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  • NYS Writers Institute

The Time for Reckoning: Two conversations on racial justice in Schenectady

A pair of video events of our Time for Reckoning Symposium

A special two-part discussion on systemic racism and the relations between the community and the police department in Schenectady.

First, Times Union reporter Paul Nelson moderated a talk with Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, District Attorney Robert Carney, and Police Chief Eric Clifford.

Following that taping, four Schenectady residents -- Jamaica Miles, Kasey Charles, Mikayla Foster, and Damonni Farley -- watched the discussion and shared their viewpoints on systemic racism and its impact on the community, how police departments can work to improve relationships with the community, how policing could be reformed, and how to hold officers of the law accountable for their actions.

During the panel discussion with the public officials, Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl said, "This is a good start. This is how we begin to listen to each other, with respect, with civility, with honesty."

We previously aired a special edition of New York NOW with Albany elected officials and community members. Still to come: A pair of discussions focusing on Troy.

The Time for Reckoning: Schenectady Public Official Panel

The Time For Reckoning | Schenectady Community Voices Panel

About The Time for Reckoning

The recent killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and numerous other unarmed Black people at the hands of white police officers touched off a volatile period of racial unrest across the Capital Region, the nation and the world. This moment of collective outrage and action against systemic racism feels as powerful and potentially transformational as the civil rights movement of the 1960s. What important lessons can we learn from the Black Lives Matter movement and ongoing protests? We are all asking ourselves: Where do we go from here? The Time for Reckoning: Confronting Systemic Racism, Seeking Justice and Reimagining Society strives to create an ongoing dialogue between community members of color who live in urban communities where tensions with police run high and elected officials whose job is to protect and serve the public.

The symposium and its website -- -- offer a multi-media, interactive and collaborative forum for all voices to be heard and a portal to distribute informational materials and resources that can change the hearts and minds of our communities while offering suggestions for further study and calls to action.

The Time for Reckoning is a production of The NYS Writers Institute and The Center for Law and Justice and collaborators WMHT, the Times Union, the Justice Center of Rensselaer County, All Of Us, Youth FX, Amnesty International USA, and other community partners.

Themes for the Time for Reckoning series

Week 1:

The impact of systemic racism in Capital Region communities.

Week 2:

Highlight issues of trust between community members and the government officials who serve them -- particularly police.

Watch video: Susan Burton, the founder and executive director of A New Way of Life, and co-author, with Cari Lynn, of Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women.

Watch video: Amnesty International USA's Roger-Mark De Souza in-conversation with Paul Grondahl

Week 3:

Explore possible avenues of reform to ameliorate systemic racism.

Watch video: Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All with Mindy & Robert Fullilove and Alice Green

Week 4:

The final week will address accountability --- how can the community monitor government actions to guard against further injustices due to systemic racism?

9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26: A New York NOW special edition: Time for Reckoning panel discussion. Visit

Watch video: Derik Smith, executive board member for Albany’s Center for Law and Justice, in conversation with Paul Grondahl



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