The Black Cinema Series at The Little Theatre continues this month with the documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor. Oprah recently mentioned Taylor’s name during her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, saying Taylor never got justice after she was raped by six white men. Taylor’s case – and others like hers – helped spark the civil rights movement.

We discuss Taylor’s legacy, race relations in 2018, and issues surrounding sexual assault. In studio:

  • Kevin Hicks, journalist and vice president for print for the RABJ
  • Allison O'Malley, chief executive officer of RESOLVE
  • Moiet James, development administrative assistant for WXXI, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ
  • Ericka Wilson, producer for WHEC-TV, co-coordinator for the Black Cinema Series, and member of the RABJ

Rochester native Aesha Ash danced with the New York City Ballet and performed all over the world, and now she's using her success to inspire and empower young African American girls.

The Swan Dreams Project features photographs of Ash dressed in ballet attire, posing in different neighborhoods in the City of Rochester. She says she wants young people in lower income neighborhoods to see that ballet – and all professions – are open to them, just as they were to her.

We discuss the project, and how the arts can be used to dispel stereotypes and empower people from all backgrounds. Our guests:

A number of local groups are joining together to develop what they call a “united community response to Donald Trump’s hatred and racism.” The event will be led by Minister Franklin Florence Sr.

We're joined by the event’s organizers to discuss their goals, and we also welcome comments from supporters of Donald Trump. Our guests:

  • Minister Clifford Florence, president of the Faith Community Alliance
  • Larry Knox, political and community engagement coordinator for 1199 SEIU
  • Howard Eagle, representative of the Take It Down Planning Committee and the Movement for Anti-Racist Ministry and Action
  • Tim Schiefen, small business owner

A poll conducted in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rallies found that while few Americans will outwardly express support for white nationalism or racially-charged ideas, more than 30 percent say they think the country needs to “protect and preserve its White European heritage.”

A local filmmaker is hoping to spark engaging conversations about multiculturalism and how homogenizing groups can lead to violence. Mara Ahmed has been outspoken about borders and nationalism, and about Islamophobia in America. We discuss her work, and her reactions to the Trump administration’s policies on immigration and more. 

Adam Serwer, correspondent forThe Atlantic Monthly, joins us to discuss his recent piece titled "The Nationalist's Delusion." The piece has been hotly debated since its publication, and many prominent writers of color call it a landmark in analyzing America's history with white nationalism.

When white supremacists posted racist flyers around the town of Pittsford, residents rallied against racism and pushed for change. They formed a group called PittsForward, and one of its members -- Kevin Beckford decided to run for the Pittsford Town Board...and won.

Beckford is the suburb's first African American town board member. He joins us to discuss his journey and how he thinks the flyers and PittsForward impacted the election. In studio:

  • Kevin Beckford, Pittsford Town Board member-elect
  • Kendra Evans, organizer of PittsForward

There's controversy in Henrietta, where Town Supervisor Jack Moore is being criticized for allegedly making racially-insensitive remarks. The EEOC investigated the complaints in late September and determined that several had merit. Now, some residents are calling for his resignation.

Moore's supporters say the timing is political with the upcoming election, and members of the Henrietta Roadrunners Association Union say 82 percent of their group supports Moore.

We discuss the complaints, how the EEOC works, and how discrimination filings impact the workplace. Our guests:

  • Reverend Ruben Goff, Henrietta resident
  • Larry Knox, organizer with SEIU
  • Iman Abid, Henrietta resident
  • Justin Cordello, employment law attorney with Cordello Law PLLC
  • Chuck Marshall, employee for the Town of Henrietta who supports Jack Moore

How do Americans view the racial divide in this country? According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans say racism is a “big problem” in society. That’s up eight percentage points since 2015. But it leads to the question, why isn’t that number higher? 

Debby Irving is a white woman from New England who says she didn't fully understand the racial divide in this country until her adult life. Growing up in a wealthy Massachusetts family, she says she couldn’t see outside of her privileged bubble. That all changed when she took a graduate level course about racism and explored her own bias. Now, she’s a racial justice educator and author of the book, Waking Up White. Irving is in Rochester to share her story and offer workshops, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

*Note: Debby Irving's event has been rescheduled. Please find details here.

We have a discussion about a racist tweet written by a student at MCC. The student doesn't represent MCC, its student body, or its faculty, but he is part of the MCC community. 

The tweet raises a number of questions: What is free speech and what isn't? What is the responsibility of MCC or other institutions that have faced similar issues? If such issues are matters of free speech, do institutions have any power to act? Should they? Our guests weigh in. In studio:

  • Anne M. Kress, president of MCC
  • Lloyd Holmes, vice president of student services and chief diversity officer at MCC
  • Demario Brantley, sociology professor and Latin American Academy Fellow at MCC
  • Daniel Skerritt, president of the MCC Student Events and Governance Association 

Throughout time, you may go back and watch a movie that you loved as a child, but now, it plays differently to you. There's something that feels uncomfortable; something has changed. 

If you watch Coming to America, National Lampoon's Vacation, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and many other popular films, you'll find examples of racism, sexism, and homophobia.

This hour, we explore how perceptions of art -- particularly of films -- evolve over time. Our guests:

  • Jack Garner, longtime film critic
  • Lester D. Friedman, professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith College, and co-author of Monstrous Progeny
  • Bri Merkel, artistic director for The Little Theatre
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, actor, performance educator with Impact Interactive, and senior assistant director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Success in RIT's Division for Diversity and Inclusion