Join us at 8:30 am for Week #141 via Zoom for this special African American History Month call co-curated by our very own Rodneyna Hart, Museum Division Director of Louisiana State Museum. Every year we celebrate and amplify stories that shaped the 20th century Civil Rights Movement. We all know the Arkansas story of the Little Rock Nine; the North Carolina story of the Greensboro Woolworth counter sit-in; and certainly the Alabama story of the March from Selma to Montgomery. Some of us may even know that Baton Rouge had was the first large-scale bus boycott in the segregated South. That boycott inspired the Montgomery boycotts and lead to a transportation compromise that didn't end segregated buses, but decreased the number of "Whites Only" reserved seats. But there are more stories, other stories of every day people who did their part to change the world in which they lived and improve it for our generation. On Friday, February 3, we will hear "Untold Stories: Civil Rights in Baton Rouge". This call will feature some lesser-known stories of Baton Rouge’s civil rights history and evolving stories. By the end, we will understand that this is not the distant past but a lived experience of those we interact with daily. Our speakers will be:
Wilken Jones, Curator of the Rural African American Museum
Geno McLaughlin, Community Engagement Specialist and Creator of Black Restaurant Week Baton Rouge
Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!
Melanie Henderson: My name is Melanie Henderson with Capital Area United Way. I just wanted to give you a quick crash force on 225 Gives how you can be involved and what are some of the new things we have this year? Typically, we have held 225 Gives on Giving Tuesday, that is the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And we had feedback from nonprofits and donors that it was just such a hard time for them when you have all these other year end priorities. So, we decided as an organization to move 225 Gives to May. This also is in line with how the Give NOLA and the Northern Louisiana give days work. So, we felt like this was the right move, and since we've made that move, we've had just so much positive feedback thanking us that this was the right thing to do. And so, this will be our third annual 225 gifts held on May 4th, 2023. We are doing a lot of outreach right now to get these nonprofits registered. Through registration. You have access to training, networking, volunteer opportunities, different engagement that is really beneficial to, to help not only. reach your 225 gifts goals, but to build this fundraising into your overall strategy a little bit about eligibility. So, in order to register for 225 gifts, you have to have a 501C3 nonprofit and good standing with the IRS, you have to provide your nine 90 and you also have to be in good standing with the Secretary of State. If you are an organization who does not necessarily file a nine 90 because of your size or how long you've been in business, you can upload your most recent board approved budget in order to be registered. Again. What does participation get? A nonprofit. It helps you raise funds for your organization. It increases visibility and community awareness. The fact that United Way hosts this, we are able to leverage our partnerships. We are directing our network, whether that's email blast, social media, talking to our board. We are advocating for these nonprofits who are registered. We're directing them to the site to view what all these nonprofits’ pages are. So being part of this, you really are able to have access to our network and our marketing and public relations. We are doing a lot on behalf of these nonprofits. So, you can register online, www.225gives.org. There is an extensive FAQ section. There are some resources on there so please. Reach out to me if you have questions. Pass on to your businesses and your clients that 225 Gives Day is coming and encourage them to do peer-to-peer fundraising. So, I'm happy to answer questions, but thank you for this time and check out our website and reach out to me for further questions.
Rodneyna Hart: I'm here at the Capitol Park Museum. So, we are starting a series that I announced last meeting called Untold Stories. They are untold stories that will be featuring on the third Thursday of every month at the museum. But in that same vein we wanted to start off with talking about untold stories or unheard narratives of civil rights. The way that we are framing this is that we are talking about what happened in Baton Rouge. Who are we and how do we get here? And also, why is it so relevant for each of our community partners? So, I would like to start off talking to Gino McLaughlin because he is a contemporary. He is a person who has experienced life in Louisiana, and from that has had seminal experiences that has informed his life and also his trajectory, his present, and his future.
