Present- John Queen, Tom Hayman, Vic Sensenig, Kate Livie, Bishop Ronald Fisher, Thomas Hayman, Ruth Shoge, Jenn Baker
Absent- Reverend Robert Brown, Brandy Barrett
Executive Action: Approval of minutes February 9, 2021
- Chairman Queen started the meeting at 7:04 PM. The minutes for Feb 9, 2021, were approved unanimously with no edits.
- Queen have an update on the Black Churches Part #2 released February 18th, 2021 (Education Pillar w/Video Series). Bishop Fisher commented that he felt the production, questions and overall reflection of the impact of African American churches was very positive and the video was overall very well done.
- Queen reported that the next Community Dialogue #2 is scheduled for April, 2021, and will be focused on community building between the College and the Town.
- Philip Dutton presented on the James Taylor Justice Coalition, as part of the education pillar. Dutton then gave a historical synopsis of the events related to the 19th century lynching, and provided a slideshow that briefed the committee on the James Taylor Justice Coalition’s history, mission, and the community remembrance project (EJI) programming, as well as the scope of the Coalition’s work in the county and with regional organizations. Dutton also updated the committee on the On the Courthouse Lawn book club reading, which the Coalition is partnering on as part of the EAC 16 Month Plan.
John Queen expressed the EAC’s support for this initiative, as did Livie. Shoge commented that part of the importance of the Project was the way it was connected to the contemporary present and the legacy of these lynchings still impact us today.
Sensenig then suggested that one of the groundbreaking leaders of the project, Bryan Stevenson, might be invited to Chestertown to present to the Town and the College. Dutton expressed that though there are connections to Stevenson, he is very in demand, but that it was worth exploring.
Queen then asked, for the Coalition agreement, if individuals could sign up to participate. Dutton confirmed but explained there wasn’t currently a list, and that February 19 of 2022 is the hearing date.
Queen then suggested that the committee discuss the following topics prior to presentation for the Town for the EAC’s recommendations and advisement.
- Solicitation of donations: Queen explained that donations cannot go through direct sales but through dedicated donations. Queen suggested that there might be links on the Town site and the EAC site that provide the opportunity to donate. Livie then asked if the Town could accept online donations, and Shoge followed up with an inquiry about whether the Town could even accept any donation. Baker then commented that Main Street does accept donations, in a quasi-Town role, and suggested that Kay McIntosh may know more.
Queen then moved that the EAC advise the Town to take donations for the EAC’s plans and implementation. Hayman seconded. Shoge amended and suggested that the donations be in exchange for a good or service (banner, yard sign).
Queen and Livie then reiterated that support for the EAC’s plan could be contributed broadly, without it necessarily meaning a product or good. Baker then asked if there was a reserved fund for the EAC, to ensure that contributions are directed towards the EAC are dedicated towards the project or sub-elements of the project.
Several members of the committee expressed the need to have a better understanding of how contributions would be allocated within the Town, to the EAC or to specific initiatives. Bishop Fisher recommended to keep it simple, without extensive sub-allocations for contributions. This conversation will be tabled until further information is provided.
- Book Club “On the Courthouse Lawn”: Queen asked if the committee wanted to advise the Town to be part of the Book Club as part of the plan. Livie so moved to have the event officially recommended to the Town, and Bishop Fisher seconded. Hayman had a follow up conversation about scope of the Club and the physical copy distributions. Livie suggested that discussion questions be posted as a PDF on the EAC website to encourage community dialogue.
- Jedi Training of Washington College: Ruth and Vic then reported on the progress of planning related to training. Vic described the work of the committee members to connect the Town with the JEDI training at the college on equity, racism and inclusion. Both Ruth and Vic think two of these training sessions—anti racism and identity and privilege—are a good fit for the EAC as well as the Town. Ruth and Vic also suggested that the full slate of training be made available to the Community in advance of the Juneteenth celebration. Shoge then described the strength of the JEDI training and their customizability to the Chestertown community. Conversation continued about the training logistics, audience, and ability to translate to an online audience or possibly Youtube.
Claire Hansen then responded to a question from Bishop Fisher, explaining the JEDI session on courageous conversations.
Baker then raised the point that the training might best be scheduled in the evening for optimum accessibility. Baker then suggested these trainings be made available more broadly to those staff with high-contact community roles.
Shoge and Sensenig then moved to recommend two of the JEDI sessions to the Town, and that the whole four sessions to the community in preparation for the Juneteenth celebration (though they both expressed that all four would be valuable and offered to all of the Council members).
- Community Dialogue: Queen then updated the committee on the participation of the Council in the dialogues to date. Baker suggested that the timing may be a barrier to one of the councilman’s participation, and Queen confirmed it would be after work hours. Queen moved that the two Town Council members that did not attend be encouraged to attend the next Dialogue for community reconciliation, and Hayman seconded. The EAC then so moved.
- Historic Signage: Queen gave an update on the signage initiative, and that the signage for the first location is funded but the location has yet to be decided. Shoge asked about the specifics of the wording, and Queen explained it was still possible to revise the content. Sensenig expressed his support and said that he hoped it was just a start. Livie then commented that she will be assisting in the arts commemorative committee and will report back. Baker and Queen then discussed the location of the markers, with Baker remarking that she would prefer the committee recommend a marker at the foot of High Street, while Queen disagreed and felt that a different location that was Town owned would be preferable for the expediency of the marker’s location. Bishop Fisher felt that Baker has a point about the importance of the location and it’s resonance to the Black community.
Livie suggested, given their comments, that we hear more from the group working on the markers and that the EAC’s preference for the waterfront be communicated, and that the language to use with the group is that though we prefer the County property, we recognize that the marker group and the Town may choose the location they determine favorable and expedient for the project. Bishop Fisher expressed his support for that language.
Queen will share further information with the committee on Friday once the marker group has met again, and the conversation was tabled.
- Queen introduced new prospective EAC member Meagan White, from the Washington College SGA. Livie and Sensenig expressed their excitement at having White join the committee. Livie moved, and Bishop Fisher seconded the recommendation to add Meagan White to the committee.
Plan Implementation: Education, Legislation and Unification
- Queen reported that the Book Club w/Sherrilyn Ifill’s “On the Courthouse Lawn” (Education w/ The Lynching Project) is currently being scheduled and coordinating calendars withing community organizations.
Historic Video Selection upcoming:
- Queen reported that the Community Dialogue Part #1 (Education Pillar w/ Community Dialogue) is still currently being edited.
- Queen reported that the Historic Signage (Education Pillar) will be in further future discussion, per the conversation covered earlier in tonight’s meeting.
- Queen reported that the Town Council Advisory Monday March 15th, 2021 will provide the Council with all of the approved recommendations from tonight’s EAC meeting.
- Queen reported that a representative of the Black Union of Kent County will be updating the EAC on Juneteenth at the next meeting.
Public Comment: Agenda
- No public joined the comment section.
Meeting adjourned at 8:42 PM.
The next meeting Tuesday April 13th, 2021 7pm