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Celebrating 26 Years
1989 - 2015
Center for the Healing of Racism
Internalize Oneness
Send us your
email address!
To save on postal costs, we no
longer routinely mail the
newsletter to members. Please
send us your email addresses
to receive the newsletter. Send
addresses to [email protected]
or [email protected].
“The piano keys are
black and white but
they sound like a
million colors in your
— Maria Cristina Mena,
The Collected Stories
of Maria Cristina Mena
May - Aug. 2015
Director's Column
Houston Community College System
seeks to provide equal educational
opportunities without regard to race,
color, religion, national origin, sex, age,
or disability.
Internalize Oneness
This year so far has been a defining
time in my life and for Center’s work
Black woman
was invisible
By Cherry Steinwender
By Enid McNiece
This year will go down as a defining time in my life and in the
work of the Center for the Healing of Racism. The events that
happened only half way through the year validated for me the
knowledge that our 26-year journey has not been in vain.
For too long, too many in the LGBTQ community have suffered
the cruelest oppression because of gender identity. The recent United
States Supreme Court decision to recognize marriage equality is but
one issue that provides a measure of relief to them. There remain other
ways members of the community can be oppressed and discriminated
against. These issues require more education and awareness to be
understood and fought. I’ve appreciated members of the LGBTQ
community for sharing their experiences of oppression and working
and standing with us against racism.
I needed to hear news media people using the word RACISM to
offset all of the times I heard people deny that racism is still a large
On April 19, 1995, 20
years ago, the Oklahoma
City bombing occurred and
coincidentally that evening
was the first session of
Dialogue: Racism co-hosted
by the Methodist Church
and Episcopal Christ
Church Cathedral.
The media was there and
gave the first lesson in
racism (if they were paying
attention). As the two cofacilitators, Cherry Steinwender, a Black woman,
and Barbara Hacker, a
White woman, stood side
by side, the reporter pointed
the mic and addressed all
questions to Barbara. Each
time, Barbara redirected the
the question to Cherry. Both
women recognized that for
this reporter, Cherry was
invisible as a spokesperson.
A further lesson in preconceived ideas based on
race took place in the days
ahead. The initial rumors
were all about a "Middle
Eastern looking man" in the
area about that time, but the
perpetrator turned out to be
a not so nice home-grown
white man, supposedly
acting in retaliation for the
invasion of the Branch
Davidian compound near
Waco two years before.
It’s important to share our
memories as an organization. That event with Cherry
and Barbara solidifide a 20year friendship.
Continued on page 2
How to reach us 21st Juneteenth Ally Award luncheon
honors News 26, Klineberg and Kendall
Phone or fax:
[email protected]
Web site:
P.O. Box 27327
Houston, TX 77227
Volume 22, Number 2
By Judith Joseph-Jenkin
Just in case you missed the
Ally Award luncheon, let me tell
you just what you missed!
As we gathered, we enjoyed
the beautiful voice and music
from Marcy Rae Jolosky, also
known as Sweet Momma Cotton.
The beautiful melodies mixed
nicely with the wonderful smell
of barbecue, prepared once again
by James Lacy.
As the air conditioner began
to reduce the humidity in the
room, it was replaced with the
genuine warmth of fellowship.
Such an awesome sight, a room
full of diversity, all gathered to
celebrate Juneteenth, the oldest
celebration of the Emancipation
of slavery.
The very graceful Damali
Keith of Fox News 26 served as
our moderator and kept us on
track. FOX 26 Vice President and
General Manager, D'Artagnan
Bebel accepted the Ally Award
for Fox News for the story on
The New Face of America.
The next award was presented to Dr. Stephen Klineberg who
reminded us that Houston is what
all of America will look like in
the future.
Our third recipient, Dr.