Geno McLaughlin: Some of you, many of you probably know me know bits and pieces of my story. But I guess in the framework, in the context of what we're talking about I always like to talk about how I became who I am. I always like to say that we sit on the shoulders of giants that came before us, right? And black history is currently being made. We have lots of advocates, lots of people that are choosing their own frontline right now and doing the work. But we could not be where we are, nor could we have done the things that we've done currently if we're not for people that came before us. And so, for me, that actually starts and stops with my dad. There's a saying that we are our ancestors' wildest dreams. And if my dad was alive, I think he would be shocked at the man that sits before you guys. He did a lot of the same things that I do today. I grew up falling asleep in all the different meetings. And I wake, I fall asleep in one meeting, wake up in the next meeting, right? And whether it's NAACP meetings, whether it was urban League meetings he was on the board of every single thing. He was a man of the community. He was a bit of an activist. I probably am a little more radical than he was but at the same time he did not see this coming for me and nor did I see it for myself. We grew up listening and being a part of all the conversations, but yet I had my own path, right? I was a musician. I'm not sure how many people knew that I was a musician first and foremost. That was my first love. And to see who I am now, and he never got to see this version of me. I think he would be floored, right? But a lot of that starts with the upbringing that he instilled with us. But there were other people, there were other pieces. That I want to throw out there to you guys that you guys can Google later that were also critical to my upbringing. So, I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Obviously, a lot of you guys know that as the place where Dr. King unfortunately lost his life. My dad was a part of the Civil Rights Museum. He was a part of actually making that happen. He was part of the board that actually started the national Civil Rights Museum. But we also went to seminary, United Methodist Church. And so, my first pastor was actually the Reverend Dr. James Lawson. So, if you guys want to Google that name after we're done. But Reverend Lawson is a powerhouse literally a powerhouse in the movement, in the Civil Rights Movement. And this was my first pastor. And anything from founding being a part of the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins. He trained up people like Stokley Carmichael. He trained up people like Diane Nash and again, names as you guys can go out and Google. These were students back in the late fifties and sixties that were the Freedom Riders, right? They, these were the students that went in, went down into Mississippi as part of the Freedom Summer. And so would love for you guys to check out his biography. But this was my first pastor, right? And so, growing up, listening to the stories and of all the different work that was done by uh, Reverend Lawson and also our church I think it was not James Mayor, geez. Just cause I'm trying to throw out names. One of our famous activists, he was shot and during that Freedom Summer, the big protests were actually led from seminary United Methodist Church. I'm. Drawing a blank right now about the name of the activist. But also, when Dr. King came to Memphis and he lost his life, he came at the invitation of Reverend Lawson. Dr. King was in Memphis because of Reverend Lawson as a part of the sanitation workers strikes. And listening to all those stories that became a huge part of my upbringing. It became a huge part of my education that I was able to carry forward. Once God decided that it was time for me stand up. Another name that I also threw out to you guys is actually part of my family. And I didn't realize how monumental this man was until later on in my life. But we grew up partially in New Orleans as well. And so, my family in New Orleans my auntie Ella Ruth is what we called her but her husband was Dr. Lawrence d Reddick Again, you guys can Google Dr. Lawrence d Reddick, but this was my cousin. He actually wrote the first bi biography of Dr. King. He was with Dr. King and with a lot of the other leaders in Montgomery when they started the bus boycott. Why is that important to Baton Rouge and just that synergy. Obviously, we know that Baton Rouge was the first bus boycott. And those leaders actually learned from Dr. Jimerson and all the other activists and advocates on the ground here. They learned about that bus boycott. So, he wrote he helped Dr. King with strive toward. And then, later on he finished his own biography of Dr. King in 1959, which was the first biography of Dr. King, and it's called Crusader Without a Violence. My gosh, this man's house was full of stories. It was full of books, it was full of history. He had a picture with him and Dr. King when he received his Nobel Peace Prize on the mantelpiece. And I remember thinking like, whoa, I know that guy. And these are the stories that I grew up with. My father Dr. Reddick Reverend Lawson these people were monumental in my upbringing. And there are a lot of other names that I could throw out there that I grew up around. Just through my dad's work, people that are what I now know are giants. Literal giants of the work, the Army, Bailey gosh there's so many people. I don't want to throw out all the names. Benjamin Hooks. These are people that I knew personally knew, met, had conversations with, went to their houses. And so even though I was uninterested as a young man, when I say uninterested, I was learning. I was interested in history, but that's not what I wanted to do. I didn't want to do this work, I wanted to go sing, and I did that professionally for some years, but God always finds a way to bring us back to where it's supposed to be. And for me it's just interesting how all those experiences shaped me and allowed me to be ready for a moment in Baton Rouge when we needed people to stand up. And I was lucky enough to have an upbringing, to have a found. To be able to speak from and continue to do this work. I do it prof unquote, professionally. Now I don't make enough money.
