Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism

The preview performance of The Diary of Anne Frank in partnership with Syracuse Stage is a fundraiser for Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism, a program of Interfaith Works of CNY. Suggested donation for tickets in support of the work of CWD is $25 to $150 per person, as your resources allow. A limited number of tickets are available this year, so register early.

For more information or to reserve tickets contact Maquisha Mullins, 449-3552 ext. 119 or e-mail cwd1@interfaithworkscny.org.

About the two honorees:

Geneva Hayden, Community Organizer

2009 Racial Justice Lifetime Achievement Award

In 1994, Geneva Hayden retired from her 25 year career as a teaching assistant at Danforth School. "What's next?" she thought, and launched her second "career" as a community organizer. She first developed CURN, a grassroots community action organization to respond to the needs of residents of the Midland Avenue, Furman Avenue, and Kennedy Street. Seeing children without the needed adult supports, she started driving children to school when the parents failed to do so. She met with the young men who hung on the street corner, plopping her lawn chair in their midst, and listening to their despair about finding a summer job. A summer car wash grew in her driveway, the youngsters using her hose and buckets to make some pocket money for the summer. Next, she opened her living room to community children, building a free library and after school program.

As the word spread, her work spread, including the creation of Kwanzaa Park in an abandoned lot across from her home. This park became a focal point of pride for the neighborhood and included a community garden where each child could have a little bed of vegetables and flowers, while learning about nature, and creating beauty in the neighborhood. "Beauty strengthens and inspires," says Geneva. After participating in the Central New York Community Foundation's Neighborhood Leadership Training, she learned about power dynamics, and "became empowered," building a sitting area with a mural fence through her grant from them.

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