Tuesday, September 15, 2020

ANCA’s annual meeting focuses on racial equity

On its surface, racial equity implies the fair treatment of all people, regardless of race. However, America’s fraught history of race exposes how Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been disproportionately denied access to systems, structures and pathways that result in fair opportunities and outcomes for all. By centering racial equity in our communities, we can increase the collective economic and social success for all who live and work in the North Country region. 

These values are at the heart of the Adirondack North Country Association’s 2020 annual meeting, which will take place via Zoom on Friday, September 18 from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. The virtual event will focus on how racial equity is essential for a stronger, more resilient North Country region, as businesses and communities rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ANCA is home to the Adirondack Diversity Initiative’s inaugural director, Nicole Hylton-Patterson (pictured here), who was hired in December 2019 — three months before COVID-19 closed down New York State economies and five months before the killing of George Floyd and subsequent worldwide racial justice protests. Hylton-Patterson has been instrumental in the design and execution of ANCA’s annual meeting, which centers racial equity in economic development in the North Country. 

ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish said these recent crises provide a unique opportunity to create regional economic systems that are more equitable, particularly for people of color. 

“With all we’ve learned this year, we recognize that racial equity must be a key part of rebuilding our regional economy,” Fish said. “We are so grateful to have Nicky on our team, as she continually challenges us to integrate justice and inclusion in our work. With our annual meeting, we want to extend this challenge to our friends, neighbors and partners, with a shared goal of advancing racial equity in the North Country.” 

The virtual meeting will feature presentations about how racial equity relates to three economic sectors: local food systems, the entrepreneurial economy and the clean energy sector:

  • Structural racism in the U.S. food system, presented by Adam Dewbury, PhD, local food system coordinator at ANCA
  • Racial equity in developing and maintaining “solopreneurships,” presented by Valerie D. White, executive director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NYC
  • Addressing racial equity in workforce development within the clean energy sector, presented by Bryana DiFonzo, director of new economy at PUSH Buffalo

“This meeting provides an opportunity to listen, learn and lean into the difficult work of making the North Country more racially equitable for all New Yorkers and visitors,” said Hylton-Patterson. “It is intended for long-time allies, emerging accomplices and beginners who are ready to challenge systems and practices that have discriminated against and disadvantaged BIPOC communities for generations.” 

The meeting will take place via Zoom on September 18, 1:00-3:30 p.m. and includes opportunities for questions and answers via chat. ANCA invites community members, business owners, elected officials and nonprofit leadership throughout the North Country region to register for a fee of their choice, from $10 to $100, at www.adirondack.org/2020AnnualMeeting. 

ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across northern New York. ANCA’s community-informed, results-driven strategies for local food producers, small business owners, would-be entrepreneurs and municipal innovators offer targeted interventions that are designed to keep wealth and value in local communities. 

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12 Responses

  1. Bob says:

    You gotta politicize everything. You should be ashamed…

    • Dana says:

      You get what you PAY for.

    • Audrey says:

      This is not politicizing. This is shedding light on real issues and challenges that People of Color face while living and working in places that are predominantly white and with workplace and government policies and practices that disadvantage them. This is a chance to learn about these issues, because many of us are simply not aware. If we work toward more equitable systems, we ALL will benefit. We are fortunate and grateful to these speakers for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

  2. Ben says:

    Is there some law that is causing this supposed racial inequity issue. Show it too me, other wise this is a stupid issue. If people want to come to the Adirondacks they will regardless of their skin color!

    • Audrey says:

      Tune into learning opportunities like this one to learn more. There are so many easy and free ways to engage these days! And there is already so much research and reporting out there about this topic. Some of the responsibility falls on us, as citizens, to actively learn — not just wait for others to “show it to us.”

  3. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for posting, all! This looks like an interesting set of talks. I am happy that ANCA is continuing to build momentum in bringing anti-racism to the ADK. We all need it!

  4. Dana says:

    Mention the “R” word and it awakens the trolls.

  5. Greg Keefer says:

    Just checked out ANCA’s website and the picture of the Board of Directors’ does not include any people of color. Not to suggest that the BOD does not include people of color, just that the picture on the website doesn’t.

    • Audrey says:

      This is part of the challenge, isn’t it? Something ANCA and other North Country organizations and businesses are beginning to be more mindful of as they recruit board members, create job descriptions, announce job opportunities, communicate about programs, etc. Exactly the kinds of questions and conversations that are needed for creating a more racially equitable economy. Glad these conversations are happening…

  6. Christine hildebrand says:

    Thank you to the Adirondack Almanack for posting this announcement, and the recent article and especially the editorial in the Explorer magazine. This discussion is important for the future of the North Country. And thank you to ANCA for your dedication to this issue, and sponsoring the Diversity Initiative. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t believe the negative comments here represent the majority feeling of our neighbors in the Adirondacks.

    • Dana says:

      Christine,

      Probably not the majority, but neither were the Klan. A very vocal and visible minority can still spread a lot of fear.

    • Dana says:

      I lived in south-central Indiana for several years in the 90s. It was difficult to tell it was a stronghold of the Klan. They were very quiet at the time, but if you listened, you could hear them breathing. In the last few years, many hate groups and like-minded individuals are awakening and their muzzles are coming off. Is the current presidential administration the only reason? Is racial intolerance the only intolerance we have within the Park? Hopefully ANCA can shed some light.

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