Pepper Roussel: I want to dive a little bit deeper into some of the some of the things that you're telling us about. There are a couple of folks who are on the line that I'm putting on the spot, and I just want you to know that.
Rodneyna Hart: Mr. Jones was unable to make it today because he wasn't feeling well, but his story is part of one of the things that was super interesting, and it didn't make it to the Green Book panel. Wilkin Jones is a gentleman from Opelousas Louisiana. He is a really outstanding man. He's a veteran. I guess the two points was that he wants to open an African American museum in Opelousas. He is working to find a location to keep for at least another five years of space that pays homage to those civil rights and just important individuals in New Orleans I'm sorry, in Opelousas. He went to Southern University. He lived in Baton Rouge, but he would frequently go home. And he told me stories of the work that he had to do to prepare for a trip from Baton Rouge to Aloo. There were no places that he could stop and eat. There were sundown towns. There were places he could not refresh himself. So, his individual struggle and a person who lives right now and is still working to elevate the stories of his lived experience before. We did the Green Book exhibition. There was a lot that I did not know. And there's still so much to learn, but the strength and the ability of resilience for people who are able to continue to push the narrative of equality forward, understanding the work that they did, that we can stop right now at any stores, any restaurants. And it's odd for them if they are the ones who are being restrictive to us. That is a very contemporary thing. The work that has been done by our predecessors is outstanding. It's something to be honored. It's something to be thankful for, and I know that there are people here, like we are becoming a more perfect union. There are people probably on this call right now who've directly experienced struggles pushback told that they were not supposed to be where they are. And that is a continual thing, but the world is getting more equitable. But it's not happening in spite of us. It's happening because of us, because people are doing such a good job of calling out inequality and demanding that things get better. And elevating stories of people who have been unseen and understanding in a broad and meaningful way that this world can be better. And we're putting the work into, to get to that point. And I'm very honored as a museum director that I can help in pushing that forward. Essentially what I'm doing today is just a big community announcement that the museum is doing a lot of fun things. We are actively trying to put our money where our mouth is, and instead of viewing history as an old dead cult thing, it is a lived experience. It is a constant reminder of all of the beauty, all of the impact, everything that is so meaningful to make our world the way it is today. I would actually love to bring attention to the fact that the Heart Association Dr. Bell, would you like to say a little bit about the Heart Association?
Flitcher Bell: This is the national Heart Association Month of Heart Awareness. As we know, this is still one of the leading causes of death of women and men in our country and today's national wear red day, so kudos to everybody who has on their red today. And just as a way of speaking out and letting people know that this is a disease, we're still fighting. And as a group, as a unit as a whole, we can continue to do what's best for our nation.
Rodneyna Hart: And it's, as Liz mentioned in the chats, it's a lot going on this month. Yes. It's Black History Month, and we're very excited that we can bring light to, to histories of people of color, but also it's a time of celebrating our Jewish brethren and having inclusive stories. And there's nothing saying that any of these stories are isolated. The overlap of queer identity, the overlap of being a woman in America, the overlap of just every part of our existence I think is something that we can highlight a specific element, but whenever we are looking broadly at who we are and how we are relevant in our communities our stories overlap.