Frances Kendall, challenged us
to connect with one another,
exchange information, keep in
touch, and commit to being
involved in changing the effects
Continued on page 3
Center for the Healing of Racism
Published three times
a year by the
Center for the
of Racism
P.O.Box 27327
Houston, Tx 77227
Phone 713-520-8226
© 2015 Center for the
Healing of Racism
Newsletter Team:
Robert C. Newberry
Newberry Communications
Copy editor
Tricia McFarlin
Printing and Circulation
Volunteer Staff
Members of the Center
for the Healing of Racism
Executive Director:
Cherry Steinwender
To facilitate the healing of
racism through education
and dialogue in a safe and
supportive environment, in
order to empower individuals and transform
May./Aug. 2015
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Director's Column
Year has been defining moment in life
Continued from page 1
part of the landscape of America
and not a thing of the past. I
needed to see and hear newspaper
articles, TV footage, online
articles and blogs using the word
RACISM, calling it what it is to
know that I was not crazy to give
my life to such a noble cause. I
know all of the activists that I
have hooked my wagon to
needed this year as well. For
many of us, we have waited for
this defining moment in time
when we can stop having to
convince people of this country’s
reality and just go about
conducting the work.
I needed to see the thousands
of White Americans take to the
street calling for the removal of
the Confederate flag as a symbol
of hate. In 1997, when I
was teaching a class at Rice
University, the students brought
up the topic of that flag. It was
clear to me that some wanted to
hold onto the flag as a symbol of
Southern pride. I could give
them that, but at the same time I
put forth an argument for them to
ponder. If that flag is a symbol of
pride, why is it that at every
march, demonstration or rally
conducted by the KKK, Nazis,
Aryan Nation, or any of the other
hundreds of hate groups with
Our hearts and prayers go out to the
people killed in South Carolina. And what
an example set for this country by many in
the black community — teaching us all
about forgiveness.
names too many to recall, I never
once saw any White person show
up and protest the use of the
Confederate flag being used for
the hate.
I have never seen
protests calling on the removal of
the flag from the hands of hateful
people letting them know this
flag in not a symbol of hate but
rather Southern pride. Many of
the demonstrations happened not
only in the South but even in the
heartland of this country, and still
that flag waved.
I concluded that until I saw
these up-holders of Southern
pride stand up and protest its use
as a symbol of racist division, I
will forever see that flag as a
symbol of HATE.
Such was the cry across the land
this year that took me back to the
sixties and gave me hope that
change is on the way..
I lived through the sixties. I
watched as thousands demon-
strated, went to jail, and be
killed for justice. I find myself
wanting this country to return to
a time when justice really
mattered and people were
willing to put life and limb on
the line to achieve that justice.
I really need to see more
people in Houston involved in
the healing racism work by rededicating their level of
commitment to the Center.
Frances E. Kendall, one of the
recipients of the 2015, Ally
Award, conducted an exercise
with those attending the
banquet. She asked the people
at each table to discuss and
write down something they will
do to help this country in the
fight against racism in the years
or days to come.
These answers are a vital
part of the exercise President
Obama proclaimed on the
Edmund Pettis Bridge, March
2015, “The work is not done.”
Book on being a black man in America goes straight to heart of national conversation
Have you gotten around to filling
out your membership for 2015?
If not, please take the time to do
so. The work must go on!
Has your address changed?
If it has, please notify us so
your Center correspondence
can be timely delivered!
Also, send us your e-mail
address to receive your
Dialogue newsletter in your
email in-box.
From the New York Times:
Between the World and Me, TaNehisi Coates’s meditation on
being a black man in America,
has had an almost frictionless
glide straight to the heart of the
national conversation. The
book’s publication was moved up
from September after the
shootings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C. Author
To n i M o r r i s o n c a l l e d t h e
book “essential reading,” and its
author heir to James Baldwin.
Said Morrison: "....A murmur
of recognition passed through the
crowd when Mr. Coates read a
passage from the book
about Prince Jones, a friend from
his days at Howard University,
who was shot to death by a
police officer in Virginia in 2000,
a killing he linked to the more
recent deaths of Freddie Gray,
Michael Brown, Eric Garner and
other unarmed black men during
encounters with the police.
There was a thunderous ovation
when he spoke of the bodily
fear that lies at the heart of the
daily lived experience of
racism, and ‘the mind-trick’
people play by saying that the
racism isn’t real....In a brief talk
to a group of students from a
local school before the reading,
he had put it more bluntly.
Understanding how an unjust
situation came about "is deeply
therapeutic," he told them. ‘It
will keep you from going
crazy….’ ”
Center for the Healing of Racism
May./Aug. 2015
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Junteenth Ally Award
News 26, Stephen Klineberg, Frances Kendall accept awards at 21st luncheon
Continued from page 1
of racism.
