I first met Shane Wiegand about five years ago for coffee at Equal Grounds on South Avenue. The idea of a book on school segregation was germinating in my mind, but I hadn’t started writing. Shane had done quite a bit of trawling for old newspaper clips and other materials to share with students in his classes at Rush-Henrietta and increasingly with the community at large, but hadn’t yet pulled them all together into a series of lesson plans like he hoped to do.
Since then we’ve been in regular communication, swapping sources and historical records that we find, running draft materials by each other and sharing our observations about how both of our works-in-progress were landing in the community. Shane was the first person to see an early full-length version of my book and the first to adapt parts of it for use in the classroom, something I’ve glad to say is now happening with more regularity.
I write all this to say that he and I have been fellow travelers for some time now. Since we first met, Shane’s work has been adopted and advanced by the PathStone Corporation, which under Executive Director Stuart Mitchell has taken a keen interest in advancing racial justice and an accurate re-telling of our local history. On Thursday I’ll be the featured speaker at PathStone’s annual Provoking Thought event. After I speak, I’ll be part of a panel discussion featuring Mayor Malik Evans and Deputy County Executive Corinda Crossdale.
Over the last few months I’ve gotten to know a number of members of the PathStone team besides Shane and Stuart. It’s been gratifying and encouraging to see the amount of energy and funding going toward a cause that’s so important to me. I hope you’ll consider attending the Thursday event, either in person or virtually (both free). It begins at 3 p.m. at Grace Road Church, 440 East Ave. There’s quite a bit of new material that’s not in my usual presentation, if you’ve seen that before. Register here.
It’s been a pleasure to see how my work and the work that Shane and others at PathStone are doing have been mutually beneficial, each opening new opportunities for the other. I know we both intend to continue in our missions. Thursday will be a great opportunity to witness that and support the cause that we’re all working toward.