Pepper Roussel: that they do. Even just the discussion around Heart Month and African American History Month, there are a high number of African Americans that are dying from heart related diseases. But there are a couple of questions, Gino, I want to swing it back to you that Rodneyna had actually come up with, and I've got out of these.
Before I ask y'all to put whatever questions you have in the chat or if you have any stories of being in Baton Rouge through the or of even if you weren't if you didn't live through the segregated South, if you have any stories that you may have heard and you would like to share, please drop that in the chat or send me a direct message and we will let you share. Just after we get an answer to the question of how has the work that your father did inform what you are doing contemporarily. I think, yeah. Yeah, I think that's really what my conversation was all about, right? It is the beginning and end, right? I am the embodiment of everything that he was.
Geno McLaughlin: I have been able to learn from a lot of the mistakes that were made previously. I've obviously been able to learn from all of the successes. I would not be who I am, if not for the upbringing that I was blessed to have. And I, listen I don't think that you have to have that sort of upbringing to do this work. Most people will not. But at the same time God always, When I talk about my story, I always talk about God. There are seasons for everything, right? And God finding a way to bring me back. I think I was always going to be this person ultimately. But it was about the right timing, right? And, though I didn't see that for myself I think this was my steps were always ordered and it began in the household. And he is the embodiment of everything that I hope to be. And I hope that our generation, we can do more with what was given to us.
Pepper Roussel: That leads me into a question around the Yes. The work that you do is an extension, right? For a lack of a better way to put it. The work that was begun so many years ago. Probably a harder question than expected, but help me understand how it is that there were so many strides that seemed to have been made during the time that the South was segregated. We're still attempting to make strides now that the South is desegregated, what can we do and where can where can people fit in to, how can community support to help actualize the future? That was a vision so long ago.
Geno McLaughlin: Dr. King once said he fears that he's desegregating his people into a burning house. And I think what that, what he was speaking to was, while in though there was this dream. of what was out there, right? These possibilities for black people, right? And all people if I'm going to be honest, right? At the same time, black people, we were losing a bit of a sense of self too, right? There are things that we can do for ourselves to improve our own community, right? Within the family within the neighborhoods within even supporting e economically supporting each other, economically supporting black businesses. You guys know, many of you know that I started a platform some years ago really to have a conversation with black people about the importance of the black dollar, right? And black restaurant. That really was just a. Education campaign, a conversation that I wanted to have with black people, and I wrapped it up in food. Cause I knew that would be an easy conversation. But so, I see somebody Dr. Alfreda, you put in the chat, the civil rights are perpetual. This work is perpetual. It does not stop. I remember my dad talking about when he was young, he could not go to public libraries. That blew my mind. It took me being older to even understand what that even meant. I couldn't even conceptualize what that meant to not be able to go to a library. And some of the things that we are fighting now, while, and though yes, we can go to libraries, right? But we all know that they're taking books out of schools right now. They're banning books, and so when we see that sort of lineage of oppression, right? The lineage of hate. We have to always be actively fighting against these forms of oppression, right? He could not go to the library, but yet they're still trying to take these books out of schools. And so, it's up to us as parents, again, going back to self-care and self-help. Things that we can do for ourselves is up to us as parents as communities, to make sure that we are empowering children, that we're educating them outside the constructs of even schools.
Pepper Roussel: I knew as soon as I asked that question, Alfreda Tillman Buster had it written all over me, all of our faces. She had something she needed to say. Seriously, as we start talking about the erasure of civil rights as necessary, the. The very intimation that we've done enough, we don't need to learn anymore about what has happened. See, look, you're shaking your head. I'm asking you now, tell me all about these movements down in Florida and what does that mean for and what does that mean for Louisiana and how it is that we address civil rights. And then at some point, Manny, I'm coming to you because you talk a lot about how civil rights isn't just for black and white. It is all about brown people too.
