Stand Together Against Racism
We believe that by working together, we can drive transformative and sustainable social change in our community and beyond.
As Stand Together Against Racism (S.T.A.R.) enters a milestone in its organizational development with the news that we have received 501c-3 nonprofit status, we would like to reflect on our journey thus far as an organization and as a community.
In the summer of 2020, New Canaanites filled the streets, marching in support of Black Lives following the murder of Mr. George Floyd. There were powerful emotions out there on South Avenue. We came together in anger and in despair, and yet, we left uplifted: encouraged by the presence of our neighbors, strengthened by the passion of their voices. We took these steps together as a community, and, as a community, we resolved to continue this journey together.
Seventeen-year resident Fatou Niang, organizer of that march, followed up by creating S.T.A.R. and gathered a multiracial, multicultural group of residents in support. Many organizations around town, plus numerous local and state elected officials, clergy and the New Canaan Police Department, joined as partners or participated, demonstrating a public commitment to the cause. Individually and collectively, local organizations have given shape and form to the issues that animate the cause of racial justice through a variety of public programming.
For some of us, the outcry following the murder of Mr. Floyd was our first entry into this work. For others, it was a long overdue recognition of what it means to be a person of color in America. Together, we ask the same question: how do we build solidarity around these hard-won truths?
Grappling with what is often new and harsh knowledge is not easy. It can be gut-wrenching, but avoiding it is to turn away from lessons that many people cannot so willfully ignore. And, by taking on this challenge we expand our perspective, and from anguish we can emerge into honesty; from despair to determination; and from learning towards growth.
Here at S.T.A.R., we see self-reflection as a critical aspect of racial justice. By starting with an examination of our own biases and preconceived notions, we more fully open ourselves up to learning from those who are different. We begin to see people as they wish to be seen, rather than speaking for their experience or perpetuating stereotypes. By looking at the ways dominant cultures have sought to push others to the margins, we promote the voices of those who society has sought to devalue and embrace them in the fullness of their identities.
Even as we expose and explore the challenges of addressing racism, we seek joy in a growing sense of community and belonging. We seek healing in the embrace of honesty and the acknowledgement of pain. We seek dignity in affirming the equal worth of all races, cultures and the individuals who embody them.
Whether it’s your first step or you are a long-time traveler on this march towards justice, we welcome your participation, your input and your presence. We hope to see you at our next event: S.T.A.R. will be hosting a Juneteenth “Heart of Freedom” community picnic on the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society lawns from 4:00 – 7:00 pm, on Sunday June 19th.
By Standing Together we create a community where all can flourish and thrive. Please reach out and tell us what’s on your mind, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or joining us at one of our events. We’d love to hear from you and are grateful for your support.
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This is what we stand for.
At Stand Together Against Racism (“S.T.A.R.”), our mission is to equip residents of New Canaan, CT and neighboring communities with tools and resources to understand systemic racism — including its history, root causes and the structures that perpetuate
it— and to proactively advocate for racial equity and bias elimination. We believe
that by working together, we can drive transformative and sustainable social
change in our community and beyond.
We seek to achieve our mission through three primary activities:
S.T.A.R. is first and foremost an educational organization. Through workshops, events, reading lists, and other resources, we aim to advance awareness and understanding of the complex ecosystem that is systemic racism and to equip our community members—both adults and youth—with the information and tools they need to take action against it.
We believe that change starts at home. By forging strong connections with members of our community in New Canaan, we believe we can amplify our voice as we advocate for cross-cultural understanding, bias awareness and inclusion. S.T.A.R. has already formed ties with numerous local organizations that share our interest in racial equity and work with us to effect change.
Advocacy and Policy
S.T.A.R. supports public policy initiatives at the local, state, and national levels, as well as grassroots activities aimed at dismantling the root causes of systemic racism. We are committed to amplifying the voices of affected communities advocating for the policies that support their identified needs and concerns.