I am excited to participate in this event! I will share my story & participate in the panel conversation
When I was in first grade at Cedar Bluff Elementary School in Knoxville, TN, the bus took us to school one day with the KKK demonstrating at 7am on the road where the bus entered the parking lot of the school. I was shocked with the other children as one of the older kids explained what the KKK was. I grew up in the same area moving away during post graduate studies, working for several years in Florida, only to return to what I permanently call home, East Tennessee. My work in community mental health for 20+ years in the area afforded me experience with racism especially in the rural areas. I would go to people's homes to provide therapy and social services only to be met with a 'rebel' or 'confederate' flag. Yes this was the flag of the confederate who lost the civil war ending slavery. The confederate states were pro-slavery.
In my work, there was one instance where a family called the office after I visited their home asking that I not return. After some probing the supervisor confirmed this was simply discomfort of the family to welcome me due to my race. My race is white and ethnicity is Greek, and I am first generation American, as my parents immigrated from the country of Cyprus. There were instances growing up that I did experience and witness racism towards me and especially my parents, as they carried accents from a different land. I also witnessed racism towards minorities. Mostly in my life, I have experienced what we term, 'white privilege,' and have made it my mission to advocate for the marginalized communities.
With 2020 and the murder of George Floyd, the Bristol Motor Speedway decided for the first time in history to remove the confederate flag. Residents of my area went to twitter sharing hell must have frozen over for this to occur. Briefly afterwards someone flew the confederate flag over the speedway. They just cannot let it go. I grew up thinking the TN state flag and confederate flag looked oddly similar and they do. The people who identify with the confederate flag, state it is a symbol of their heritage and history. This leads us to the question: is this racist to display this flag?
Join us on Saturday November 7, 2020 from 1-4pm PST to hear more about racism in small towns.
Register Here: https://www.nadifantastic.com/community-townhall