standing Westerly Library

Throughout the United States’ history, race and racism have been contentious issues, whether that be slavery, the civil rights movement, or even more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement. Understanding race helps us to better understand our history as Americans, and the unknown privileges we may hold.

On Friday, Feb. 1, at 4 p.m. in the Westerly Library auditorium, Greene School senior Ella Culton will be holding a student-run discussion about these topics, with support from the library’s Teen Space staff. This discussion will be titled “Facing Our History” and will explore the intersections of race, history and popular media today.

Of the many historical events related to race discrimination, the 1967 Detroit race riots provide a unique perspective on the power of frustration and extreme social temperatures. This interactive discussion will take a deep dive into the origins and consequences of the 1967 Detroit race riots and this event’s connection to social movements and race relations today. With a combination of lecture and discussion, we will learn more about influential media from a variety of periods in history, and see what, if any, progress has been made today.

While we are unable to screen the films “Do the Right Thing” and “The Hate U Give,” we will watch videos on the subjects to get a better understanding of race in the 1980s and 2010s. In the second half of the event, we will look beyond specific instances of discrimination, and try to understand the core issue of “us and them”.

We will answer questions like “What implicit biases do I hold?” and “What are examples of ‘us and them’ relationships I see in my community?” To round out the event, we will participate in an interactive activity around the biases we form every day, and how easily the “us and them” mentality can be applied to a variety of situations.

Be prepared to learn, and be open minded about things you may discover about yourself. Library staff will also provide a selection of relevant materials you may borrow for further reading after the event.

Please contact Melanie Desantis or Erik Caswell in the Teen Space with any questions at 401-596-2877, ext. 301.

Top-requested books

1. “Becoming” by Michelle Obama

2. “Nine Perfect Strangers” by Liane Moriarty

3. “The Reckoning” by John Grisham

4. “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

5. “Past Tense” by Lee Child

6. “Kingdom of the Blind” by Louise Penny

7. “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens

8. “Long Road to Mercy” by David Baldacci

9. “Dark Sacred Night” by Michael Connelly

10. “Unsheltered” by Barbara Kingsolver

Top-requested movies

1. “A Star is Born”

2. “Bohemian Rhapsody”

3. “Green Book”

4. “The Wife”

5. “Crazy Rich Asians”

6. “A Simple Favor”

7. “The Old Man & the Gun”

8. “First Man”

9. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

10. “Venom”

Top billing

For All Ages

MONDAY — The library is closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

TUESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Family storytime for all ages; 3-4:30 p.m., Teen Radicle Book Club & DIY T-shirt Screenprinting – come print tee shirts with radical messaging in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit and Crochet Group! – a friendly knitting, crochet, needlework, and yarn craft club. Open to adults who have some experience with knitting (even at a beginner level); 6-7:45 p.m., Quilters Corner – all are welcome to this quilting club; 6-7:30 p.m., Renaissance Toastmasters – meets twice a month to share stories and get comfortable speaking in front of an audience.

WEDNESDAY — 10-10:45 a.m., Storytime for ages 1-3; 4:30-7:30 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens grades 7-12 interested in STEM and Robotics.

THURSDAY — 10-11:30 a.m., Conversation Class – A free conversation class for English Language Learners; 10-10:45 a.m., Storytime for ages 3-5; 4-5:30 p.m., Teen Social Justice Writers & Screenprinting – we will brainstorm ways to inform the community about causes we are passionate about and screenprint t-shirts with radical messaging; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome, no sign-up required; 5:30-7 p.m. Foundations of Digital Marketing for Small Businesses Part 1 – this first part of a 3 week series focuses on “How to Deal with Today’s Customers”.

FRIDAY — 3:30-5:30 p.m., Teen Movie: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (for ages 13-19), snacks and soft drinks provided; 4-5:45 p.m., Shoreline Robotics Practice – For teens interested in STEM and Robotics; 6-9 p.m., Our 5th Annual Laughs for a Cause! Featuring the Queens of Comedy – this event takes place at the Haversham House and includes a buffet dinner and a cash bar. This library fundraiser offers general seating at $35, reserved seats for $50.

SATURDAY — 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Make & Take Crafts – Drop in at any time to create with other children; 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., FundaFest21 – A Celebration of Black Storytelling. Ron Daise from the TV show Gullah Gullah Island is the featured storyteller, registration required for the workshop from 10-12; 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Adult Writers Workshop – A group-led prose writing workshop; 1-2:30 p.m., Dungeons and Dragons (Teen Led Program) – No prior experience with the game is necessary—registration is required.

Ella Culton is a senior at the Greene School in West Greenwich.

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