Residents & Staff Discuss ‘How To Be An Antiracist’

By Kendal at Hanover Resident Barbara Freedman

In early August 2020, members of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Kendal at Hanover began to think about ways to address the increasing concerns and challenges generated by the nationwide Black Lives Matter movement. It felt important to open avenues of conversation and find ways to help people at Kendal at Hanover read and learn more about racism.

There were several steps to the process. A reading list was developed and posted on the resident website. A list of movies was created and has been passed on to the residents in charge of procuring films and shared with the staff at Kendal at Hanover. Lastly, and most importantly, the committee wanted to provide an opportunity for the community to read a current book about race and racism and then discuss what they had read.

How To Be An Antiracist book cover

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee chose Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How To Be An Antiracist.” From the front of the book jacket comes this quote: “Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.”

On March 18,15 members of the Kendal at Hanover community talked for an hour on Zoom about what they had read and what they had learned. It was a relaxed discussion that touched on many of the themes in Kendi’s book.

There is genuine concern and interest in the community around how our upbringing informs our ideas and behaviors, how the aging process has helped us be better listeners and think more clearly about our own prejudices, and the importance of continuing the conversation. This may have been the first such discussion by a Kendal affiliate, but it is hopefully only the beginning!