling Racism Training
June 26 & 27
June 26 & 27
March 2012 URT
ERASE Racism's Unraveling Racism Training (URT) has been called "life-changing"
"empowering" an "eye-opener" by the hundreds of participates who have attended the two-day training.
The next URT is scheduled for June 26 and 27.
Volunteer Call Out! volunteers
Do you have experience working with cloud systems or are you an expert with android phones and tablets?
ERASE Racism needs your help! We are looking for a volunteer who can assist us in synching our information across
Please help ERASE Racism be more efficient and effective in doing this important work!
the April 23, 2013 New York Times article " Showdown for Westchester and U.S. Over Desegregation Agreement" we hear about the continuing saga of persistent efforts by Westchester County Government to resist the requirements
of a "landmark desegregation agreement" that at its core seeks to fully realize the 1968 Fair Housing Act's directive
to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing.
The ongoing actions and statements by County
Executive Robert Astorino suggest that he embraces the sentiments of President Richard Nixon, when in 1972, some four years
after the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, in a memo to his aides he wrote, "I am convinced that while legal segregation
is totally wrong that forced integration of housing or education is just as wrong." I will not address what the County
Executive's opinions might be about the rightness or wrongness of so-called "legal segregation" or what he thinks
about integrated public school education, but I am referring to the portion of that quote that espouses that forced integration
of housing is wrong. This quote is from the October 29, 2012 Pro Publica article " Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law," which is just one article in an important ongoing series " Living Apart: Fair Housing in America."
Throughout history it has taken leadership, wisdom, moral judgment
and bravery to enforce any civil rights law. To be factual, civil rights have been gained because our courts or our government,
after prodding or a "knock down drag out fight" or even war, have FORCED the perpetrators of discrimination and
segregation, for example, to stop and desist. Because the perpetrators are now wearing suits and not white sheets shouldn't
make their behavior any more palatable for anyone who loves justice.
the core assumption behind the analysis of so-called "forced integration" is that segregation IS NOT FORCED, it
is natural, good and the way things should be legally. This twisted logic seeks to thwart the hopes and rights of African
Americans who in polls across the nation and also in a survey conducted for ERASE Racism say that they prefer to live in
communities that are racially integrated and that they value quality education. Regrettably, because of forced segregation
quality public schools are largely only available to people who live in majority white communities.
is truly a sad commentary that in 2013, as Fair Housing Month draws to a close, that the battle to ensure equal access to
housing is still ongoing and that the fairness of open housing is still questioned by those in power.
V. Elaine Gross
2013 Annual Benefit Honoree
Kenneth I. Chenault
I. Chenualt Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express On June 5th ERASE Racism will honor Kenneth Chenault,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express Company, at the organization's 2013 Annual Benefit Reception. A
Long Islander of national and international repute , Mr. Chenault has proven that the role of a leader is not just to meet
the goals of the organization, but to do so with integrity and by matching actions with values. ERASE Racism will honor
Mr. Chenault for his life-time commitment to creating racial justice and promoting racial diversity.
Mr. Chenault holds a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA in history from Bowdoin College, and he
has received honorary degrees from several universities. At Bowdoin, he added his voice to the demands to increase diversity
amongst the student body and faculty. When Bowdoin was preparing to appoint its first African-American professor, he helped
lead a drive to ensure that it would be more than symbolism, lobbying for the appointment to be in one of the school's major
departments. The bid succeeded when Bowdoin named an African-American professor of science, biology and chemistry.
In his twelve years as Chairman and CEO of American Express, Mr. Chenault has prioritized developing
a strong corporate culture that attracts top talent and enables people of diverse backgrounds to thrive. Currently, multicultural
talent makes up nearly 20% of the company's managers. The company's various African American and Hispanic diversity initiatives
are directly addressing the barriers to the advancement of multicultural talent.
large corporations have a social responsibility, Mr. Chenault has explained, adding that philanthropy is one way to fulfill
that obligation, as well as, time providing opportunities for employees to volunteer. Mr. Chenault recognized the benefit
diversity and leadership could bring to the nonprofit sector, that's why he led the company's involvement to develop emerging
leaders at nonprofit organizations. He has participated in all nine of the American Express U.S. Leadership Academies, an
advanced, week-long leadership training program for high potential nonprofit leaders. The company has provided leadership
training grants to over 200 nonprofit organizations and is a leader in the corporate community in providing such grants.
ERASE Racism is thrilled to have Kenneth I. Chenault as its 2013 Abraham Krasnoff
Courage and Commitment Award Honoree. We hope you will join us in honoring him on June 5th at the Garden City Hotel.
wondered what structural racism is, how it operates, or how it relates to Long Island? Have a look at our new power
point presentation that answers important questions about race and racism and provides new statistics about racial disparities
on Long Island.
Click hereto visit our Race and Racism page where you can download the power point presentation. Due to
the size of the file please allow up to a minute for it to download.