Mr. Kelton Sam, a native of
Galveston, Texas, gave us the
history of Juneteenth and
reminded us of the continued
horrific treatment of Black folks
under Jim Crow. Although there
was a hint of sadness as we
were all reflecting on the recent
slaying of our brothers and
sisters in South Carolina, we
were inspired by the work of
our award recipients.
And how appropriate was
the theme: Remembering Selma:
“The race is not yet won.”
As our Executive Director,
Cherry Steinwender, gave the
closing remarks, we were
strengthened in spirit by her
tireless efforts and her ability to
continue working even after
receiving racist threats.
Make plans to attend next year
and bring your family and
Paul Kivel, social justice edu-
Sweet Momma Cotton
cator, activist, and writer who
has been an innovative leader in
violence prevention,
said, “Sometimes change comes
not in the first round, but at the
second, third or fourth. Change
starts with one person
questioning, challenging,
speaking up and doing
something to make a difference.
We c a n e a c h m a k e a
difference . . . because each of
us is already part of the
community where racism exists
and thrives.”
Martin Luther King Day, 2015
By Margaret Wheeler, MD
Reprinted with permission
For this Martin Luther King Jr.
Day, in the 50th anniversary year
of the Voting Rights Act and the
Selma to Montgomery March, it
is hard not to draw comparisons
between those days and ours.
The Selma March was partly
inspired by the death of Jimmie
Lee Jackson, an unarmed young
black man, killed by an Alabama
trooper after marching with his
mother and grandfather in an
earlier demonstration.
King’s comments at Jackson’s
funeral a few days before the
Selma march still resonate today.
Jackson, he said, had been
"murdered by the brutality of
every sheriff who practices
lawlessness in the name of law."
Today people all over the nation
are again taking to the streets in
response to the lawless police
killings of black men and boys
and the failure to criminally
prosecute those who killed them.
“Black Lives Matter” and
“Racism kills” are slogans
chanted and written on placards
as people march and protest the
racism displayed in the police
killings of Michael Brown, Eric
Garner and Tamir Rice.
The increased rate at which
blacks are killed by police
compared to whites in America
is a matter of both historical and
public health record. Evidence
that racism drives health inequity
among historically underserved
populations is equally abundant.
Indeed, Eric Garner may not
have died from the police chokehold if his health had not already
been undermined by diseases
that disproportionately sicken
poor and minority people:
asthma, obesity, hypertension
and cardiovascular disease. In
Tamir Rice’s case, the failure of
the police to provide first aid to
the boy they had shot is as
shocking as the shooting of a 12year-old with a pellet gun (in an
open-carry state) in the first
place. Whether it is inequity in
police brutality and criminal
sentencing or decreased access to
first aid, opportunity, education
and health care, it is undeniable
that racism undermines health.
At the end of the Selma March,
Dr. King rallied people to pursue
the realization of the American
dream. He exhorted people to
“march on the ballot boxes until
race-baiters disappear from the
political arena;”
“march on poverty until no
American parent has to skip a
meal so their children may eat;”
“march on segregated housing
until every ghetto or social and
economic depression dissolves;”
and to “march on segregated
schools until every vestige of
segregated and inferior education becomes a thing of the past,
and Negroes and whites study
side-by-side in the sociallyhealing context of the
If we review this litany of
hope 50 years on, it seems that
the arc of justice is longer and
less intensely curved than we
might have hoped.
Voting: The Selma March, was
first and foremost a
demonstration in support of
federal legislation to overturn
laws that made it virtually
impossible for AfricanAmericans to vote in the South.
The Supreme Court in 2013
effectively struck down the heart
of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
releasing nine states, mostly in
the South, to change their
election laws without advance
federal approval. Another ruling,
the 2010 Citizen’s United
decision placed campaign
contributions into the category of
speech, making it more difficult
to regulate campaign
financing. A recent study by
the Brennan Center for Justice
at New York University School
of Law this month reveals that
spending on political campaigns by outside groups of
very rich, unidentified
contributors doubled in the
2014 Senate elections.
Pharmaceutical and healthcare
lobbyists also spent more than
any other sector to influence
legislation and contributed
heavily to political campaigns
as well.
