Liberty Con – Americans@Risk: Race, Denial, Privilege, and Who Matters

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Schenectady County Community College –                                                   78 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, New York 12305




Registration – click here

The following will take place throughout Convention Saturday, from 9am-5pm, in the locations noted:

  • Breakout Sessions – Rooms 101 (Panel), 102 (Panel), 106 (Games) listed below – Stockade Building
  • MarketPlace Vendors – Student Lounge – list on Vendor page – Elston Hall
  • Exhibitors and Student Poster Display – Student Activity Forum – list on Exhibitor page – Elston Hall
  • Round Tables – Student Cafeteria Area (College Cafeteria is closed on Saturdays) – an opportunity for smaller group discussion on the topics listed below – Elston Hall        
  • — Humor and UGRR History – can they go together?
  • — Islamophobia – a legacy of the institution of slavery
  • — Gendered Racism – how do we define it, what do we do with it?
  • — What Makes You Black Enough – models of Black identity
  • — Equity and Trade Unions – and their relationship with the legacy of the institution of slavery
  • — Teaching about the Institution of Slavery and the Underground Railroad
  • — Mythology around the Underground Railroad
  • — Incarceration – a legacy of the institution of slavery
  • — Post-Modern Reflection of Slavery
  • — Resegregated Schools
  • — Connecting with our African roots
  • Historic Figures in Our Midst – meet and interact with Moses Viney, Solomon Northup, Susan B. Anthony, and others – Elston Hall
  • Where’s Stevie? – Stephen Myers will be on the move on Convention weekend. Will you be able to find him? Find Stevie in each of his selected locations, take and upload a selfie, and be in the running for a choice prize
  • Film Viewing and Conversation –  view selected films and participate in facilitated discussions – film listing, when confirmed, will be listed below – Elston Hall
  • Raffle – gift cards, gift baskets, gift items, and more
  • Lunch – will be available at nearby restaurants in downtown Schenectady. CDTA will provide trolley transportation within the downtown area.


9:00am  – – –  Registration Opens – Carl B. Taylor Auditorium

10:00am – 11:00am  – – –  Welcome and Keynote – Carl B. Taylor Auditorium



Keynote: Cross Roads

CeLillianne Green – Lawyer, Poet, Teacher, Mediator, Playwright,  and Public Speaker

America is at the cross roads of what is just and fair, and the unjust road which leads nowhere. The national founders’ ideal of America as the more perfect union remains elusive and Americans remain at risk based on race, denial, privilege, and who matters.

“CeLillianne Green is rooted in a place of ancestral connection and spiritual truth which is reflected in her social activism, compelling her audience to listen and hear through the ear of the soul. “


11:30am – 12:30pm  – – –  Breakout Session 1 

         1. Talk to History: Panel of Historical Figures

Have you ever wished you could ask a historic figure from the Underground Railroad a question? Now is your chance!  Join us for a paneled discussion featuring Jermaine Loguen, Stephen and Harriet Myers, William Lloyd Garrison and Henry Highland Garnet, and others.  Learn history by conversing with historical figures about their lived experience.

  1. What’s the Story – Paul and Mary Liz Stewart, co-founders, Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Scholars-in-Residence, Russell Sage College; Devorah Tarrow, Aesthetic Realism Consultant

Learn about the history and people of the Underground Railroad from the voices of those written out of the story.  Through research done over the past 19 years, Stephen Myers, leading figure of the Vigilance Committee, opened his home at 198 Lumber Street to Freedom Seekers. His activism, along with that of his colleagues, contributes to a new interpretation of this old story. Is there more to this piece of American history than the standard canon recounts about Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass?  What can we do with this new understanding?

  1. Your Answer, Please!

Calling all gamers to challenge your knowledge of Underground Railroad history. Using a Jeopardy game format, try your hand at beating the competition. Prizes are in store for the winner!


