This event is part of One Book, One Watertown.
Sampling at 6:30 p.m. (ticket required)
Discussion begins at 7 p.m. (no ticket required)
People who purchase tickets for the tasting will have earlier access to the room and seating for the panel discussion. Food will not be available for people who come for the panel without having purchased a ticket.
First, we’ll gather together to sample some of the foods of Ghana from Safari African Restaurant. Tickets are required for the tasting. In the true spirit of community, tickets for the tasting will be ‘pay what you can,’ and are available at the Circulation desk.
Then the Reverend Mark Harris will moderate a panel discussion on race in our community. The panel discussion is open to all.
- Mel Poindexter - As a member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, Melvin Poindexter is engaged in many statewide outreach efforts to increase Democratic Party access to growing communities of diversity. He serves as the Affirmative Action and Outreach Officer for the Watertown Democratic Town Committee. He was a member of former State Treasurer Steve Grossman's Diversity Council from 2010 to 2014, and a former Vice President of the NAACP, Brockton chapter. He currently serves on the board of Baystate Stonewall Democrats, and was recently elected as a member of the Democratic National Committee.
- Reg Gibson - Longtime Watertown resident Reginald Gibson is retired from a distinguished career in the printing industry. He served as the first African-American president of the Boston Club of Printing House Craftsmen, and was appointed by the governor to the Massachusetts Apprenticeship Council. Gibson serves on the board of the Boston Urban Youth Foundation and has been involved with a variety of local organizations, including World in Watertown.
- Tristan Lawson - Tristan came to the US for school at the age of 19. After toiling in academia for seemingly ages, he landed his first job as a research assistant in a Harvard lab in 2011 and relocated to Watertown where he has lived ever since. Outside of work and home, you are most likely to see him mingling with friends at First Parish Watertown. In the warmer months he is often busy looking for deals at Home Depot's Garden Center, tending to his numerous garden plots, or tearing up another friend's lawn and planting even more edibles. After sufficient motivation he also plays acoustic guitar, usually to a one-person audience. He still struggles to balance the relative progressiveness of New England with its overly long winters and attempts to survive the latter through well timed trips to tropical locations. He currently lives in Watertown's East End with his wife Alyssa and a multitude of pet composting worms.
- Rebecca Shay Hyland - Rebecca was born in San Antonio, Texas, to a 16-year-old Mexican American mother and a 33-year-old African American father with two children already. Her parents, who are both Caucasian, adopted her when I was 3 1/2 weeks old, while living in Watertown. She moved to Boston following graduation from Watertown High School, but she returned when her daughter was of age to go to kindergarten. Her daughter currently attends Watertown Middle School.
- Caroline Bays - Caroline Bays has been actively working on racial justice issues for several years. After reading Michelle Alexander's book The New Jim Crow, she led the group, Progressive Watertown, in it's effort to produce a series of seminars in Watertown on Mass Incarceration in America, exploring national, state, and local issues on race. She has been an active member of the Jobs Not Jails coalition to reform criminal justice in Massachusetts. Most recently she has been involved in the new local group Black Lives Matter in Watertown.
- Eric Yakuze - Eric was born in Uganda. At the age of twelve, he moved to Watertown with his family. Eric attended Watertown high school and graduated in 2010. Eric also attended college in the city of Boston. Eric currently resides in Watertown and works in Boston.
Moderator: Mark Harris - Mark W. Harris is in his twentieth year as minister of the First Parish of Watertown, Unitarian Universalist. He has been active in the community especially as a founder of both the World in Watertown, and the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast, of which he was chair for thirteen years. He also is an Adjunct Professor at Harvard Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological School. He is interested in the intersection of race and class, and has written a book called Elite: Uncovering Classism in Unitarian Universalist History.