“What If…” Film Series presents: Looking to the Past to Guide the Future: Building Healthy and Equitable Communities in Syracuse

April 30, 2020 - 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

As part of The Gifford Foundation “What If…” Film Series, The Sankofa Wellness and Resource Center, a Liberty Resources program, and ArtRage Gallery are partnering to host a screening of “Hidden History: The End of the 15th Ward” followed by a Ted Talk on Health Equity in the US.

Together the films will create a framework for a conversation about healthy communities in Syracuse. This event is free and open to the public. Following the films, Café Sankofa Board Member Marcelle Haddix, Professor and Chair of the Reading and Language Arts department in the Syracuse University School of Education, will lead us in a moderated discussion.

“Hidden History: The End of the 15th Ward,” produced by local media reporter Jennifer Sanders, explores the emotional stories of families that were impacted by the Urban Renewal Project that created what is now Interstate 81.  Twenty-seven blocks were torn down, impacting 75% of the local black population, a population that would need relocation. Due to the housing discrimination practice of “redlining”, the black community was forced onto the city’s south side where the houses were in disrepair and economic opportunities were meek. It contributed to what is now the nation’s highest rate of extreme poverty concentrated among blacks and Hispanics per a 2015 Rutgers University study.

Renaisa Anthony, MD, MPH
Deputy Director/Physician/Professor
University of Nebraska Med Center/Center for Reducing Health Disparities

In Dr. Renaisa S. Anthony’s inspiring Ted Talk she lays out her RECIPE for health equity which is  “Research. Education. Collaboration. Initiative. Public Health and Policy. Empathy to Empower .”

The Sankofa Wellness and Resource Center’s mission is to provide access to a variety of supports to help families and adults feel happy, healthy and whole.  The center operates out of the Café Sankofa Co-Operative located on S. Salina in the heart of Syracuse’s south side.

Sankofa, meaning “go back and get it” is a word in Twi (a language spoken in Ghana) that is represented as a bird.  The bird is shown turning backward taking an egg from its back to bring forward. The Sankofa Bird expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress.  This event is an example of Sankofa in practice.