Center for Racial Dialogue and Social Justice

Center for Racial Dialogue and Social Justice

Our Mission and Vision


NVCC’s Center for Racial Dialogue and Social Justice supports the college’s mission to facilitate courageous conversations and promote positive change and healing in our community by providing opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in respectful dialogue and learning opportunities concerning diversity and equity. 


To serve as a vehicle for dialogue and action.



Professor Kathy Taylor, JD
Founding Co-Chair

A Message from the Founding Co-Chair

"The brilliant intellectual and civil rights icon, James Baldwin reminds us that 'not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.' Here, at the Center for Racial Dialogue and Communal Transformation, we boldly face and have deep and meaningful dialogue around issues of race, injustice, systemic racism, power, hierarchy, and the multitude of ways that race shapes our experiences, interactions, and informs our perspective. In this space, we develop concrete plans of action, and offer intellectually challenging workshops that help people challenge and transform their thinking about race. We host book discussions, faculty forums, and community workshops - all in furtherance of one goal - making NVCC and our community more inclusive, equitable, and just. And I invite you to join us!"

- Professor Kathy Taylor, JD, Founding Co-Chair

Committee Members

Associate Dean Angela Chapman

Professor Joseph Faryniarz, Founding Co-Chair

Susan Houilhan, CAPSS Advisor and Retention Specialist

Professor Nikki McGary, PhD

Professor Julia Petitfere

Professor Ron Picard, PhD

Antonio Santiago, Dean of Danbury, Founding Co-Chair

Professor Elma Solomon

Professor Kathy Taylor, JD, Founding Co-Chair




Calendar of Upcoming Events

This Spring, our programming is shaped by our current context, one full of discussions around race, inequity, disparate outcomes, and racial tensions. Throughout this semester, we invite participants to think about how we arrived at this very predictable time in history, how our silence abdicated our moral responsibility, how our literature can inform and shape our social justice lens, and how our commitment to a more just and equitable world begins with each of us understanding our place in a world full of both privilege and oppression.

January 2021

A Book Discussion of the New York Times Bestseller, "Begin Again" by Princeton Professor, Eddie Glaude.  In his latest book, “drawn partially from newly uncovered interviews—with history, memoir, and trenchant analysis of our current moment, Begin Again is Glaude’s endeavor, following James Baldwin, to bear witness to the difficult truth of race in America today. It is at once a searing exploration that lays bare the tangled web of race, trauma, and memory, and a powerful interrogation of what we all must ask of ourselves in order to call forth a new America.” To read a review, click here. 

A Brown Bag Virtual Discussion, "The Myth of American Innocence" by Brent Staples, facilitated by Professor Ron Picard. To read, click here.   

The Peabody-nominated 14-part Scene on Radio Series, "Seeing White" with Professor Kathy Taylor and Tim Magee, Bridge to College Director. The podcast tells stories exploring human experience and American society and in Season 2, "Seeing White," explores the history and meaning of whiteness.  By looking directly at the elephant in the room, participants will examine the American conversation about race and the stories we tell ourselves about it. To listen, click here.

Commentary from NVCC’s Founding  Co Chair, Kathy Taylor, J.D.:
This semester’s theme, Highest Ideals, Deepest Demons, will examine the lies America tells itself about race that prevent it from achieving its lofty aspirations. Through book discussions and reading challenges, the Center will engage in a critical exploration of the historic, ongoing, and tangled web of noble values, contradictory racial realities, and the original sin that stunts and destabilizes the core of American identity. We will not simply look to the events of January 6th; instead, we will also consider long ago planted seeds of hate, greed, and hypocrisy that led to our predictable and precarious present. Most significantly, we will ask questions that we all must answer to make our America, our state, and our college community a more perfect union.  

More than 240 years ago, our constitution enshrined principles of justice, democracy, equality, and freedom in a document that continues to guide our governance, inform our courts, protect our freedoms, and inspire the United States of America to live up to its highest ideals. Community colleges, often called the “people’s college” or “democracy’s college” reflect our pivotal role in equalizing opportunity and doing the work of democracy. At NVCC, we teach with the full knowledge that democracy is neither free nor does it magically sustain itself; instead, each generation must acquire a deep and earnest commitment to the advancement of and love for our brothers and sisters, respect for the dignity of every person, and a communal spirit that undergirds a constitutional democracy. These democratic habits must be nurtured, cultivated, and protected. When we see them attacked, as we did on January 6th, we must courageously decry the desecration, call for fidelity to our rule of law, condemn the violence, and commit to resisting the dangerous propagation of disinformation, for domestic terrorists and rioters must never be emboldened by our silence.  

At Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Center for Racial Dialogue and Communal Transformation, we decry this assault on our American democracy. We join with others who raise their voices and condemn threatening attacks on our political freedoms. We reject violence of any sort as a disgrace to our country, our college, and ourselves.  Instead, we recommit to our work of reasoning together, examining our country’s worst demons, purposefully bending the arc of moral justice, and striving to live up to our noblest values. We will continue to be a vehicle for dialogue, action, and the propagation of justice, freedom, and equality, speaking out against injustice, racism, and any threat to our beloved country. 

Resources to Further Understanding

Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.

Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin R. Banaji, Anthony G. Greenwald. 

Categorically Unequal: The American Stratification System, Douglas S. Massey.

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam, Andrew Pham.

Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle Class Activists, Betsy Leondar-Wright.

Growing Up Latino, Harold Augenbraum.

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, James Loewen.

Racial Divide: Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Criminal Justice System, Michael J. Lynch, E. Britt Patterson and Kristina K. Childs.

Talking Race in the Classroom, J. Bolgatz. 

The Genius of Language: Fifteen Writers Reflect on Their Mother Tongues, Wendy Lesser.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander.

The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee, Paisley Rekdal.

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, Kate Pickett 

Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell.

Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences That Make a Difference, Howard C. Stevenson.

Privilege, Power, and Difference, Allan Johnson.

Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education, Michael Ali. 

Waking Up White in the Story of my Race, Irving Debbie. 

“How to Talk About Race”:

Intergroup Resources’ “Talking about Race”:

Lowery’s “Bridging the Racial Divide Through CrossRacial Dialogue: Lessons and Reflections from My Experience as a Facilitator” in Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis. 

“Flipping the Switch: White Privilege and Community Building, Maggie Potapchuk, Sally Leiderman, Donna Bivens and Barbara Major”:

*If Beale Street Could Talk (2018):

*Just Mercy (2019):

*Selma (2015):

The Hate U Give (2018):

When They See Us (TV series based on a true story):

Cracking the Codes:

Race the Power of Illusion:


The House I Live In:

* [note: these titles are coming soon through our library’s Swank account:]

ADL: Fighting Hate for Good:

Resources from the Annie E. Casey Foundation:

Tools from Racial Equity:

Standing Rock Syllabus:

Resources from the Catalyst Project, Anti-Racism for Collective Liberation:

Interfaith Toolkit for Challenging Racism:

Black Lives Matter:


BGD: Amplifying the Voices of Queer and Trans People of Color:

Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society:

Racial Equity Alliance:

Zinn Education Project: Teaching People’s History:

Hispanic Research Center’s Cultural Competence Guide for Community Based Organizations:

W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Equity Resource Guide:

 Establishing an Equity Team:

National Association for Multicultural Education:

Southern Poverty Law Center:


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