A Wednesday Word from the Director: Change Begins With A Conversation

Conversations with self

Conversations with a loved one

Difficult conversation

A Community Conversation: Hate Crime & Frederick Douglass

“The most powerful conversation I’ve witness at 540 this year”

Is how I described last night’s standing room only discussion at 540WMain Communiversity An outpouring of over 50 community members and leaders from across the City made me truly understand the power of conversation to elicit change. This conversation was the result of an Open Letter I submitted to the president of St. John Fisher College in response to two of its students desecrating a Frederick Douglass statue in Rochester. 

All change begins with a conversation. And last night’s conversation was full of power, grace, humility, anger, fear, courage, frustration, joy, love, and so much more that words can never quite fully articulate.

I am beyond humbled by everyone who contributed to respectful, encouraging, and change making discussion. For those that stood back, sat on the floor and used their bodies to listen, learn and let black voices take the floor to express the actions they wish to see real systemic change.

I’ll admit I was at first scared to send an open letter to St. John Fisher College. I felt small and feared jumping into a big sea of wish I feel incompetent and unequipped to enter. I was even more fearful, shaking even; to create a forum and space to allow the community a chance to express their voice. Courage emboldened me to move forward, share my thoughts, use my voice and share a platform with every one that feel voiceless and demeaned every single day.

For those that attended and those that didn’t do not let the conversation die. Do not be scared of using your voice and your body to stand in and stand up for justice. Conversations are just the beginning. The real work happens long after we all go home to our families, homes, and places of privilege.

All change begins with a conversation. Be the change.

Read more about last night via 13 WHAM ABC

^^ Attend the replacement statute unveiling tomorrow
Thursday December 20 // 1pm // Alexander and Tracy St.

Understand that this “new” statue is not a replacement but a fill in. Over $15,000 + is needed to replace what was desecrated. What will you do to ensure this happens?

Year End Reflection

This year has been all about conversations about sustainability; both personal and professional and for the growth of 540WMain. So many conversations. Conversations in our community room, conversations in the community. Powerful conversations. Conversation about forgiveness and humility and privilege. Each and every one has been the spark to small and large changes. I am forever humbled and grateful for the platform to engage and create safe space for myself and the community to have conversations that spark change.  At its core this is really what 540WMain is all about. I cannot wait to share more of my year end reflections with you next week as well as next years’ theme.

Donate to 540WMain 

And I can’t let you finish without a conversation about donating to 540WMain. As a grassroots non-profit organization we quite literally grow based on th e strength of our individual community and corporate donors. Any amount big or smalls helps us maintain our spaces, pay our interns and part time- local staff, and develop programs and events that enrich the community,

Donate via rally.org/540WMain

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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