Penfield schools brings discussion of racism to Fisher

By Peggy Hogan-Rao, Managing Editor

Four Rochester area schools came together to bring a documentary on racism to St. John Fisher.

The documentary “I’m not racist…Am I?” was presented by Penfield Central Schools and St. John Fisher College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs & Diversity in Basil 135 at 2 p.m. on Monday Jan. 23.

The documentary highlights the different aspects of racism from the point of view of twelve students in New York City.

Dr. Thomas Putnam, Superintendent of Schools for Penfield Central School District, explains who was sponsoring this event, “Four local schools: Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport and West Irondequoit partnered together to bring this documentary to our communities, and we partnered happily with St. John Fisher.”

Four other members of Penfield Schools and Putnam facilitated a discussion after the showing of the film, although the other school districts would have came to Fisher if that was necessary. Yantee Slobert, Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs at St. John Fisher, was eager to bring this documentary to Fisher.

“Racism is not something we often talk about and discuss, but is something our office deals with everyday. We want to make sure everyone feels comfortable if they want to talk about it so we can progress together as a community.”

Putnam and Slobert’s goal is to make the conversation about racism not as uncomfortable.

Putnam said, “I hope they (students) are willing to hear a different side of how they viewed things or how they grew up.”

Amanda Plato, a sophomore, does not regret coming to see this documentary.

“I thought the topic of the film was interesting. Like it’s not really talked about a lot, and I think it is something that does need to be talked about.”

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