ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives wants to start a conversation about anti-racism in Rochester.
To that end, Ibram X. Kendi, the author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” is coming to Rochester on November 18 to present his book and help facilitate that conversation. He will be at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance that night beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Kenneth Morris, Jr. – the Founder and President of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives – and Robert Benz, the Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, discussed the event Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.
“Dr. Kendi is one of the leading voices on all things racism and anti-racism in the United States,” said Benz. “He is coming here as a favor to us to help us frame our work in Rochester. So we’re excited about the conversation that will take place that night.”
In addition to Dr. Kendi’s remarks, there will be a panel of local leaders and students from East High School asking questions and framing the conversation around a perspective of young people. Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives will donate 100 tickets for students and teachers on a first-come, first-served basis.
Morris is a direct descendant of both Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. For him, Rochester is the natural home for the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. “Frederick Douglass, I believe, did some of his most important work here in Rochester. The Douglass family was here for more than a quarter of a century. Frederick Douglass published the North Star newspaper out of the Talman building, which was a leading abolitionist voice. And so we wanted to bring the organization back to Rochester. We’ve been based in Atlanta, Georgia since the founding of our organization in 2007. So the spirit of Frederick Douglass is here. It’s where he and my great, great, great grandmother, Anna Murray-Douglass, are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery. So it was just natural for us to come back to this place.”
Of Dr. Kendi’s visit, Morris said, “We hope that this conversation on November 18 with Dr. Kendi will start conversations. We need to have conversations that are long overdue in this country about our racist foundation. And you know, coming out of hundreds of years of oppression and slavery these are conversations that we need to have.”
To register for the event featuring Dr. Kendi and to learn more about the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, visit the FDFI website.