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With a recent $10,000 investment from the Guilderland Industrial Development Agency, the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce is planning to launch a community investor program that will ultimately return funds to local small businesses that apply. In a separate initiative, the chamber plans to expand and diversify its board.

Rensselaerville resident Sarah Gordon is calling on local businesses to take a stand against racism by pledging — on a public, digital spreadsheet — to call out racist behavior that occurs on professional property and to denounce the slogan “all lives matter,” which exists to diminish the anti-racist “Black lives matter” slogan. 

History is not just about where and what people have been but it provides a blueprint for where they will go and what they will be.

Asked why Guilderland was eager to change now when earlier administrations had been unwilling, Superintendent Marie Wiles said, “We’re at a watershed moment in our country. George Floyd and what happened to him just woke people up. Great numbers are starting to see there really is systemic racism that we haven’t been really appreciative of.” She also said, “We’ve got the trifecta,” and referenced the coronavirus pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social unrest. “Maybe that’s what it takes to wake us up,” said Wiles.

The Underground Railroad Education Center’s annual July 4th Oration, commemorating Frederick Douglass’s address “What to the Slave is Your Fourth of July?” will be presented virtually for the first time this year.

“We need to stop the gun violence and take back our neighborhoods — not just say it … We need tangible results,” said Albany County Executive McCoy. He also said, “We need the buy-in from the community.

On Juneteenth, The Enterprise spoke with Anne Pope, director of the northeast region of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, about the relationship between the Civil Rights Movement a half-century ago and the Black Lives Matter protests, how white people can bring about change, and what local progress looks like. 

“What is really a revolutionary idea — that there is a space for people of color to assemble and share history and love of one another and bring that to walls outside of their own in a safe place,” said Travon Jackson, the executive director of the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region.

As the governor calls for reform in police departments across New York State, the Albany County executive decries the 25 shootings in Albany since protests began three weeks ago and urges working together.

On June 14, over 100 people marched in Rensselaerville to support the Black Lives Matter movement and denounce racism nearly a month after George Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The turnout left co-organizer John Arrighi “blown away,” and reflects the massive support for racial justice seen in predominantly white communities following Floyd’s death.

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