Geno McLaughlin: No, absolutely. So I'll, I guess I'll go backwards to absolutely. This work is inclusive of everyone, right? Oftentimes know, we talk about civil rights and even though black people might have been at the forefront of those sort of fights, right? Those successes that we have seen have actually benefited everyone, right? It benefited everyone. And when we look at what's happening in Florida, I don't want to curse, it is nonsensical what is happening there. But there are still those same things happening here on the ground in Louisiana, right? And so, we have to be educating ourselves. We have to remain vigilant and be willing to stand up in our own way. One thing I always tell people is choose your front line. It doesn't have to be it, your, the way that you show up does not have to be the same way that I show up. I'm going to be in the streets, I'm going to be at the board meetings, I'm going to be at the city council meetings. I'm going to be, that is my front line, right? I'm going to use social media, I'm going to use my voice and whichever way I can. But there are people, we need people to show up with their dollars. We need people to make signs. We need people to write opinion pieces. We need people that are going to go inside their own homes, right? White people hear me. Speak to your own people. Talk to your family members, right? That too is the work, right? And I don't believe that any one piece of it is greater than the other. I think it takes a collective group, a collective action that needs to happen to disrupt, to dismantle all forms of oppression and white supremacy. And so, as we are in the middle of or at the beginning of Black History month, we can use yes, education as our frontline. We can use healthcare. When I say these are all broad and general terms because we go just into healthcare, we start talking about black maternal health rates, right? We start talking about diabetes, oppression and racism is prevalent still today. It might not look the same way as it looked for my dad, or it looked the same way as it looked for his mother or his grandfather before them. But it is still very prevalent right now. I previous. Power Coalition, and we were fighting in federal court just to get a second Black majority district here in Louisiana, right? We actually won that case, and the Supreme Court saved that. And so that fight continues, right? We are fighting across every single sector, every single industry, and every single lane in America to be human. And so, I just encourage all of us, not just black people, not just brown people, but all people to show up to be as my good brother and poet Lori Donnie Rose to say be black out loud, right?
Alfreda Tillman Bester: Good morning, everybody. Let me just start off by saying to my friends, pepper and Casey I was raised Baptist in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and there is a saying in the Baptist Church, be also ready. And I know that if I come on this call, I'm likely to be called on. And thank you so very much for that. Pepper, let me just start where you started in Florida. Y'all know that Ron DeSantis doesn't believe any of the crap that he's saying, right? He is an educated bigot. Let me just be clear about that. And he is one of the most dangerous because he knows better. He knows that if a person does not know their history, then they're destined to repeat it. So, if he can erase the history and if we don't uplift that history in our homes and in our churches and in our civic organizations, and rely solely on schools to, to make sure that we know that history. Let me tell you that has never been the case in the African American community because our history has never been reflected in textbooks. We are a culture that's based on oral history, and we teach our children their history no matter what extremists do. I also want to talk about everybody being responsible for being a part. Listen, let me just be real clear. Nobody benefited more from the Civil Rights Movement than white women. nobody. And so, when we think about the work that is to be done and the extremists coming after the rights now of women, they're not just coming after the rights of black women. They're coming after the rights of all women. Force. Birth is not new. They're just going back to it, right? Because y'all forgot civil rights are perpetual. You must fight to preserve them every single day of your lives as a civil rights attorney. And one who was general counsel for the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP for 12 years. I've seen it all. I've seen people come to our meetings and stand up and make me want to take my earrings off because they're talking crazy about they're not being at, about the NAACP being obsolete. Let me tell you what is obsolete. It is when something happens, the first thing people will say is, Lord have mercy. And the second thing is to call the NAACP. That's just how it works. That is how it works. I am blessed to have so many people in my life who have been an influence. I'll start with Vernon Damer, who was an NAACP person back in Hattiesburg, who registered people to