Bloomfield to hold next community conversation on race Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 7 PM via Zoom

The township will hold an additional community
conversation on race next Wednesday at 7:00pm via Zoom following last
month’s conversation which focused on the social construction of race and
its real life implications.

Associate Professor for the Sociology Department at William Paterson
University Wendy Christensen, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Clara
Maass Medical Center Desyra Highsmith Holcomb and Co-Chair/Director of
Equity and Education for the Visions and Dreams Foundation Joseph Graham Jr
will be the guest speakers. Councilwomen Dr. Wartyna Davis and Jenny
Mundell will moderate the conversation.

“Each community conversation on race has gotten us closer to our goal of
understanding the issues affecting our residents of color and what we can
do to improve,” said Mayor Venezia. “We will continue to have these
community meetings as long as they continue to be productive and
informative. I encourage all members of the community to join us on

To join the Zoom meeting go to:

and enter Meeting ID: 860 9098 2309 Passcode: 090007 or call 1 646 558 8656
and enter Meeting ID: 860 9098 2309 Passcode: 090007.

During the first part of the conversation on September 2, participants will
be invited to share their commitments and experiences. This will be
followed by a conversation led by the guest speakers, exploring bias and
inequality in various spheres of our life (work, schools, housing,
healthcare, etc.) and will wrap up with suggestions for further exploration
and action.

This is a follow up community conversation building on the July 29 event,
“Let’s Talk About Race” with Dr. Christensen and Ms. Highsmith-Holcomb,
during which community members were invited to commit to participating in
an anti-racist, anti-biased activity or engage with one of the community
conversation resources here:

Participation in the previous meeting is not required to attend this
meeting. The July 29 conversation, “Let’s Talk About Race,” can be viewed

Wendy M. Christensen is an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department
at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Originally from Maine, she
received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2010. Her
research focuses on how political discourse and participation is shaped by
social inequalities. Her book, “Mothers of the Military: Support and
Politics During Wartime,” was published by Rowman & Littlefield Press
(2018). At WPUNJ she teaches courses on social movements, social
inequality, theory, war and media. She is active in efforts on campus to
empower students to political activism, and involved in local community
organizing and social movements.

Desyra Highsmith Holcomb is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at
Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, New Jersey an affiliate of
RWJBarnabas Health, where she pursues an inclusive and compassionate
culture for patients, employees and the community. Highsmith Holcomb
previously worked at William Paterson University where she held various
roles. She helped develop and execute initiatives which advanced the
culture of that University and recruited a diverse staff. Additionally in
her time there she led efforts to increase awareness for issues having to
do with discrimination, equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.

Joseph Graham, Jr. is the Co-Chair/Director of Equity and Education for the
Visions and Dreams Foundation. He has been a leader in Equity, Diversity
and Inclusion work for over 25 years. He is instrumental in providing
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion support to counties in the areas of K12
education, Higher education, Criminal Justice, Corporations, Healthcare,
Social service agencies, Nonprofit organizations and others. Joseph Graham
Jr. specializes in identifying inequities and providing Professional
Development, workshops, short-term and long term plans as a part of
tailor-made strategies and methods to accomplish the designated goals.