Shortly after we moved to York, I learned that there had been race riots and rebellions here in the summer of 1969. "So," I thought in 2015, "the 50th anniversary is coming up, and there's almost enough time to plan something appropriate to do!"
Fast forward 4 years, and the 50th anniversary of the race riots/revolts/rebellions is fast approaching. I have been pushing behind the scenes to get people to actually engage with the question of how to appropriately commemorate the event(s).
York XL is helping establish plantings around the two benches that were erected to honor the two people who died one fateful weekend in July, 1969, on a hill in a city park overlooking the places where they were each shot, on different days. (One a young white cop in a supposedly armored car, the other a young black mother, in a car that was unfortunately similar to a car that had previously threatened a heavily armed white gang.) We also hope to erect an historical plaque on the site near the benches, which currently only bear their names and none of their history.
York College is running a series of events highlighting Hidden Figures in York's history, which includes a talk by Dr. Peter Levy next month.
A huge Community project called 10,000 Acts of Kindness is hoping to set a World Record for largest community dinner on June 30th, 2019. ... and I'm sure more will be done.
A few of us are also collecting Oral histories, and applying for grants to better record and preserve this history.
A couple years ago, when we were discussing names for this project, I settled on York Reflections, and established a domain name, YorkReflections.org. I just updated the page for the first time in years.
Trying to get to know the local community well enough to give the right nudges to a project like this in just 4 years has been a (probably hopeless) push. Some of the proposed events have gotten a firm thumbs-down from the community and been canceled. Different organizations are taking different approaches, and though they have come together to discuss ideas and issues, the collaborative I was hoping to build hasn't actually coalesced. Still, things are happening, so I thought I would at least post a public record of things I think are related on the website.
So, that's a thing.
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