vote, who lost his life when the Klan bombed his house. And some of you probably know his son Dennis, who lives here in Baton Rouge, who was one of my friends from all the way back in Hattiesburg. They talk about Martin Luther King giving his life and Vernon Damer giving his no, they didn't give their lives were taken, they were murdered for believing and having the audacity to think that they that they deserve the same rights that were enshrined in the Constitution as every other person. Let me just end. I'll stop because y'all know you got me on the road, but all that it takes for evil to thrive is for good people to do nothing. Vernon Damer, who I quote every week on my radio show, he said that if you don't vote, you don't count. And silence is not voting. We are not a red state in Louisiana. Most of the states where they call them red states or not red states, they're non-voting states. Anytime we got 16%, 15%, 25% showing up to vote, that's your silence vote. Like your lives depend on it. People, because they literally do, did, man, I didn't know we were just getting warmed up. I did forget to mention TJ Jemison, who was my pastor for 20 years, AZ Young, who was the one of the deacons of defense. These are people that my son knew from infancy and Willis Reed, who was one of the architects, one of the architects of civil rights, I'm sorry, the bus boycott here in Baton Rouge. This is living history for me, and y'all, this work is not done. We need every one of you, every single one of you. To speak truth to power and let people know where you may now let you have them.
Pepper Roussel: But it's not just about black people, white people. There are all shades of brown in between the two. Manny, help us understand what does civil rights look like, not just for black or white people.
Manny Patole: So, one of the things that I'm doing right now with NYU, and this is Franon, who's an educator regardless, with another professor from the Caribbean doing this voice, this push, which is called critical voices. And it's talking about how to really envision environmental racial justice from the point of view that have either been experienced or victims of it. And at NYU, like any other institution, the people who are teaching it are middle-aged white men. And the books they're using are written by middle-aged white men, and they don't incorporate those voices that aren't heard. So, our book club, this semester is called pollution is Colonialism. It's by Max La Wark. I'll send you the information and stuff. If you want to join the book club, feel free to let me know. And I opened it up to the entire universe at this point. But that book looks that the idea of the differences between anti-colonialism and de colonialism. Similar to what my friend there and colleague was talking. So, like how, what is your frontline, right? You can be an activist, or you can be an advocate. And what, what sometimes doesn't get into a lot of those history lessons is as the slave trade was going on, that Columbian exchange and everything else, those folks that were being ta taken from Sub-Saharan Africa, they were still labor that was needed. Those voids were filled by people from south and southeast Asia. There's a reason why you saw a lot of Indian or South Asian presenting folks in Eastern Africa. There's a reason why had such anti South Asian points of view because those South Asians were coming in taking the work from those existing African Africans who were there because they were brought in as slaves as well. And as we start looking at all of this other stuff it becomes a bigger and bigger issue. And another thing for all those educators who are. Of color. One of the things that happens, and I was talking to some colleagues last night about that, is when you're sitting in or standing in front of a classroom and lecturing, or you're presenting at a conference the level of rigor you have to have more than your white male counterparts is often much, much higher. When presenting at a conference, it was literally called teaching at the Margins. This was on December 3rd, and it's recorded. We were, there was a person who was Professor Marissa Solomon, who was talking about the connection of waste and darkness and someone who was a realtor. This African American woman, multiple PhDs teaching at Columbia, was being criticized by this one person saying she didn't know. And we are all sitting there. This is the person who's literally written the book on this thing, and you are telling them that they're aware, the person who's had no reading or any experience in this at all. And as we go forth and we start seeing how this is, and I'm looking at all the educators here, the idea that as a teacher, either K through 12 and what's going on in Florida, when you're a person who is within higher education and you're trying to do your job and educate our youth about this stuff, and you are not being credited or seen as legitimate because you are a person of color, this goes back to exactly what everything was being said. This is an iterative process. It does not stop. And it's not just about black or white. There's every shade in between.