Volunteer Spotlight: Deborah D'Orazi
Deborah D'Orazi What experiences have made you
passionate about creating racial equity?
attended Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead, which was right on the Hempstead/Garden City boarder and the economic and racial
disparity between the two made it obvious to me that racism was alive and well today. Moving to our nation's capital I encountered
the same situation since the District has, and continues to undergo, large amounts of gentrification. There were also lots
of dismissal and comments I heard from many people who refused to accept or admit how racism influences the lives and policies
in the United States and world at large.
Tell us about
I attended American University
in Washington, D.C. and I received a BA in History and a certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership through
the School of Public Affair's Women & Politics Institute. During my studies I became interested in and focused on social
history, social movements, and the development of rights. I traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland with my fellow classmates
during the spring break of my sophomore year where we studied peacekeeping and conflict resolution. I plan on starting my
MA in Social Work this fall (hopefully at Rutgers). I aspire to be a writer and advocate and hope to eventually receive
a Ph.D in Gender Studies or Politics and Human Rights.
How would you
describe your time volunteering with ERASE Racism?
Volunteering at ERASE Racism is great! I get to help with research, office work, social media, outreach,
and events. It gives great insight into the workings of non-profit and policy organizations. My favorite experience so far
was the Student Leadership Forum this past January. It was great to see so many students learning and discussing the effects
of racism present in today's society and to see them motivated to create change. It's great to see that tremendous effort
brings tremendous change.
For information on how to volunteer with ERASE Racism, click here.
Article by Erika Vidal
Erika Vidal During
my childhood I was not exposed to diverse communities. I have always lived in a predominantly black neighborhood and attended
a predominately white school. The school I attend has always preached about the importance of diversity, but the lack of
diversity doesn't correlate with the emphasis they put on the matter. I was constantly told diversity was important, but
had no first hand experience as to why.
The summer after my sophomore year in high school I attended a five week program
at a boarding school in New Hampshire. It wasn't until then that I understood the importance of diversity in a community.
At this program I encountered people from all of the word and of all different types of socio-economic status, race and
ethnicity, religion, and sexuality. In this setting I was eager to learn and take something away from all the different
types of people I met. The people I met gave me new ways to look at issues from different perspectives and I believe that
is what learning is about.
My experience at this summer program helped me to understand
why I had been told my whole life about the importance of diversity. Once I was able to experience the value of a diverse
community I realized it was something extremely important to me. It ended up playing a large factor in to my college search.
My experience that summer made me realize I want to continue my education in an environment where diverse opinions are valued
and people with different viewpoints can work together and learn from one another.
more information about how students can get involved with ERASE Racism, click here.
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Racism | 6800 Jericho Turnpike | Suite 109W | Syosset | NY | 11791-4401
ERASE RACISM'S NEWSLETTER ABOUT RESEARCH, TRENDS, AND OUR WORK
|Upcoming Events |
Annual BenefitJune 12, 2012
Unraveling Racism TrainingJune 27-28
|We are almost at our goal!|
The annual benefit is our most important fundraiser. We couldn't do
this work without your support!
|Did you know?|
On Long Island:
--Blacks live in segregated communities regardless of their income
--Blacks prefer racially integrated communities
--Blacks report pervasive housing discrimination
--Blacks report a higher likelihood of leaving the region
(Source: ERASE Racism's 2012 Housing Survey Report
The tragic death of Trayvon Martin has generated a lot of "talk" about race and racism,
some of which has done little beyond provoking anger. A conversation about implicit racial bias, however, is worth having.
The April 14, 2012 New York Times op-ed "Young, Black, Male and Stalked by Bias" addressed this point by explaining:
"Very few Americans make a conscious decision to subscribe to racist
views. But the toxic connotations that the culture has associated with blackness have been embedded in thought, language and
social convention for hundreds of years. This makes it easy for people to see the world through a profoundly bigoted lens
without being aware that they are doing so. Over the last three decades, a growing body of research has shown that racial
stereotypes play a powerful role in judgments made by ostensibly fair-minded people."
I'm not drawing a conclusion about whether George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon, is fair-minded or
not. I am suggesting, however, that racial stereotypes are learned and internalized by every person in this country regardless
of their own race or convictions, and we are frequently unaware when our behaviors are being influenced by myths and stereotypes.
Therefore, it is irrelevant that Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the unarmed, 15-year-old Trayvon Martin,
is identified as a Latino.
In a recent Huffington Post article, I cited seven studies that prove an implicit bias against African Americans. Furthermore, according to 2010 data from the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, blacks are the target of the highest number of hate crimes in the United States, higher by
a wide margin than any other group of Americans by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability. Blacks make
up 12.6% of the country's population; however, blacks were 70 % of the victims of racial hate crimes.
Or course, we could write volumes about the "Stand Your Ground Law" under which the police saw
no reason to arrest an individual who shot dead an unarmed teenager until more than 6 weeks after the shooting under mounting
criticism from across the country. Given that numerous African American, law-abiding men have been arrested for no reason
whatsoever, it is not hard to speculate that if a black man shoots and kills a white man, he would be immediately arrested,
even if he claimed self-defense.
