A photo of ECHO museum.

Panel discussion: Is Race Real?, music and more to complement the current traveling exhibit, RACE: Are We So Different?

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, is pleased to offer the third of four special $2 Saturdays with the Community Conversation Series on Saturday, December 1, 2012.

“These special Saturdays have been powerful learning experience for the people in attendance. Thoughtful conversations with a collective desire to move forward in a positive way seem to be the overarching sentiment. We believe our guests leave ECHO with a renewed sense of commitment to being better community members and perhaps seeing things through a different lens”, said Molly Loomis, ECHO Director of Education.


  • ·         10:00 a.m.  Doors open
  • ·         11:00 a.m. Workshop: Talking about race with your family with Denise Dunbar
  • ·         12:30 p.m. Performance: Africa Jamono-West African Drumming & Dance
  • ·         2:00  p.m. Community Conversation Panel Discussion: Is Race Real?
  • ·         3:30 p.m. Spoken Word Musical Collaboration with Rajnii Eddins
  • ·         5:00 p.m. Doors Close


11:00 a.m. Workshop: Talking About Race with Your Family: Join Dr. Denise Dunbar and the Reading to End Racism program to learn how to use storybooks to support conversations about race. This workshop will demonstrate ways that children and families can use literature and personal stories to connect people across diverse backgrounds and counter racism in our daily lives. Come read a story, meet new friends, and learn about books to help talk about race with children.

12:30 p.m. Africa Jamono, West African Drumming & Dance: Experience the culture of West Africa through the drumming rhythms and sounds of Senegal, Mali, Ghana & Mauritania. Africa Jamono works to raise awareness of West African culture through music, dance, and cultural art display.

2:00 p.m. Community Conversation: Is Race Real?: In the past, science supported theories of race based on external, physical traits.  Modern genetics has reversed that idea, demonstrating that the idea of race is not useful and, as far as science is concerned, doesn’t actually exist. Personal, social and cultural experiences show us that race is, in fact a reality that we deal with every day.  What is the impact of scientific theory stating that races doesn’t actually exist for personal identity… social norms…cultural institutions? Does it matter if science says race is real or not? Either way, what are the implications? JW Wiley, Tomas Sanchez, Sherwood Smith, John Burke will explore the ideas underlying the question, ‘Is race real?’

3:30 p.m. Spoken Word Musical Collaboration with Rajnii Eddins: Join Rajnii Eddins, Burlington poet, singer, hip hop artist and educator, in a performance inspired by the Race exhibit to dispel false notions of race, bridge community and affirm our common humanity through spoken word hip hop and live music. In his work performing across the U.S. and inspiring musical collaboration with youth, Rajnii works to inspire honest dialogue and embrace our collective histories so that sincere relationships and appreciation of all people’s contributions are realized. 

The December 1 event is the third of four community conversations scheduled over the course of this exhibit run. The final Community Conversation event will be January 12 with $2 admission on this last day as well.

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