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Anti-racist East-West Walk promotes discussion on racial equity

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC)– Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives teamed up with the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center to put on the Anti-racist East-West Walk Saturday afternoon.

Participants showed up to 295 Alexander Street, Frederick Douglass’ former home, just before 2 p.m. They walked just over two miles to the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony sculpture in Anthony Square.

FDFI founder Kenneth Morris Jr. Led the walk with his mother, Nettie Washington Douglass, and Dr. Frederick Douglass III, who is the great-grandson of Frederick Douglass.

Morris is also the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington. He says the most important thing about the event was connecting with community leaders.

“We know that if Frederick Douglass was here today he would be locking arms with the leaders in the community and the organizations that are doing great work already,” said Morris. “It was important to have some of those leaders here today and to share their ideas on how to be anti-racist and how to approach racial equity in the city.”

Morris lives in California and arrived in Rochester on Friday night. He was proud to see so many historical sites during the walk on Saturday.

“We were able to stop and see some contemporary art that’s being done about social justice,” said Morris. “We were able to see the Talman building where the north star was published. The Reynolds Arcade where Frederick Douglass was warned by the Western Union Telegraph that there was a warrant for his arrest after John Browns Harpers Ferri raid. It was a great chance for the community to see very talented artists and the work that they’re doing. Also, to see sites that were significant to Frederick Douglass and his life here in Rochester.”

Morris says this walk was in preparation for an event that will be held on November 18th at Hochstein’s performance Hall with Ibram Kendi.
The event will focus on Kendi’s book “How To Be An Anti-racist”.

“We thought it would be a great chance to bring the community together,” said Morris. “It’s where Frederick Douglass and his family spent over 25 years doing his abolitionist work.”

The Frederick Douglass Family Initiative recently opened an office at 115 South Avenue in Rochester.

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