Poverty: A recent Pew
Research Center study shows
that income inequality is
increasing and is the widest on
record. America’s upperincome families have a median
net worth about 70 times that of
the country’s lower-income
families. This wealth gap also
tracks along racial and ethnic
lines. According to Oxfam, in
2014, the richest 1 percent of
people in the world owned 48
percent of global wealth. The
other 52 percent of wealth was
owned by the remaining 99
percent of adults. Even this 52
Continued on page 6
Center for the Healing of Racism
May./Aug. 2015
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Let’s Review
Acknowledging painful realities leads to healing, author finds
By Barbara Hacker
It has been a long time since
a book has moved me to read
from cover to cover in one day,
but such was the case with My
Grandfather Would Have Shot
Me, by Jennifer Teege and
Nikola Sellmair, subtitled A
Black Woman Discovers Her
Family's Nazi Past (New York:
The Experiment, 2015). I have
always considered the things
participants in Dialogue:
Racism shared from their life
experience to be treasured gifts
that can lead the listener to a
deeper understanding of the
reality experienced by diverse
members of our human family.
The same can be experienced
by reading the stories of those
who courageously share their
reality in written form. Such is
the case with Jennifer Teege in
what for her is a memoir. Her
co-author is a journalist who
artfully interweaves material
from her interviews with people
in Jennifer's life as well as
historical material, all of which
lends context to the memoir.
The book was originally
published in German as Jennifer
is of GermanN i g e r i a n
ancestry. As a
four-week old,
she was placed
in an orphanage to be cared
for by nuns
though she
continued to
see her birth
mother and
from time to
time. At three,
she went to
live with a
foster family
and was adopted by them at age seven. The
white German adoptive parents
and their two sons provided love
and nurturance, but she always
felt different and struggled with
recurring depression.
At 38 and married with
children of her own, she found
herself standing in the stacks of
her public library searching in
the psychology section for
something to help with her
depression, when she looked at a
volume called I Have to Love My
Father Don't I? On the cover
was a photo of her birth mother
and her name, Monika Goeth.
Inside she finds photos of her
grandmother and learns that her
grandfather was Amon Goeth,
the Commandant of the Plaszow
Concentration Camp in Poland.
She, like many, remembered
him from the movie Schindler's
List. Known as "the butcher of
Plaszow," he was executed for
crimes against humanity in 1946.
Little did she know, this
discovery would prove to be the
key to her depression, even as it
initially plunged her deeper into
it. A strong and courageous
person, she began a journey,
which we know to be true—the
way to deal with this pain is not
to bury it, but to feel it fully,
examine and understand it.
Reading her account of this
v e r y p e r s o n a l j o u r n e y, I
recognized her discovery of
principles which we have
discovered to be key to the
healing process.
racism or the racism of Nazi
Germany can lead to selfhatred.
Jennifer comes to
recognize this mechanism of
racism and she learns to move
past it, saying, "All this hatred
leads to nothing." She adds,
"Constant self-flagellation and
self-damnation will eventually
make a person ill—and this
kind of suffering over one's
identity and family history gets
passed on to one's children.
There is no such thing as
inherited guilt. Everybody has
the right to their own life story."
The path to healing, she
demonstrates, is in knowing the
facts, acknowledging the painful reality and moving forward
so it will never happen again.
Letter to the Center: Seeking approval to set up a Center in New Jersey
By Daniel Filipak
My name is Daniel. I live in
Central New Jersey. I completed
my undergraduate studies in
Jazz upright bass two years ago
from William Paterson
University. I came across
information about the Center for
the Healing of Racism from Mr.
Davis's website and I will
forever be grateful to him for
doing this work and having this
information up on his website.
Since coming across the
Institute I have purchased and
read Racial Healing by Nathan
Rutstein and Reggie Newkirk,
Healing Racism in America: A
Prescription for the Disease by
Nathan Rutstein, Uprooting
Racism by Paul Kivel, White
Like Me by Tim Wise, and an
array of other influential books
by the great writers such as
Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison,
Martin Luther King, Jr., Maya
Angelou, and many others.