Adonica Duggan: We are excited to partner with Capital Park Museum this year. We may know we've annually hosted education as a civil right. It is one of those programs that was a holdover from my time at New Schools for Baton Rouge that has become a program of the Alliance since I've been here. We've moved the event to Black History Month this year, and we're going to host it at Capitol Park Museum. It is going to be on February 28th. It starts at 8:00 AM. We have an amazing panel of speakers to talk about the role of schools and communities of color. And then we have Lisa Delpit will be our keynote this year. So, super excited to have this gem talking about the role of race and education. And then we're going to do something really exciting that I think is going to be super special. We're going to take bus tours of historic old South Baton Rouge, and so we'll have two bus tours leaving from Capitol Park Museum before we come back for our evening cocktail reception. Registration's free. We are going to sell out. So, if you have people who are interested, we only have a few tickets left, you can go on our website. But we're super excited to bring this conversation to the community every year to continue to elevate the discussion because we think it's something that's so important in how we educate every child in the community. That's it. Thank
Pepper Roussel: TC, who remains my quilt buddy. Can you share with us some of the stories that came out of the quilt project and some of the really interesting things that were said about Baton Rouge and
TC: I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the quilt project and like supporting the coordination of that alongside Dr. Sharper Po on behalf of Metamorphosis. And I am at the end of my rampage ramble thing that's about to happen, going to drop a link to it so people can listen and hear it and see what took place. But some of my favorite things that came out were stories about educators, stories about people who were leading in doing civil rights work here, even before that taken on nationally, was about people like Maxine Crump who was on this call, right? In the contributions that Dialogue on Race has had and things like that. I think that what we learned a lot of is that there were stories inside of families, right? The people who marched around the names that we know, but, the people who were behind them, right? So, you see these 30,000 groups of people and you only know the first five people in the line. And so, we got stories about the individuals who were printing when they couldn't print the papers and organizing in the churches and who was going to the meetings and what conversations that they were having. And those were some really great things. And then we had a couple of people who were not who are implants like myself who are new to Baton Rouge history. And I really got to learn about the housing around Southern University and how big of a deal it was as a black person to be able to move on to that side of town at the time. And have your kids attend the schools and what that meant and how the interstate. Interrupted the progress of Scotlandville and we've been like held back. But now there's this revitalization effort that is being led by groups of many people Byron Washington, the people over at North Baton Rouge now in the Scotlandville CDC. And these were all people I had heard of, maybe not had heard of. And so, to find out that there were people who lived in the same house decades after someone else, a former teacher had lived in that house and it's been refurbished, remodeled, I think ultimately what it did was give people an opportunity to share history that, that share things that would become future history. I want to say it that way. Share things that will become the future history. This document is something that I believe we'll be able to share in schools later, right? And be able to teach children and invite children to be able to learn about their history right here in Baton Rouge. Something that's being taken away over there in Florida right now that we are actively having to fight for. But I think that those were some of the better stories, the best stories that came out. We talked about small business owners who were circling around the block and how hard it was initially for them to get loans or to get access to capital and different things like that. All things that pretty much came out and inform work that everyone on this call is doing. And so, I think that it is definitely one of those work while documents to take a look at. I will be dropping the link to it as I close. But I think that, that was the Black Quilt Project in its entirety.
Rodneyna Hart: A lot of times we think, again, I mean I know I've brought this point of history as something that is far away that happened a long time ago, but honestly right now it's lived experience of people we know. And I know every single person in this room, indiscriminate of their race, their creed, their culture, their history, their religion has had some kind of time in which they were not made to feel as part of the group. It's that inclusion element of it. And so, we are still building a more inclusive world, but we're actively making this happen.
Casey Phillips: Wow. Thank you all for sharing today all the way across the board every single thing. Thank y'all so much. And I thank everybody can say that. You learned a little bit, you filled up, and Dr. Baster is amazing and everybody on here is so thank you, Dr. Baster. I appreciate you. I want to make sure and give Gino space to every once in a while when it's in a group call everyone tries to be respectful of the space that they're in. And I appreciate that.
