Glynwood Organization and TEDx Manhattan have issued an apology and we a joint statement. I have been overwhelmed with the responses, love, support and the honest, hard discussions that presented themselves here. When Karen, with no input from me decided to withdraw and stand in solidarity I was blown away and I think Glynwood was as well. It was a small but important opportunity to really discuss these themes that have come up time and time again regarding class, race and power in doing this work. The leadership at the Glynwood Organization (the overarching organization for the Glynwood Institute) stepped up as well. With the leadership and feedback of LaDonna Redmond we were able to have a REAL, HONEST, HARD conversation about this incidence and the work that needs to come out of it. We were invited back to speak. We made the decision not to, Karen and I made that decision TOGETHER. We also made the decision to engage from a space of understanding, compassion and reconciliation. The work we do in our communities can be traumatic but really facing your privilege can be messy and murky as well. I am pleased that Glynwood is stepping up to take the steps to confront that, to move forward in having a deeper understanding of the many themes that played out in the COMFOOD listserve and the larger community. We will still be having our event on February 16th which we will be live streaming on the web. Karen will be our fabulous keynote speaker and Kathleen Frith ED of Glynwood Organization (not Glynwood Insitute) will be making an appearance to have this very conversation with our folks. My hope is that this passion, momentum and enthusiasm will continue to be harnessed to do our work in our communities and continue to see those communities as the best resources we have. That we continue to nurture each other, validate our own narratives and find ways in which to do them that casts off the burden of doing things "in opposition to" rather than "inspired by".
This has been an amazing learning experience for me. Our words and actions have power, learning to move forward and on a personal level coming to understand that "I and we are enough", always. It has been a lesson in humility and understanding and in love. My great love for the people who do this work and love their communities. I want to personally thank LaDonna and Karen and Beatriz and my mentor for the support they offered to me and for their love of the work we all CHOOSE to do. I want to thank everyone here who chose to have this conversation no matter what their opinions were. Healing comes with facing those uncomfortable truths, stepping outside of our own realities and understanding that our own realities aren't universal. I appreciate Kathleen's willingness to do that when the larger community called for accountability.
Today, we release a joint statement and continue those conversations and I look forward to continuing to build in my community at home and the larger food community here. Here is that statement:
We, Tanya Fields (Director, The BLK ProjeK), Kathleen Frith (President, Glynwood) and Diane Hatz (Co-Founder and Director of the Glynwood Institute) are coming together today in an act of reconciliation and healing, and with a shared determination to progress our work toward securing a healthy food future for all.
The Glynwood Institute, and TEDx Manhattan Organizer Diane Hatz, deeply regret uninviting Tanya Fields as a speaker to “Changing the Way We Eat.” The consequences of and responses to this action have provided a powerful message about how fundamental issues of race, representation, cultural divide and fear affect our work and must be addressed, respectfully and honestly. The conversations have begun in earnest and we are committed to working together, and with our colleagues, to use this moment as an opportunity for critical learning and partnership. We are determined to harness the power and commitment that was so clearly expressed and use it as fuel for positive solutions as we move forward.
It is with this spirit that, on February 16th, two events will take place: Not Just Talk: Food in the South Bronx and TEDx Manhattan. LaDonna Redmond, who has served as a facilitator and mediator through this situation, will speak at TEDx and Kathleen Frith will make remarks at the “Food in the South Bronx” event. Our shared goal is to create two successful forums that, together, move us toward a healthier, more just food system. We encourage you to attend either event to engage in the conversation and join us in the intention of healing and reconciliation.
Tanya Fields, Kathleen Frith and Diane Hatz
Again, thank you all so much and I really do invite you to get in touch with me at ed(at)theblkprojek(dot)org should you have any clarifying questions, suggestions regarding our event or advice about how we work together moving forward.