I grew into this mission from
my jazz studies. Studying jazz
was like the seed that grew to
teach me about racism in
America. I started to think about
how even the word "jazz" has
been a term used to discredit this
intelligent and beautiful art form
created by African Americans.
Being a white male and having
jazz teachers who lived through
some very difficult experiences
made me wonder how I could help
this problem rather than
perpetuating it through inaction. I
discovered a new calling in my
life outside of my love of jazz to
help heal myself of my own
racism as well as to guide others
in their own healing. Thanks to
you and the authors of those
books, I have an understanding of
how to go about this work. Before
I learned of the Institute, I had
absolutely no idea how to help so
I felt very helpless. For this trans-
formation, I am very grateful
and would like to start an
Institute here in New Jersey.
I am writing this letter to ask
for your approval to set up a
Center here, as well as any
additional information I may
need in order to do so. I can do
this work and make it free to all
attendees or I can set up a nonprofit here in your name in an
effort to raise money for the
Institute. I also know that I still
have a great deal of work to
accomplish to become a good
facilitator, which is why I am
trying to do as much reading as
I can.
Center for the Healing of Racism
Preserving history
By Catherine Roberts
The more than 19 year
struggle to stop the erasure of
Black history in Houston is
still ongoing. Thousands of
volunteer hours and dollars
have helped to preserve a
small part of this rare site
listed on the National Register,
the Historic District of
Freedmen's Town.
Diversity in Houston has
not been a rosy picture as
portrayed by some sociologists. This small part of
Houston, Texas has experienced and documented
horrible injustices that must be
remembered. Yet city and state
agencies continue to circumvent the Federal National
Historic Preservation Act in an
effort to destroy homes,
displace hundreds of families,
and erase their African
heritage and the cultural
resources of this nineteenthcentury settlement.
F r e e d m e n ' s To w n
Preservation Coalition has
tried begging for preservation
at City Council sessions and
members have laid our bodies
on the historic brick streets to
stop their removal. With the
help of donors and pro-bono
services of Ben Hall, they won
at the court hearings. Now
they are faced with the greater
expense of legal fees to respond to appeals and possible
trial. This struggle for the last
19 years has been emotionally
stressful and placed a financial
hardship on this community.
Private citizens should not
be expected to raise funds to
protect vulnerable families
from elected and appointed,
so-called, “public servants.”
There is an institutionalized
racism in many cities where
the happy buzz-words are
“urban development." I fear
for the future of many. Sometimes social activists,
sometimes called "dogooders," can get in over their
heads trying to help others.
May./Aug. 2015
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
My summer internship
Together we can eliminate racism and create a better future
By Maryam Zayon
The Center reaches out to
individuals who want to learn
more about racism and to explore
their racial conditioning.
Although we have overcome
many discriminatory boundaries,
racism still exists. When Cherry
Steinwender invited me to be part
of her team, I did not expect to
learn so much about the
behaviors of human beings.
Personally, I have never been
asked questions about my
thoughts or feelings about a
controversial topic like my race
or racism. It felt good expressing
my views about the way my
people have been betrayed. It
hurts to see my people denied
certain privileges that people in
the dominant group receive.
Professionally, I have learned
that presenting in front of a live
audience is not as nerve wracking
when I’m fully prepared and
know the topic. Presenting in
front of people is a fear that is
real for many of us. I have
learned that people cannot always
tell when a speaker is nervous.
I’ve realized that I can get over
my fear by telling myself that no
one knows what I’m about to
present except me, so I can go for
it. This piece of advice helped
me co-present in two workshops
with Cherry Steinwender.
The Center was invited to
present on the topic of cooperation at a workshop for young
people at The Peace Camp, a program that has been conducted for
15 years. Cherry took me with her
to the workshop, and to my
surprise, asked me to present to
the youth and children what cooperation meant to me personally.
It meant a lot to me that she
had trusted in me presenting what
little I knew about cooperation.
Her confidence alone gave me
enough courage to stand up and
introduce my definition of
cooperation. I told them that
cooperation means working
together for a common purpose or
benefit. The purpose of the
exercise we organized that day
was to express to the youth and
children that working together can
bring them higher benefits than
competition. For example, with
the help of individuals from all
around the world, who come from
different backgrounds, we can
eliminate discrimination against
one another and accept one
another’s cultures and beliefs.