Geno McLaughlin: I actually haven't been on the call in a while. I've been meaning to jump on, but life is busy and fast. What I will say is that there are a lot of things that are happening is I would always encourage you guys to get involved. So just as a call to action get involved, there are a lot of different things that you can jump in on that are happening right now. But to keep it 30,000 feet, what I will say is that black history is happening every day. And so, it's not just something of the past. There are people that need your resources, that need your support. Sometimes that support is actually just a kind word. It is really difficult to come into spaces where you know, that oftentimes your perspective is not wanted. And even amongst black people sometimes I spend more time fighting black people to help black people, right? Because of the ways that you have to show up, right? And so, allowing grace for people to fight these fights and make mistakes, We are evolving in front of your eyes and learning and failing and triumphing. But this too is black history. And again, just encouraging everyone to show up in whatever way that you can choose your frontline. But also remember that we do have people that are fighting every single day. And it looks like a lot of different ways, but they need your support too, because we are all making black history in the now as well.
Casey Phillips: I'm going to build on Gino's words with two things. The first one is towards you. We're all fighting fight in a different way. Rodneyna has navigated into institutions and changing perceptions and opening doors. That most humans don't have the patience to be able to do. And it's been very strategic. And so, I want to make sure and publicly make sure and acknowledge the work like you are doing and that Adonica is doing inside of systems, inside of policies, inside of institutions and the work that Metro Mortis is doing that brings the voices from the community that are always shut out of the backroom doors, right into the conference rooms of the shiny buildings right. And into the policymakers. And I just want to make sure and celebrate that because that is part of celebration. The work is hard. We have to celebrate the warriors who are on that and say those kind words. And I would be remiss if I didn't ask Pat LeDuff. Pat LeDuff, can you come off on mute so we can hear your voice.
Pat LeDuff: Good morning. I would just like to say to Gino, thank you for the truth. And then Dr. Bester Thank you. I do remember when we went to a little ice cream stand and we ordered hamburgers on the front of the building and uh, we were all starving coming out of Mississippi. And when it got ready, we went to the window and the guy said you can't take it from this window. You have to go to the back. And I was about 12. And my dad said, absolutely not. And we got in the truck and drove off. And many stories like that. So, it's not that long ago. I'll be 63 next week. And that is the history of now, right? Those things are still happening which is why it's so hard to get things to happen in Scotlandville. It's no secret. When you do what's right and you just do what's right, it happens. And but choose your front line. It is really good. We have everything we need to make things happen in Baton Rouge, and I just say to people, stop talking about it and be about it. It's not that hard guys, but you have to be willing to sacrifice, put yourself in a position financially where you can stand up for what's right without going broke. Okay, we can do this, we can do this, right? We just have to not be afraid of losing our job and losing our friendship, and that I really don't care about either one. So, I need more folk that want to stand up and do what's right. Have a good day.
Casey Phillips: Just always every time I see you, even in the virtual space, I am just reminded of why we friends and then I love you so much, bat led and in advance. We're we don't have to go into the long form song but I would like to put our hands in the air and say, happy birthday to you Pad la duff, and thanks. It's God Gaia, or the universe that you believe in. You have been made possible in our city for the decades and the work that you and Dr. Bell and Dr. Bester and you know, Mary Bergeron and everyone who's been doing that work for decades before some of us even had a clue that the work needed to be done. It's not just 30 years. October will be 30 years. 30 years. Thank y'all so much for that. Thank y'all so much for that. And the last thank you is to Pepper, right? Yes. Who's overseas right now could absolutely be kicked back in relaxing and enjoying the culture of an entirely different continent but still here, right? So, Pepper, thank you for being here and for pulling together everything together. Today we'd like to move towards community announcements and Pepper and Rodneyna. Thank y'all so much for putting today together and for all of y'all participating.