Here on Long Island, as in many other parts of the
nation, residential segregation contributes to the dangerous acceptance of racial stereotypes and perpetuates racial disparities
and discrimination. In other words, living in racially isolated communities contributes to dangerous belief in racial stereotypes
that we often unconsciously learn, teach and act upon.
After the recent fatal shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, of five African Americans that left 3 dead and 2 wounded, a brother of one of the victims said of the two white
shooters, "We didn't know them. Maybe if they would have known us, it wouldn't have happened."
For 11 years, ERASE Racism has advocated for the creation of integrated communities. These two tragic incidents
remind us that real changes towards that goal are more urgent now than ever before.
V. Elaine Gross
|2012 Benefit Honoree: Dr. Roscoe Brown
"Racism is the Achilles' Heel of American democracy," says Dr. Roscoe Brown, explaining that despite
that reality, African Americans throughout history have proven that racial disparities are not tied to aptitude and that given
the same opportunities, people of color will succeed. "The successes of the Tuskegee Airmen show that when performance
is a criterion for success, racism recedes," says Dr. Brown, reflecting on his experience as a member of the famed group
that is often credited with being pioneers of the civil rights movement. The heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II
led to the integration of the armed forces and opened many doors to black Americans. Dr. Brown joined the elite African-American
pilots, often referred to as the "Red Tail Angels", in 1943 and is one of the airmen whose experiences are featured
in the recent movie, "Red Tails".
ERASE Racism will honor Dr. Brown on June 12th at the 2012 Annual
Benefit for his historic role as a Tuskegee Airmen and for his life-time achievements promoting racial justice. He
has been an eminent professor of education and academic leader; a widely-respected member of dozens of New York City, state
and national boards, including Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the American Council on Education; the author of numerous
articles and guides on education and other topics; originator, host and guest on many television programs, among them "African-American
Legends" on CUNY-TV; and the recipient of various honors for his significant scholarly and community contributions, including
the Congressional Award for Service to the African-American Community, BET Honors and Who's Who in America.
To read Dr. Brown's full bio click here.
Click here for more information about the 2012 Annual Benefit.
Dr. Brown and Elaine Gross
|2012 Donor Spotlight: Wilma Holmes Tootle
Wilma Holmes Tootle, resident of Baldwin, has been a dedicated supporter of dozens of organizations, including
ERASE Racism. A retired educator, Ms. Tootle has served many roles as a teacher, principal, dean of women, and director of
personnel for the Uniondale School District. As the co-chair of ERASE Racism's Benefit Planning Committee in 2011, Ms. Tootle
helped to organize the 10th Anniversary Celebration, which was the organization's most successful fundraiser. She joins ERASE
Racism again this year as the co-chair of the 2012 Benefit Planning Committee. In addition to the time and effort she provides
to make the benefit a success, Ms. Tootle and her husband Gerald Tootle are generous supporters of ERASE Racism.
Honored as a "Living
Legend" in 2008 by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ms. Tootle has been a well-known presence in the Long Island community.
Besides her forty years of leadership with the sorority, Ms. Tootle has been actively involved in the Nassau County Chapter
of the American Red Cross, the Long Island Chapter of the Links, the Long Island Women's Agenda, and the National Coalition
of 100 Black Women.
When asked about her work with ERASE Racism, she replied, "I became involved
with ERASE Racism because I believe in the mission of the organization. This group has made a real difference in addressing
critical issues on Long Island with respect to racial discrimination."
Ms. Tootle's personal
motto is "make service your signature". She is an exemplary activist and ERASE Racism is proud to have her
Click here to learn more about the 2012 Benefit and how you can support.
Wilma and Gerald Tootle at ERASE Racism's 10th Anniversary Benefit
|Student Voices: Matthew Woitovich
Erase Racism's documentary, A
TALE OF TWO SCHOOLS: Race and Education on Long Island, opened my eyes to the disparities that exist in our educational
system today. Before the film, I never realized how big the differences between schools are on Long Island. I always thought
that every school received a fair amount of funding to provide children with a proper education. Furthermore, it made me realize
that we have not strayed too far from our past, still managing to find ways to keep segregation intact. It is unfair that
certain schools get enough funding to meet the needs of all of their students, while other schools struggle to provide kids
with the education they want and need. Schools are nothing close to equal, not in educational quality and especially not in
It would be wonderful for schools to be more diverse and provide
everyone with a great education. Without education, how can anyone expect our society to thrive? More information should be
published to open everyone's eyes to the reality we live in. Living in blissful ignorance is not a smart way to live,
especially when it causes inequalities to flourish. With the path we are now following, changes need to be made before matters
get any worse.
Click here to view A TALE OF TWO SCHOOLS: Race and Education on Long Island.
us what you think about our electronic newsletter.|
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ERASE Racism | 6800
Jericho Turnpike | Suite 109W | Syosset | NY | 11791-4401