Cherry had the group of children
color a picture together. A group
of six young adults and children
would have to work together to
color one picture. It was
wonderful to see them working
together in a calm manner,
splitting each part they wanted
to color. This experience taught
me a lot about how easy it can
be for individuals to work
together to create something
beautiful by just listening to
one another.
The Peace Camp’s second
lesson was on the Beloved
Community, a term coined by
Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. I did
the research so I could present
it to the children. I asked them
what they felt a Beloved Community would look like and
then I asked them to draw it. It
was wonderful to see the
reactions of the children and
youths’ faces as we spoke
about the importance of respecting others and treating
everyone with kindness. I must
say the wisdom in the room at
such early ages gave me hope
for the future of humanity.
I encourage you to come
and visit The Center for the
Healing of Racism and learn
about the many ways you can
get involved in your community. Together we can
eliminate racism completely
and create a better environment
for the future.
Center celebrates Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month
By Chhaya P. Phatarpekar
In celebration of this month,
the Center screened the
documentary, Waking in Oak
Creek. The screening was graced
by members from the Houston
Community. We were fortunate
to have the presence of several
members of the Sikh Community
for the screening.
D r. H a r d a m A z a d a n d
Attorney Manpreet Singh briefly
explained Sikhism to the
audience. In the discussion after
the screening, Baljit Katial and
Dr. Azad shared their experiences
of the bias and racism in the
United States. However, Mr.
Katial went on to say that no
community is perfect and that he
is proud to be an American. He
Send us your email address!
To eliminate mailing costs, the
newsletter is no longer routinely
printed and mailed. Send email
addresses to [email protected] or
to [email protected]
said the United States is the
only country that treats people
with compassion. The audience
also had a chance to process the
Center for the Healing of Racism
The Dialogue: Racism series is
held in a supportive and honest
setting. Information is provided
at each session, followed by an
opportunity for voluntary
sharing. Facilitators say
participants leave with a new
understanding of racism, what
they can do about it, and a
sense of community with others
of different backgrounds and
life experiences.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Martin Luther King Day, 2015
Newsletter submissions are
due the first week of the
month before publication.
Articles are accepted via email and may be edited for
brevity or clarity. Send
submissions to the Center's
e-mail address.
May./Aug. 2015
Continued from page 3
percent of wealth owned by the
bottom 99 percent of adults is
disproportionately distributed:
only 5.5 percent of global wealth
is shared by 80 percent of people
in the world.
Food Access: Food insecurity
has increased since the Great
Recession and held steady since
then. American children and
parents, especially poor, African
American and Latino children are
going hungry. A staggering 21%
of people in Arkansas were rated
as food insecure by the USDA
from 2011-2013.
Housing: Nor are our
neighborhoods equally safe and
prosperous. Comparing life
expectancy between
neighborhoods is a particularly
stark way of realizing how far we
P.O. Box 27327
Houston, Texas 77227
are from King’s vision. Life
expectancy for a baby born in
the New Orleans French
Quarter, for example, is about 25
years longer than for a baby born
just a few miles away.
Eradication of Jim Crow laws
in the South improved premature
mortality rates for black
Americans in the South, but did
not abolish them. Black
Americans continue to have a
two-fold higher risk of
premature death than do white
Education: Educational
opportunity is far from Dr.
King’s socially-healing vision.
Indeed, a report from the US
Department of Education’s
Office for Civil Rights reveals
racial inequality in the nation’s
educational system in many
aspects of school life: in school
discipline, early learning,
college readiness and teacher
Before the Selma to
Montgomery March, the
organizers put out a call to
people of all races and faiths to
join the protest. People flocked
to Selma from all over the
nation to join the march and the
In his address at the end of
the march, Martin Luther King,
Jr. promised that it would be
“not long” before the inequities
of his day were abolished. But
it has been too long and it is
clear that it is time once again
to draw inspiration from
Selma’s legacy and link arms
and march forward in every
way we can, through research,
clinical care, advocacy and
political action to help bend the
arc of history toward justice. It
won’t happen without us.