On Thursday, May 8th, the Harley School hosted an incredibly meaningful and powerful event in the Briggs Center for Civic Engagement. As an offshoot of discussions taking place in the 9th Grade Rights and Responsibilities class, Seth O’Bryan and Chris Hartman have been collaborating with filmmaker Carvin Eison around his documentary July ’64 which documents the race riots in Rochester at that time. The event this past Thursday was entitled July ’64 Revisited: An inter-generational community conversation about then and now. The evening started with a screening of the documentary and was followed by a panel discussion with Carvin Eison, filmmaker, and Darryl Porter, Rochester community leader who was featured in the film. Luis Perez, our Horizons at Harley director, was also on hand to help facilitate the discussion and share some of his own personal memories, having lived through this troubled time in Rochester’s history.
About 80 people attended the event, ranging in age from middle school students up to venerable members of our community. Parents, current students, past Harley families, students and faculty from Allendale-Columbia, and interested Rochester community members were all present. It was an honest, direct, and engaging discussion about what fueled the riots (Carvin discussed how he prefers the word “rebellion” or “insurrection” to better describe the events) back in 1964 and how those same factors (health, education, housing, jobs) are still concerns in Rochester today.