12:30pm – 2:00pm   – – –  Lunch on your own in downtown Schenectady – Transportation arrangements are being made that will provide transportation free of charge to convention attendees – restaurant information will be made available at registration tables


“This conference is a great opportunity to network, learn new information, and have fun.” (Anne)


2:00pm – 3:00pm   – – –    Breakout Session 2

  1. Twisting the Truth: Then and Now Ellen Wertlieb, Director of Wellness and Support Services, SCCC; Oliver Peters, Artist and Educator; Fazana Saleem-Ismail, Activist and Public Speaker  

As early as the 1741 New York Weekly Journal coverage of the Slave Conspiracy Trials, fear in white residents was encouraged with such lines as, “…more discoveries are made and fear that many more blacks are involved, 42 blacks ordered for transportation and there is a goal of 100 more.” In 2015, Gabriel Arana wrote in the Huffington Post, “Islamophobia media coverage is out of control and needs to stop.” News coverage of the AIDS epidemic in the 1970’s spread fear instead of facts. Media outlets, through exaggeration or lack of facts, modify, twist, and sometimes eliminate the story.  Do we still see this trend today?  What strategic responses can we implement to keep the truth front and center? 

          2. Schenectady’s Piece of the Puzzle – Marsha Mortimore, Independent Researcher; Bernard McEvoy, Historic Vale Cemetery Board; Laura Lee, Archivist, First Reformed Church of Schenectady

Moses Viney, a freedom seeker from Maryland, started his own successful coach taxi business in the late 19th century.  Eliphalet Nott, the president of Union College in 1804, hired Moses as his personal driver.  Moses Viney was one on many freedom seekers who thrived in their freedom.  Learn about Moses Viney and other African American Schenectadians who contributed to American history. Here their voices and their stories, and discuss strategies for sharing these inspiring stories with the broader community.

          3. Wheel of Destiny

Test your knowledge of American history to see if you can solve the puzzle and win prizes! Do you know which freedom seeker was known as Moses? Do you know who gave the speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” What civil rights issue was of concern in the “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech? What is the name of the first Black newspaper? These and many more questions will test the knowledge of the players in Wheel of Destiny. Put your thinking caps on.


“What a great way to spend a weekend!!” (Michael)


3:30pm – 4:30pm    – – –   Breakout Session 3

            1. Parallels of Racism – Then and Now (Panel in formation)

Stephen Myers wrote in 1842 that “northern prejudice was akin to the slavery of the south, crippling black aspirations.” Today the Black Lives Matter movement voices that same message.  Has anything changed?  How can we address this legacy of slavery as it effects African Americans, Hispanics, refugees, Muslims, members of the LGBTQ  community, and others?

  1. Lesser Known Ladies Passing the Torch (Panel in formation)

There were many women who changed the world during their lifetime that our history books do not mention.  Elizabeth Jennings, in 1854, successfully sued the Third Avenue Railroad Company when she was forced off a rail car because she was black.  Elizabeth was legally represented by future president Chester A. Arthur.  Maria Stewart was an early African American activist, feminist and lecturer.  In the 1830’s Maria was the first African American female lecturer who spoke to a mixed audience; men, women, blacks and whites.  Join us as to learn about more inspirational female figures and discuss how to share this inspiring information with the broader community.

  1. So You Think You Know the Answer?

Test your knowledge against other gamers. Who knows enough to win? Do you? What group began to win political victories in the North by campaigning on the slogan of “Free Soil, Free Speech, and Free Men?” What black writer produced over one hundred articles on historical, biographical, political, and scientific subjects? Who was the so-called president of the Underground Railroad? Be prepared to have your wits tested. Will you and your team win?


“I learn so much each conference I attend.” (Sara)


4:45pm – 5:00pm    – – –   Litany of Remembrance – Lally Mohawk Room, Elston Hall

Transitioning from the day’s proceedings to the early evening art exhibition and reception, we gather together for the Litany of Remembrance. Recalling and giving voice to the stories of those whose voices have remained in the shadows, we honor our communal ancestors and draw inspiration from them as we walk and work together toward a better tomorrow.

5:00pm – 6:30pm    – – –    Art Exhibition and Reception and Raffle Prize Drawing – Lally Mohawk Room, Elston Hall

Art brings alive for us those aspects of life that are too fragile or too complex to suffer the limitations of words. Celebrate with our contributing artists as they share their gifts and their interpretations of Liberty Con – Americans@Risk: Race, Denial, Privilege, and Who Matters. Come meet and converse with the artists. Artists may choose to sell their works. Consider taking an art piece home with you.  Come prepared to be enriched, enlightened, provoked, challenged.

 “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — President Barack Obama





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