Wednesday November 18 at 6pm

Nov 18 6:00 pm

Virtual Panel Discussion p.2: Real Talk on Racism

Conversations with Regional Leaders on the Current State of Race Relations

Registration is now full for this event. We will be attempting to livestream through our Facebook page as well, but it will also be up on our YouTube channel shortly.


In conjunction with our current exhibit, Stories of Resilience: Encountering Racism, La Grua Center and the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut are pleased to present the second in a three-part series of panel discussions focusing on the issue of racism. The first panel, which included three local Black leaders who are featured in the exhibit, focused on growing up in the Jim Crow era (the discussion was recorded and can be viewed on La Grua's YouTube channel). This second panel will discuss the current state of race relations as viewed through the lens of another generation of community leaders.

Panelists include New London city councilor and entrepreneur Curtis Goodwin; Kolton Harris, artist and arts program associate at the CT Office of the Arts; activist and retired chief probation officer Tamara Lanier; and local historian Tom Schuch. The panel will be moderated by University of Connecticut journalism professor Gail MacDonald.

Developed as part of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut’s Encountering Differences program, a unique opportunity for students to learn about racism through the eyes of local residents, the exhibition explores segregation, the migration North, the Civil Rights Movement, systemic racism, and current acute manifestations of racism. The exhibit is an integral part of the group’s efforts to break down racial and cultural barriers and confront hatred and prejudice given the rise in racial incidents occurring locally and on school campuses.

The exhibit highlights the lives of five exceptional residents of New London County, past and present—attorney Lonnie Braxton, Rev. Florence Clarke, Sonalysts Board member Donetta Hodge, Coast Guard Commander (Ret.) Merle Smith, and 19th century freed slave and teacher Ichabod Pease. Stories of Resilience showcases their determination, bravery, and strength in the face of personal and systemic racism. The exhibit paints a picture of remarkable successes in the face of daunting obstacles through personal photographs, artifacts, and video testimonies.

Through the exhibition and related programs, viewers are encouraged to think about how they can promote change and advocacy in their communities as well as examine their own responsibilities in creating a just society.

The exhibition is supported in part by the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, with special thanks to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, where the exhibit opened in February, for their assistance.

The exhibit will be open for viewing Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays 10am-2pm through December 19 excluding holidays and holiday weekends; and by appointment by calling La Grua Center at 860-535-2300. 

Contact Us
La Grua Center,
32 Water St., P.O. Box 342,
Stonington, CT 06378
phone: 860-535-2300
Kelli Rocherolle - Program Director
Please direct all program and rental inquiries to
Follow Us
Recent Images